Call for papers: HICSS 2011 Minitrack on Documenting Work and Working Documents

Forty-fourth Annual Hawai’i International Conference on System Sciences
Minitrack on Documenting Work and Working Documents
Part of the Digital Media: Content and Communication Track
January 4-7, 2011
The Grand Hyatt Kauai Resort & Spa, Kauai, Hawai’i

We invite papers for a Minitrack on document work and the work of documenting. Knowledge and coordination work is hard to observe. A focus on the more tangible aspects of this work, namely documents, provides a useful lens into the work practices of organizational members in general, and those working in distributed and virtual teams in particular. Studying documents in work allows us to position people’s immediate activities and situated routines in their larger social and organizational context. As documents carry institutional structures and point to both past and future activities they open a window to larger organizational practices.

For this minitrack, we welcome studies that explore how organizational members use documents to share knowledge and coordinate their work within and across temporal, spatial, and organizational boundaries; as well as papers that offer methodological guidance to studies of documenting work and working documents.

We define documents as typified and material communication, whether electronic, paper-based, wall mounted or set in stone, invoked in response to recurrent situations. The notion of document serves as a lens into the socio-technical or socio-material nature of what organizational members do day in and day out. Documents are socio-technical in that they are both material – and, thus, embody the technical infrastructure – and social – as they embody both the work practices and shared understanding of those involved.

For example, our production and distribution of the document in front of you involved the technology of word processors, several different computers, Google documents, hard copies, email messages and pdf files. We even touched a book in the process. Your reading of the call likely involves numerous other technologies; you are likely reading a digital version of this conference call that you received in your inbox or you might have stumbled over it among many other mini-track descriptions on the HICSS-43 website. Shared social practices are reflected in the degree to which you, the reader, and we, the authors, understand and share common knowledge about the form and contents of the genre of conference calls in general and HICSS calls in particular and reflect this knowledge in this document. The work we have done and that you are doing represents the basics of the work practices. And, the various material forms of the proposal represent some of the infrastructure supporting these HICSS and the broader information field.

In short, the production and consumption of this call involves both the work of documenting and document work. The work of documenting falls close to the definition of the verb, to “document,” describing the act of providing factual or substantive support for statements made or hypotheses proposed; or to equip with exact references to authoritative supporting information (Merriam-Webster Online Dictionary). At the same time we engaged in document work involving the production, use, collection, classification, storage, retrieving and dissemination of documents within and across organizational settings.

A focus on documents is part of a larger trend in the academic literature. In parallel to the dissemination of increasingly complex information systems in organizational environments, there is an emerging literature studying document work and the work of documenting within and across organizational boundaries. These studies tend to oppose a purely information-based perspective propagating the abstract meanings and immaterial data communicated via various information systems. Instead this body of work largely draws on a pragmatic and practice-oriented perspective theorizing the social practices going into the manufacturing of documents through the manipulations of various material forms.

Topics of the Minitrack will address include (but are not limited to):
• Documents as part of organizational infrastructure
• Institutional ethnography
• Boundary documents
• Immutable mobiles and mutable mobiles
• Documents and accountability
• The evolution of genres of digital documents, including non-textual genres
• Investigations of genre in use
• Analysis of particular document genres, e.g. email, spam, and deception
• Combining document
• Document life cycles
• Documents and their materiality
• Documents in Web 2.0 applications (Blogs, Wikis, Open Source)
• Documents in Healthcare
• Documents in . . . . . .

Kevin Crowston, Professor
Syracuse University
School of Information Studies
Hinds Hall 348
Syracuse, NY 13244–4100
Tel: +1 315 443-1676
Dept: +1 315 443-2911
Fax: +1 866 265-7407

Carsten Østerlund, Associate Professor
Syracuse University
School of Information Studies
Hinds Hall 309
Syracuse, NY 13244–4100
Tel: +1 315 443-8773
Dept: +1 315 443-2911
Fax: +1 315 443-5806


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 will be pulled from the publication process; authors will be notified.

Additional details may be found on HICSS primary web site: