Multiculturalism and Information and Communication Technology

Morgan & Claypool Publishers
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Research on multiculturalism and information and communication technology (ICT) has been important to understanding recent history, planning for future large-scale initiatives, and understanding unrealized expectations for social and technological change. This interdisciplinary area of research has examined interactions between ICT and culture at the group and society levels. However, there is debate within the literature as to the nature of the relationship between culture and technology. In this synthesis, we suggest that the tensions result from the competing ideologies that drive researchers, allowing us to conceptualize the relationship between culture and ICT under three primary models, each with its own assumptions: 1) Social informatics, 2) Social determinism, and 3) Technological determinism. Social informatics views the relationship to be one of sociotechnical interaction, in which culture and ICTs affect each other mutually and iteratively, rather than linearly; the vast majority of the literature approach the relationships between ICT and culture under the assumptions of social informatics. From a socially deterministic perspective, ICTs are viewed as the dependent variable in the equation, whereas, from a technologically deterministic perspective, ICTs are an independent variable. The issues of multiculturalism and ICTs attracted much scholarly attention and have been explored under a myriad of contexts, with substantial literature on global development, social and political issues, business and public administration as well as education and scholarly collaboration. We synthesize here research in the areas of global development, social and political issues, and business collaboration. Finally we conclude by proposing under-explored areas for future research directions.
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About the author

Rob Kling Center for Social Informatics, School of Informatics and Computing, Indiana University, Bloomington

Rob Kling Center for Social Informatics, School of Informatics and Computing, Indiana University, Bloomington

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Additional Information

Publisher
Morgan & Claypool Publishers
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Published on
Nov 1, 2013
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Pages
101
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ISBN
9781608457755
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Best For
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Language
English
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Genres
Computers / Social Aspects / General
Computers / System Administration / Storage & Retrieval
Technology & Engineering / Social Aspects
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This content is DRM protected.
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The study of people, information and communication technologies and the contexts in which these technologies are designed, implemented and used has long interested scholars in a wide range of disciplines, including the social study of computing, science and technology studies, the sociology of technology, and management information systems. As ICT use has spread from organizations into the larger world, these devices have become routine information appliances in our social lives, researchers have begun to ask deeper and more profound questions about how our lives have become bound up with technologies. A common theme running through this research is that the relationships among people, technology and context are dynamic, complex and critically important to understand. This synthesis lecture explores social informatics (SI), one important and dynamic approach that researchers have used to study these complex relationships. SI is "the interdisciplinary study of the design, uses and consequences of information technology that takes into account their interaction with institutional and cultural contexts" (Kling 1998, p.52; 1999). SI provides flexible frameworks to explore complex and dynamic sociotechnical interactions. As a domain of study related largely by common vocabulary and conclusions, SI critically examines common conceptions of and expectations for technology, by providing contextual evidence. This synthesis describes the evolution of SI research and identifies challenges and opportunities for future research. In what might be seen as an example of sociotechnical "natural selection", SI emerged in six different locations during the 1980s and 1990s: Norway, Slovenia, Japan, the former Soviet Union, the UK and, last, the US. As SI evolved, the version popularized in the US became globally dominant. The evolution of SI is presented in five stages: emergence, foundational, expansion, coherence, and transformation. Thus, we divide SI research into five major periods: an emergence stage, when various forms of SI emerged around the globe, an early period of foundational work which grounds SI (Pre-1990s), a period of expansion (1990s), a robust period of coherence and influence by Rob Kling (2000-2005) , and a period of transformation (2006-Present). Following the description of the five periods we discuss the evolution throughout the periods under five sections: principles, concepts, approaches, topics, and findings. Principles refer to the overarching motivations and labels employed to describe scholarly work. Approaches describe the theories, frameworks, and models employed in analysis, emphasizing the multi-disciplinary and interdisciplinary nature of SI. Concepts include specific processes, entities, themes, and elements of discourse within a given context, revealing a shared SI language surrounding change, complexity, consequences, and social elements of technology. Topics label the issues and general domains studied within social informatics, ranging from scholarly communication to online communities to information systems. Findings from seminal SI works illustrate growing insights over time and demonstrate how repeatable explanations unify SI. In the concluding remarks, we raise questions about the possible futures of SI research.
This book outlines the basic principles of creation and maintenance of taxonomies and thesauri. It also provides step by step instructions for building a taxonomy or thesaurus and discusses the various ways to get started on a taxonomy construction project. Often, the first step is to get management and budgetary approval, so I start this book with a discussion of reasons to embark on the taxonomy journey. From there I move on to a discussion of metadata and how taxonomies and metadata are related, and then consider how, where, and why taxonomies are used. Information architecture has its cornerstone in taxonomies and metadata. While a good discussion of information architecture is beyond the scope of this work, I do provide a brief discussion of the interrelationships among taxonomies, metadata, and information architecture. Moving on to the central focus of this book, I introduce the basics of taxonomies, including a definition of vocabulary control and why it is so important, how indexing and tagging relate to taxonomies, a few of the types of tagging, and a definition and discussion of post- and pre-coordinate indexing. After that I present the concept of a hierarchical structure for vocabularies and discuss the differences among various kinds of controlled vocabularies, such as taxonomies, thesauri, authority files, and ontologies. Once you have a green light for your project, what is the next step? Here I present a few options for the first phase of taxonomy construction and then a more detailed discussion of metadata and markup languages. I believe that it is important to understand the markup languages (SGML and XML specifically, and HTML to a lesser extent) in relation to information structure, and how taxonomies and metadata feed into that structure. After that, I present the steps required to build a taxonomy, from defining the focus, collecting and organizing terms, analyzing your vocabulary for even coverage over subject areas, filling in gaps, creating relationships between terms, and applying those terms to your content. Here I offer a cautionary note: don’t believe that your taxonomy is “done!” Regular, scheduled maintenance is an important—critical, really—component of taxonomy construction projects. After you’ve worked through the steps in this book, you will be ready to move on to integrating your taxonomy into the workflow of your organization. This is covered in Book 3 of this series. Table of Contents: List of Figures / Preface / Acknowledgments / Building a Case for Building a Taxonomy / Taxonomy Basics / Getting Started / Terms: The Building Blocks of a Taxonomy / Building the Structure of Your Taxonomy / Evaluation and Maintenance / Standards and Taxonomies / Glossary / End Notes / Author Biography
This is the first volume in a series about creating and maintaining taxonomies and their practical applications, especially in search functions. In Book 1 (The Taxobook: History, Theories, and Concepts of Knowledge Organization), the author introduces the very foundations of classification, starting with the ancient Greek philosophers Plato and Aristotle, as well as Theophrastus and the Roman Pliny the Elder. They were first in a line of distinguished thinkers and philosophers to ponder the organization of the world around them and attempt to apply a structure or framework to that world. The author continues by discussing the works and theories of several other philosophers from Medieval and Renaissance times, including Saints Aquinas and Augustine, William of Occam, Andrea Cesalpino, Carl Linnaeus, and René Descartes. In the 17th, 18th, and 19th centuries, John Locke, Immanuel Kant, James Frederick Ferrier, Charles Ammi Cutter, and Melvil Dewey contributed greatly to the theories of classification systems and knowledge organization. Cutter and Dewey, especially, created systems that are still in use today. Chapter 8 covers the contributions of Shiyali Ramamrita Ranganathan, who is considered by many to be the “father of modern library science.” He created the concept of faceted vocabularies, which are widely used—even if they are not well understood—on many e-commerce websites. Following the discussions and historical review, the author has included a glossary that covers all three books of this series so that it can be referenced as you work your way through the second and third volumes. The author believes that it is important to understand the history of knowledge organization and the differing viewpoints of various philosophers—even if that understanding is only that the differing viewpoints simply exist. Knowing the differing viewpoints will help answer the fundamental questions: Why do we want to build taxonomies? How do we build them to serve multiple points of view? Table of Contents: List of Figures / Preface / Acknowledgments / Origins of Knowledge Organization Theory: Early Philosophy of Knowledge / Saints and Traits: Realism and Nominalism / Arranging the glowers... and the Birds, and the Insects, and Everything Else: Early Naturalists and Taxonomies / The Age of Enlightenment Impacts Knowledge Theory / 18th-Century Developments: Knowledge Theory Coming to the Foreground / High Resolution: Classification Sharpens in the 19th and 20th Centuries / Outlining the World and Its Parts / Facets: An Indian Mathematician and Children’s Toys at Selfridge’s / Points of Knowledge / Glossary / End Notes / Author Biography
The study of people, information and communication technologies and the contexts in which these technologies are designed, implemented and used has long interested scholars in a wide range of disciplines, including the social study of computing, science and technology studies, the sociology of technology, and management information systems. As ICT use has spread from organizations into the larger world, these devices have become routine information appliances in our social lives, researchers have begun to ask deeper and more profound questions about how our lives have become bound up with technologies. A common theme running through this research is that the relationships among people, technology and context are dynamic, complex and critically important to understand. This synthesis lecture explores social informatics (SI), one important and dynamic approach that researchers have used to study these complex relationships. SI is "the interdisciplinary study of the design, uses and consequences of information technology that takes into account their interaction with institutional and cultural contexts" (Kling 1998, p.52; 1999). SI provides flexible frameworks to explore complex and dynamic sociotechnical interactions. As a domain of study related largely by common vocabulary and conclusions, SI critically examines common conceptions of and expectations for technology, by providing contextual evidence. This synthesis describes the evolution of SI research and identifies challenges and opportunities for future research. In what might be seen as an example of sociotechnical "natural selection", SI emerged in six different locations during the 1980s and 1990s: Norway, Slovenia, Japan, the former Soviet Union, the UK and, last, the US. As SI evolved, the version popularized in the US became globally dominant. The evolution of SI is presented in five stages: emergence, foundational, expansion, coherence, and transformation. Thus, we divide SI research into five major periods: an emergence stage, when various forms of SI emerged around the globe, an early period of foundational work which grounds SI (Pre-1990s), a period of expansion (1990s), a robust period of coherence and influence by Rob Kling (2000-2005) , and a period of transformation (2006-Present). Following the description of the five periods we discuss the evolution throughout the periods under five sections: principles, concepts, approaches, topics, and findings. Principles refer to the overarching motivations and labels employed to describe scholarly work. Approaches describe the theories, frameworks, and models employed in analysis, emphasizing the multi-disciplinary and interdisciplinary nature of SI. Concepts include specific processes, entities, themes, and elements of discourse within a given context, revealing a shared SI language surrounding change, complexity, consequences, and social elements of technology. Topics label the issues and general domains studied within social informatics, ranging from scholarly communication to online communities to information systems. Findings from seminal SI works illustrate growing insights over time and demonstrate how repeatable explanations unify SI. In the concluding remarks, we raise questions about the possible futures of SI research.
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