Work practices and computing technologies – Kjeld Schmidt

The practice-oriented approach to the development of computing technologies emerged with CSCW in the late 1980s and is now having substantial influence on related areas of comouting research. It is, however, a serious misunderstanding of computing technology to think that these technologies did not develop in intimate interconnection with work practices. The fact of the matter is that computing technologies in general and interactive and collaborative computing technologies in particular were initially developed in order to meet mundane local and practical needs, only to be later rationalized and generalized. What is new and led to the rise of CSCW and practice-oriented computing in general, is that the development of collaborative computing and especially coordination technologies requires systematic in-depth studies of work practices, typically in the form of ethnographic field work. This, in turn, raises fundamental conceptual and methodological problems: How can we as analysts account for the logic of work practices? How can we compare findings and transfer lessons learned? How do analysts even make adequate descriptions of work practices? The lecture will address these questions on the basis of historical examples and ethnographic studies.

An introduction into Practice-based Computing – Volker Wulf

IT applications are getting increasingly interwoven in everyday life. To build these applications, we need to take the distinct practices of their (potential) users into account. I will frame the talk by developing a practise-based perspective on the design of socially embedded technologies. Based on this perspective, I will suggest methodological and epistemological challenges for our research field. To deal with these challenges, I suggest building a collection of well documented design case studies. Conducting a design case study is a high context specific research activity which consists of three steps: (1) it analyzes empirically the given practices in a specific field of application, (2) it comes up with an innovative design for an ICT artifact related to the findings of the first phase, (3) it investigates into the appropriation of the technical artifact over a longer period of time. Based on a growing corpus of design case studies, we identify cross-cutting themes, compare the context-specific findings, build terminology, and try to develop abstractions as elements of a theory of practice-based computing. To clarify this research framework, I will present different design case studies conducted at the University of Siegen and at Fraunhofer FIT. We are developing innovative IT applications in different domains: (1) cooperative work, (2) community support, (3) social and ecological sustainability, and (5) aging society. Research in these particular domains is presented first in its particular context and later on compared with each other and related insights. Finally, I will conclude by discussing further research challenges when taking a practise-based view on ubiquitous computing.


Ethnographic investigation and design – Dave Randall

The ‘turn to the social’ CSCW some 25 years ago was prompted by the recognition that the increasingly complex technology deployed in organizational settings meant that analysis of the relationship between the individual and the interface was no longer the important problem. Focus therefore shifted to concepts like ‘work’, ‘cooperation’ ‘coordination’, ‘practice’, and so on. In turn this led researchers to focus on appropriate methods for the analysis and investigation of these issues. Ethnography is one such ‘method’, or more properly one such analytic strategy. In this session, therefore, I will discuss a range of issues associated with the conduct of ethnography. This will include its origins; its relationship with the social and human sciences (and the different epistemological claims); the way it associates with theoretical or perspectival choices (e.g. grounded theory; ethnomethodology; activity theory) and the growing corpus of studies which inform our understanding of the relationship between the domain and the setting.

Group work – Liam Bannon and Myriam Lewkowicz



Collaborative technologies in human activity systems – Federico Cabitza

Human Activity systems are ordered sets (arrangements, ensembles) of practices, technologies and actors that can be convenient to gather together for some aim, be it an analitycal one or oriented to design, and that the analyzer recognizes coherent enough to be a “system” aimed at the accomplishment of some purpose. To this aim, the elements of these systems come to cooperate, communicate, inter-act and build mutual relationships, acquaintances and a common background of regular behaviours (patterns, rules), conventional interpretations (common meanings), and assumptions, often by relying on a set of technologies and related techniques, most of which are nowadays computational in nature (so called ITs), and are highly interconnected and mutually dependant to bring value to their users. We will focus on those ITs that support, enable and affect collaborative practices in such human activity systems to understand their common traits and some of the approaches to their design that could be adopted for a better integration and “social embedment” in human agencies and to enable the continuous tuning of their fitness for the evolving needs and tasks of those ensembles.

Knowledge and Expertise Sharing from a CSCW Perspective – Mark Ackerman

In the CSCW perspective, knowledge sharing (often also called expertise sharing) is one where knowledge cannot be easily removed from people’s heads. For CSCW researchers, finding, obtaining, and (re)using knowledge is inherently a collaborative activity. It is a matter of sharing situated and local knowledge among people in the form of social interaction and within activity. This lecture will survey CSCW efforts in knowledge and expertise sharing (KES). The lecture will survey how social analytical studies have highlighted the important issues and tensions in KES. It will also survey how in turn technical probes have been used to better understand the social environment for KES as well as the socio-technical design space. Case studies in medical organizations and in Internet communities will be used to highlight the salient issues.


Analyzing fieldwork material – Ina Wagner

Different methods of data collection during fieldwork generate different types of data, mainly video, photos, samples of (coordinative) artifacts and documents of all sorts. This lecture focuses on how to analyze such rich corpuses of mostly qualitative data, highlighting three different but complementary types of methods. Narrative analysis, which is largely descriptive, uses fieldwork material for constructing ‘stories’ that illustrate e.g. typical events or particular complex practices. Multimodal analysis is a much more conceptual approach to analyzing data. It is concerned with the multi-semiotic complexity of a construct or a practice and combines the analysis of talk, facial expressions, gestures, glances, bodily postures, and objects manipulations for understanding interactions, materiality and spatiality. Artifact analysis has been developed within CSCW in order to understand how specific artifacts (e.g. flight progress strips, patient records, design artifacts) are used for making work visible, structuring communication, providing workspace and template, helping manage interdependencies, and so forth. Artifact analysis looks at the specific features that support practitioners in their work.

Group work – Liam Bannon and Myriam Lewkowicz



Designing with users – Tone Bratteteig

In Participatory Design (PD) designers cooperate with future users on designing IT solutions that support them in their activities and enhance their autonomy. PD research is about why and how this cooperation should be organized and carried out. A good understanding of design and use is important for facilitating real participation by users in all phases of design. This lecture gives an overview of PD: its historic roots and principles, and presents a framework for understanding participation in design.

Understanding and evaluating appropriation/development-in-use – Susanne Bødker

This lecture will focus on understanding computing technologi and the way it mediates human activity, not as a static phenomena, but rather as somethink that is collaborative and developing over time. Appropriation is one element of such development as is the ways in which we may specifically design for more sustainable developmens in and of use, over time. A further element, when use is developing is how we evaluate use, by individuals and groups, when this use is developing.


Group work – Liam Bannon and Myriam Lewkowicz



Social Media: a complex domain for CSCW inquiry – Luigina Ciolfi

This lecture will examine social media as a complex domain of study for CSCW. An umbrella term referring to a multitude of platforms, technologies and online communities, social media has been the focus of many CSCW researchers in recent years. However, the landscape of inquiry on this domain is multi-faceted, featuring a variety of perspectives, methodologies and conceptual frames that have been applied to many different issues related to human practices, identity and communication. The lecture will map this landscape, identifying key examples of research, and will discuss alternative strategies for approaching the study of social media and related issues from a CSCW perspective.

Mixed-reality support for collaborative urban planning – Ina Wagner

This lecture uses the story of the design of a participatory tool in support of urban planning to address some of the main issues involved in planning and managing a (participatory) design project. It starts with an idea for a project and how it can be expressed in terms of aims, research questions and methods. The next step is how to generate design ideas (on the basis of fieldwork and/or involving practitioners in the field), how to explore and further develop them, widening the design space. A key question in a design project is how to plan for concretizing and evaluating design ideas, using e.g. field trials or participatory workshops. This also involves planning for data collection: e.g. video, photos and screenshots, transcripts and notes, logging data, questionnaire and interview data. A critical and related question is how to make the step from research questions to a conceptual framework for analyzing these data. The choice of such a framework will strongly influence the evaluation of how practitioners use a technology prototype and the directions for redesign that will be taken.


Group work – Liam Bannon and Myriam Lewkowicz



The role of CSCW systems to establish collaborative resilience in crisis management – Volkmar Pipek

This lecture presents and discusses experiences from two cases to develop CSCW platforms to enhance the regional capabilities to respond to desasters. Starting from problematizing the issue of ‘critical infrastructures’ the lecture discusses the complex relations between established delegation patterns and divisions of work encountered on the one side, and the information systems in use on the other side. These relations affect the willingness and ability of stakeholders in crisis response organisations as well as the among the citizens affected to engage in a process of improving interorganisational Information Infrastructures, limiting traditional approaches to ‘participation’ in design. As a conclusion from these experiences, we suggest some principles to design for ‘Collaborative Resilience’ as well as potential methodological consequences.


Group work – Liam Bannon and Myriam Lewkowicz

News from EUSSET

Artikelbild zu EUSSET Services Series: Summer School

EUSSET Services Series: Summer School

It's a once in a lifetime experience: the EUSSET CSCW Summer School taking place each year just on the bank of the Lake Como in … more
Artikelbild zu Call for Proposals to Host ECSCW 2022, 2023, and 2024

Call for Proposals to Host ECSCW 2022, 2023, and 2024

We wish to invite the community to prepare proposals to host ECSCW 2022, 2023 and 2024 at European locations.“ECSCW - The International conference on Practice-centred computing and the Design … more
Artikelbild zu EUSSET Services Series: Digital Library

EUSSET Services Series: Digital Library

Over 1500 manuscripts, some as old as 1983, are listed and/or made available for free in the EUSSET Digital Library: While most of the … more
Artikelbild zu EUSSET Services Series: Competence Network

EUSSET Services Series: Competence Network

Among the many community and member services, EUSSET offers a Competence Network featuring many experts in various areas related to practice-centred computing. If you have … more
Artikelbild zu EUSSET Services Series: Conferences

EUSSET Services Series: Conferences

Today, we are starting a new series of posts concerning the services EUSSET offers to its members and to the broader scientific community. And we … more
Artikelbild zu ECSCW 2021: Extended Deadlines for various formats

ECSCW 2021: Extended Deadlines for various formats

The deadlines for the submission for the 19th European Conference on Computer-Supported Cooperative Works (ECSCW) have been extended. February 5, 2021: Workshops and MasterclassesFebruary 22, … more