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John Rooksby <[log in to unmask]>
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John Rooksby <[log in to unmask]>
Thu, 14 Jun 2007 18:50:28 +0100
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CSCW, Technology and Diagnostic Work
(A workshop at ECSCW 07, September 24-28, Limerick, Ireland)

For submission and questions please contact:  [log in to unmask]

Workshop website:

The aim of this workshop is to consider the inter-relationship of
technology, CSCW and diagnostic work through bringing together researchers,
designers, and studies of diagnostic practices.

Diagnostic work - the ability to notice trouble and see scope for remedial
action - is crucial in many different contexts of work. Doctors, mechanics,
help-line operators, firefighters, experimental scientists, the police,
teachers, surveyors, computer programmers, and many other professionals do
it. Technologies of various kinds, databases, expert systems,
decision-making systems etc. are increasingly part of this diagnostic work.
Yet diagnoses are often both difficult to produce and hard to communicate,
and technologies meant to support diagnostic work can interfere with the
everyday practices involved. Although frequently conceived as a 'moment' of
cognition, diagnosis can also be seen as a material, collaborative process
involving expert skills, careful sensory and sensitive engagement with human
agencies ( e.g. in medical consultations, teaching or policing), and
non-human agencies (e.g. physiological or material 'actants', 'bugs' in
computer code, etc.). Some activities involve rational everyday knowledge,
some demand 'scientific' epistemic practices –   e.g. measurement,
experiment and intervention, representations and calculations, and some also
require other, creative, emotional and intuitive ways of knowing.

Diagnostic practices are a pervasive and important feature of contemporary
life. They matter, not least because it is through diagnosing and diagnoses
that different perspectives -   e.g. novices and experts, users, developers
and designers, patients and healthcare professionals - meet.

Technology use pervades much of diagnostic work; whether it be
technologically mediated or technologically facilitated. Mediating
technologies might include video-conferencing systems, online support or the
telephone. Facilitating technologies cover  a large gamut, from medical
technologies (from the traditional x-ray machines to systems which
themselves attempt to read and interpret medical data) to knowledge bases
and expert systems.

In this workshop, we seek to explore, present and discuss studies of
technology mediated diagnostic work in any domain of human activity, as well
as analyses and designs of technologies intended to support diagnostic work.
Interrelated issues contributors might wish to address include:

Collaboration. Diagnosing is often a collaborative endeavour. How is
collaboration organised and sustained? Is it made visible or invisible? How
do participants 'calibrate' for varying degrees of competence? What
technologies are used and how? How could technologies support collaboration?

Human-matter engagement. Engagement with physiological or material agencies
often entails sophisticated skills of human-matter 'communication'. People
must learn to notice, hear and make matter 'speak'. How do they learn to do
this? How does 'communication' take place? What kinds of apparatuses and
technologies are involved?

Human-technology engagement. The states and processes of many of the
technologies meant to support diagnostic work themselves are hard to notice,
inspect, 'diagnose', let alone 'debug'. How do people understand and make
the most of these technologies? How do they notice and address breakdown?
Can 'palpable computing' support the collaborative work of diagnosis?


We invite 3-5 page position papers. Paper presentations will be 20 minutes
in length with good time for discussion. Work-in-progress is very welcome.

Important dates

July 6: Submission of position papers

July 13: Notification of acceptance

September 25: CSCW, Technology and Diagnostic Work

The organizers ...

We bring together expertise from a range of different fields:

Monika Büscher is a Senior Research Fellow at the Sociology Department at
Lancaster University, UK. Her research revolves around ethnomethodological
studies of work, science and technology studies, participatory design,
computer supported cooperative work, palpable and ubiquitous computing.
Studies of diagnostic work – in medical settings, but also in landscape
architecture, emergency response work, and software development are an
important part of my current research.<>

Alan Firth's research is in conversation analysis in educational and
workplace settings. Most relevant to this workshop is his work around
'calibrating for competence' in calls to technology helplines (In: 'Calling
for Help: Language and Social Interaction in Telephone Helplines',
Benjamins, 2005 (with Carolyn Baker and Michael Emmison). He is currently
working on several journal articles and a monograph - 'Talk, Language and
Culture', for Sage publications.

Dawn Goodwin is a lecturer at the Institute for Health Research and the
Department of Medical Education at Lancaster University.  In relation to
this workshop, she is most interested in questions of professional
accountability. Working on an ESRC/MRC funded project 'Building networks of
accountability: connecting humans, machines and devices' she explores the
tensions that arise when individual healthcare professionals are held
accountable for 'decisions' contributed to by many different clinicians and
practitioners, patients and medical technologies. She is also working on a
monograph – 'Acting in Anaesthesia: Agency, Participation and Legitimation'
for the 'Learning in Doing' series by Cambridge University Press.

Preben Mogensen is Associate Professor at the Computer Science Department,
Aarhus University, Denmark. His main research interests are tools and
techniques for active user involvement in system development (participatory
design, co-design); Pervasive Computing; Computer Supported Collaborative
Work; Cooperative Analysis; Prototyping; and Object Oriented approaches to
system developments. <>

Jacki O'Neill is a member of the Work Practice Technologies group at Xerox
Grenoble.  She joined XRCE in September 2001, initially at Cambridge, then
moving to the Grenoble lab. She has an MRes in Informatics from the Dept. of
Computer Science, Manchester University (1996) and a PhD from the
Information Systems Institute, Salford University (2002).  She is currently
working on 1) issues surrounding production printing, such as the time it
takes for a file to be proofed and printed; 2) collaborative discovery for
litigation and 3) supporting users in device troubleshooting, following
field work in technical support call centres in Dublin, and work with
production printers in Edinburgh.

John Rooksby is a research associate in Computing at Lancaster
University.  His research interests are in software engineering,
particularly in how ethnography can inform and illuminate the design
process.  His current research focuses upon human and organizational issues
in software testing.  Recently, he has also become interested in the
building of ontologies in eScience.

Dan Shapiro is a Professor of Sociology at Lancaster University, UK. His
main current research interests are in interdisciplinary theory for
information systems design, Computer-Supported Cooperative Work,
Participatory Design and Social Informatics. He is working on projects in
ambient and palpable computing and collaborative environments, and in
support for the aesthetic design professions and the emergency services.

Roger S. Slack is Lecturer in Sociology and Social Research at the
University of Wales, Bangor. His interests are in CSCW, ethnomethodology,
conversation analysis, and STS. He is currently involved in work on the
analysis of calls to a toxicology information service and also the
development of requirements for virtual research environments. With regard
to the workshop, his interests on the 'improvisational choreography' of
technologies, texts, gesture and speech communication in the realisation of
advice-giving are central.

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