Social Informatics

This is NOT a plug for SLIS…
I mentioned it in class last week during our list discussion and so I’m posting the link.

I’ve been reading some of Kling’s work and it definitely relates to some of the issues we’ve discussed in class, especially the role of society while designing technology. The definition of social informatics in this sense (as taken from site):

Social Informatics (SI) refers to the body of research and study that examines social aspects of computerization — including the roles of information technology in social and organizational change and the ways that the social organization of information technologies are influenced by social forces and social practices. SI includes studies and other analyses that are labeled as social impacts of computing, social analysis of computing, studies of computer-mediate communication (CMC), information policy, “computers and society,” organizational informatics, interpretive informatics, and so on.

SI studies and SI courses are organized within diverse fields, including information systems, anthropology, computer science, communications, sociology, library and information science, political science and science and technology studies (STS). SI provides a common meeting ground for isolated and scattered scholars to locate each other as well as relevant academic programs and courses.

Social Informatics is a relatively new term that can serve as a banner for those who are interested in contributing to these studies. The name “Social Informatics” can also serve as a pointer, by which we can help lead others to appropriate theories, key ideas, studies, findings, books, articles, courses of study, etc.


  1. davidroyer

    Social informatics is really interesting & important. I think it is almost an ethical responsibility of designers who work with digital material to know at least a little bit about social informatics.

  2. jeffreybardzell

    I agree with both Tim and David on this. Incidentally, I would be remiss if I didn’t point out that we have a significant Social Informatics group here in Informatics as well, including (listed alphabetically) Bill Aspray, Jean Camp, David Hakken, Eden Medina, Chris Ogan, and Kalpana Shankar. I encourage all of you to learn more about this; this class has some affinities with social informatics.


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