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Tom Erickson <[log in to unmask]>
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Tom Erickson <[log in to unmask]>
Thu, 28 Feb 2008 08:41:56 -0600
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Persistent Conversation Minitrack
Digital Media and Content Track at HICSS 42
January 5-8, 2009
Hilton Waikoloa Village, the Big Island, Hawai'i
See for an online version  
and further information.

The Persistent Conversation minitrack is a yearly gathering of people  
who design and study systems that support computer-mediated  
communication. Persistent conversation is not limited to asynchronous  
textual communication: It includes instant messaging, voice chat, and  
other 'ephemeral' media. Nor do we limit our focus to systems  
explicitly designed to support conversation: We are interested in  
conversational exchanges as manifested in applications (for instance,  
blogs, annotation systems, distance education) and in sites oriented  
around the use of photos, video and other media. If you're interested  
in presenting a paper in the minitrack, the first step is to submit an  
abstract by March 15, 2008. A 10-page paper would be due June 15th.

-03/15: Prospective authors submit 300-word abstracts
-03/31: Feedback on abstracts sent
-06/15: 10-page papers due (see 
  for details)
-08/15: Accept/Conditional Accept/Reject notices sent
-09/15: Final papers due; at least one author must register for  

This interdisciplinary minitrack and workshop brings designers and  
researchers together to explore persistent conversation, the  
transposition of ordinarily ephemeral conversation into the  
potentially persistent digital medium. Persistent conversations occur  
via instant messaging, text and voice chat, email, blogs, web boards,  
MOOs, graphical and 3D virtual environments, gaming systems, video  
sharing sites, document annotation systems, mobile phone texting, etc.  
Such communication is persistent in that it leaves a digital trace,  
and the trace in turn affords new uses. It permits conversations to be  
saved, visualized, browsed, searched, replayed, and restructured.  
Persistence also means that conversations need not be synchronous:  
They can be asynchronous (stretching out over hours or days) or  
supersynchronous (with multiple parties 'talking' at the same time).  
Finally, the creation of persistent and potentially permanent records  
from what was once an ephemeral process raises a variety of social and  
ethical issues.

We are seeking papers that address one or both of the following two  
general areas:
* Understanding Practice. The burgeoning popularity of the internet  
(and intranets) provides an opportunity to study and characterize new  
forms of conversational practice. Questions of interest range from how  
various features of conversations (e.g., turn-taking, topic  
organization, expression of paralinguistic information) have adapted  
in response to the digital medium, to new roles played by persistent  
conversation in domains such as education, business, and entertainment.
* Design. Digital systems do not currently support conversation well:  
It is difficult to converse with grace, clarity, depth and coherence  
over networks. But this need not remain the case. Toward this end, we  
welcome analyses of existing systems as well as designs for new  
systems which better support conversation. Also of interest are  
inquiries into how participants design their own conversations within  
the digital medium -- that is, how they make use of system features to  
create, structure, and regulate their discourse.

Examples of appropriate topics include, but are not limited to:
- Turn-taking, threading and other structural features of CMC
- The dynamics of large scale conversation systems (e.g. blog networks)
- Methods for summarizing or visualizing conversation archives
- Studies of virtual communities or other sites of digital conversation
- The roles of mediated conversation in knowledge management
- Studies of the use of instant messaging in large organizations
- Novel designs for computer-mediated conversation systems
- Analyses of or designs for distance learning systems

Submit a 250 to 300 word abstract of your proposed paper via email to  
the chairs: Tom Erickson (snowfall at acm dot org), Susan Herring  
(herring at indiana dot edu) by the deadline noted above. We will send  
you feedback on the suitability of your abstract by the deadline noted  

- About the minitrack, see  
contact: Thomas Erickson (snowfall at and Susan Herring  
(herring at
- About previous years' papers (including pdf's) and participants,  
- About the HICSS conference, see:
Tom Erickson

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