CFP – Materiality of Information, Documents, and Work


Materiality of Information, Documents and Work

Forty-Ninth Annual Hawaii International Conference on System Sciences (HICSS-49)

January 5-8, 2016 – Grand Hyatt Kauai, Hawaii

Deadline for submissions: June 15, 2015

We invite papers for the third annual HICSS minitrack on the Materiality of Information. This minitrack serves as a venue to develop theoretical and methodological approaches for the investigation of materiality stemming from the field of information studies. Scholars of Science and Technology Studies (STS) have readily reformulated their work in terms of materiality (e.g., Latour, 1990; Barad 2007), however information studies and IS scholars have only begun to do the same (e.g., Orlikowski & Scott, 2008; Leonardi, Nardi, Kallinikos 2012).

The last two years of this minitrack have established a unique concern with re- specifying approaches to “information” that have treated it as an abstraction. This early work has moved away from an examination of data shared with the click of a button, computation occurring in the ‘cloud’, or bots and algorithms operating as immaterial software or mathematics (e.g., Geiger and Ribes 2011; Finn et al 2014; Steinhardt & Jackson 2014; Meyer et al 2015). Instead, they have explored how clouds and computation act as concrete systems, managed and maintained by ‘invisible’ workers and located in real world organizations and even political jurisdictions (Blanchette 2011); how bots and algorithms do practical work, and get created by real people with intentions, interests, technical expertise and limitations (Geiger and Ribes 2011; Rosner 2012, 2014); and how data production, sharing and preservation too are practical, ongoing and evolving activities, also enacted by subtended workers, and never just resolved by the latest data solution (Ribes 2014).

Materiality of information scholars have also begun to ‘rediscover’ the threads of material thinking long incipient in information scholarship: e.g., approaching documents and documenting as practice and routine (Bjørn and Østerlund 2014; Østerlund 2008), being mindful that archives are in places and that those places have consequences for the archives (Bowker 2006), that we have long talked about records as antelopes (Buchland 1997; Briet 2006; Lund 2009; Frohman 2004), and recalling that interfaces are on objects like photocopiers (Suchman 2007) and teapots (Norman 2002).

As increasingly complex information systems are adopted across organizational environments, there is pressing need for more careful study of the materiality of information systems and practices in these contexts. Taken together – the emergence of new theoretical formulations and long standing traditions within information scholarship – we are beginning to see the outlines of an approach to materiality that is unique to studies of information. This minitrack seeks to foster and advance this discussion, and to continue a productive dialogue with interventionist approaches as well as allied fields such as STS, Media Studies, and Organizational Studies. We welcome papers conducting empirical research, theoretical development and synthesis on topics such as (but not limited to): Trace data methodologies, infrastructures of breakdown, documenting work, material interventions, maintenance and repair, classification systems and big data, standards, and sociomaterial analysis.

The minitrack chairs welcome inquires from authors about the suitability of their work for the minitrack. Contact Co-chairs Carsten Østerlund, Syracuse University,,; David Ribes, Georgetown University,; or Daniela K. Rosner, University of Washington,,


From now to June 1: If you wish, you may prepare an abstract and contact the minitrack chairs for guidance and indication of appropriate content.

June 15: Authors submit full papers by this date, following the Author Instructions ( Please consult the HICSS main website for complete information ( All papers will be submitted in double column publication format and limited to 10 pages including diagrams and references. HICSS papers undergo a double-blind review (June15–August15).

August 15: Acceptance notices are sent to Authors. At this time, at least one author of an accepted paper should begin visa, fiscal and travel arrangements to attend the conference to present the paper.

September 15: Authors submit Final Version of papers following submission instructions posted on the HICSS web site. At least one author of each paper must register by this date with specific plans to attend the conference.

October 15: Papers without at least one registered author to attend HICSS will be pulled from the publication process; authors will be notified.


Barad, K. 2007. Meeting the Universe Halfway: Quantum Physics and the Entanglement of Matter and Meaning, (Duke University Press: Durham, NC.

Berg, M. Bowker, G. (1996). The multiple bodies of the medical record: Toward a Sociology of an Artifact. The Sociological Quarterly, 38 (3): 513-537.

Bjørn, P., Østerlund, C. (2014) “Socio-Material Design: Bounding Technologies in Practice.” Switzerland: Springer International Publishing.

Briet S. 2006 [1951]. What Is Documentation? Transl./ed. RE Day, L Martinet, HGB Anghelescu. Lanham, MD: Scarecrow

Blanchette JF (2011) A material history of bits. Journal of the American Society for Information Science and Technology 62(6): 1042-1057.

Bowker GC (2006) Memory Practices in the Sciences. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press.

Buckland MK. 1997. What is a document? J. Am. Soc. Inform. Sci. 48:804–9

Finn, M., and J. Srinivasan, and R. Veeraraghavan. (2014) “Seeing with Paper: Government Documents and Material Participation.” Paper presented at the The 47th Annual Hawaii International Conference on System Science (HICSS-48), Hawaii, HI.

Frohman, Bernd. (2004). Deflating information: From Science studies to documentation. Toronto, Canada: University of Toronto Press.

Geiger, R. S. and D. Ribes (2011). Trace ethnography: Following coordination through documentary practices. Hawaii International Conference on System Sciences (HICSS), IEEE.

Latour, B. 1990. “Visualisation and Cognition: Drawing Things Together.” in Representation in Scientific Practice, edited by M. Lynch and S. Woolgar. Cambridge: MIT Press.

Leonardi, B. A. Nardi, and J. Kallinikos, (2012). Materiality and Organizing: Social Interaction in a Technological World. Oxford, UK: Oxford University Press.

Lund, N. W. (2009). Document Theory. Annual Review of Information Science and Technology, 43, 399-432.

Norman, D. (2002). Emotion & design: attractive things work better. interactions, 9(4), 36-42.

Mazmanian, M. Cohen, M. and Dourish, P. “Dynamic Reconfiguration in Planetary Exploration: A Sociomaterial Ethnography,” MISQ., vol. 38, no. 3, pp. 831–848, 2014.

Meyer, S.R., Pierce, C.S., Kou, Y., Leonardi, P.M., Nardi, B.A., Bailey, D.E. (2015) Offshoring Digital Work, But Not Physical Output: Examining Differential Access to Task Objects in Globally Distributed Automotive Engineering and Graphic Design Work. The 48th Annual Hawaii International Conference on System Science (HICSS-48), Hawaii, HI

Orlikowski, W. J., and Scott, S. V. 2008. “Sociomateriality: Challenging the Separation of Technology, Work and Organization,” The Academy of Management Annals (2:1), pp 433-474.

Østerlund, C. “The Materiality of Communicative Practices: The boundaries and objects of an emergency room genre,” Scandinavian Journal of Information Systems (20s:1) 2008, pp 7-40.

Østerlund, C., & Boland, D. 2009. Document Cycles: Knowledge Flows in Heterogeneous Healthcare Information System Environments. Paper presented at the The 42nd Annual Hawaii International Conference on System Science (HICSS-42), Hawaii, HI.

Ribes, D. (2014). The Kernel of a Research Infrastructure. Computer Supported Cooperative Work (CSCW), ACM: 574-587.

Rosner, D. K., and M. G. Ames. (2014) Designing for Repair? Infrastructures and Materialities of Breakdown. Computer Supported Cooperative Work (CSCW). ACM, 2014.

Rosner, D. K. “The material practices of collaboration.” Computer Supported Cooperative Work (CSCW). ACM, 2012:1155-1164.

Steinhardt, SB and Jackson SJ (2014) Material Engagements: Putting Plans and Things Together in Collaborative Ocean Science. Paper presented at the The 47th Annual Hawaii International Conference on System Science (HICSS-48), Hawaii, HI.

Materiality of Information, Documents & Work