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John Rooksby <[log in to unmask]>
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John Rooksby <[log in to unmask]>
Wed, 12 Dec 2007 15:25:42 +0000
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Apologies for cross posting

Please find below a call for papers for a special issue of The Journal of
Computer Supported Cooperative Work on "CSCW, Technology and Diagnostic

An online version of this call can be found at


CSCW Journal Special Issue:
CSCW, Technology and Diagnostic Work

Editors: Monika Buscher; Jacki O'Neill, John Rooksby


When we think of diagnostic work, often the first domain to come to mind is
healthcare. However, practices of noticing and categorising trouble and of
defining the scope for remedial action span many domains. For example,
diagnostic work also takes place in software and hardware troubleshooting,
engineering, emergency work, detective work, coaching, hospitality work,
piano tuning, and quality control.  Broadening the analytical focus can
leverage important insights for the design and use of CSCW technologies.

Although frequently conceived of as a 'moment' of individual cognition,
diagnosis is often a material, collaborative process.  It requires careful
sensory and sensitive engagement with other people (e.g. in healthcare,
teaching, policing or customer service), resourceful and iterative probing
of information technology (e.g. debugging code, playing a video game) and
manipulation of material objects (e.g. fixing a printer jam). Some
activities involve rational everyday knowledge, others demand scientific
practices, representation and calculation, and some call for emotional and
intuitive ways of knowing.  Moreover, technology use pervades diagnostic
work, mediating or facilitating it. Increasingly, technologies are used in
remote diagnostic practices, for example, for bomb disposal, environmental
monitoring, healthcare, or for customer support from one of a myriad of call
centres. And local diagnosis also often relies on technological support, for
example to alert people to problems, to help assess their nature, to locate
solutions, to communicate diagnostic reasoning and so on.

Diagnostic practices are a pervasive and important feature of contemporary
life. They matter, not least because it is through diagnostic work that
different perspectives (e.g. novices and experts, users, developers and
designers) meet. Technologies meant to support diagnostic work can interfere
with the everyday practices, organizational structures and skills involved,
both positively and negatively. For this Special Issue of the Journal of
Computer Supported Cooperative Work we invite contributions that explore key
dimensions of this dynamic relationship to inform the design and use of CSCW
technologies, including questions around:

* 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? How could technologies support collaboration?

* Human-matter engagement: Engagement with physiological or material
agencies entails skills of human-matter 'communication'. People use
technologies that translate, amplify, or otherwise document material
activities. They use thresholds, patterns and alarms. How do (or don't) such
technologies help people in making matter 'speak'? How do they 'sit' with
the collaborative dynamic of diagnostic work?

* 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 exploit affordances
and address breakdown?

In this special issue of the Journal of Computer Supported Cooperative Work
we seek to analyze the collaborative practical accomplishment of
technologically mediated or facilitated diagnostic work. We particularly
invite studies of domains outside of healthcare.  Regardless of the domain
studied, authors must clearly address what constitutes diagnostic work
within the context of their study, they must clearly describe the
collaborative nature of diagnostic work and the opportunities and challenges
that technologies in general and CSCW technologies in particular
raise.  Papers may focus on:

* Studies of technologically mediated and/or facilitated diagnostic work
* Critiques and analysis of existing technologies in use in diagnostic
* Descriptions of concepts or designs of new technologies for diagnosis

Submissions should be 6000-8000 words and follow the Springer guidelines for
authors, available at<;changeHeader=true&amp;
Submission is electronic, details are included in the author guidelines

Submission deadline: 18 April 2008
Reviews returned:  21 June
Submission deadline for completed, revised manuscripts:  30 July 2008

Monika Buscher [log in to unmask]
Jacki O'Neill [log in to unmask]
John Rooksby [log in to unmask]

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