Brian Whitworth and Aldo de Moor are co-editing a new "Handbook of Research
on Socio-Technical Design and Social Networking Systems" to gather current
research into socio-technical systems - computer technologies that enable
social interaction of any type, whether conversation (email), group
discussion (chat), group writing (wiki), trading (E-bay), online learning
(WebCT), social networking or others. This book is not about how to make
technology more efficient, nor how technology affects society, but about how
social concepts can enlighten technology design, use, and evaluation, i.e
socializing technology. The chapter call below seeks innovative
contributers in the new multi-disciplinary field of socio-technical systems.
See also the STS Handbook web page http://brianwhitworth.com/sts
Brian Whitworth and Aldo de Moor
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Call for Chapters: Handbook of Research on Socio-Technical Design and Social
Proposal Deadline: 8/31/2007
Full Chapters Deadline: 1/15/2008
A Book Edited by Brian Whitworth (Massey University) and Aldo de Moor
This call is at: http://brianwhitworth.com/sts
Email correspondence: [log in to unmask]
This handbook addresses current research into Socio-Technical Systems
(STSs) - computer technologies that enable social interaction of any type,
whether conversation (email), group discussion (chat), group writing (wiki),
trading (E-bay), online learning (WebCT), social networking or others. The
Internet has evolved from hosting information to hosting social
interactions. Yet as technology becomes part of social life, social
requirements must become part of technical design. Without this, a
"social-technical gap" emerges - a deficit between what society wants and
what technology does. This book aims to help reduce that gap, by combining
social and technical knowledge. The new multi-disciplinary field of
socio-technical systems, spans traditional disciplines like Engineering,
Psychology, Computing, Sociology and Business. A socio-technical system is a
social system that emerges from a technical one. Its success requires social
as well as technical performance. This raises questions beyond how to make
technology more efficient, or how technology affects society, namely how
social concepts should drive technology. The premise is that technology,
which is created by people, should work for society, not the other way
Every day, throughout the world, people use computer technology to conduct
otherwise impossible social interactions, e.g. global online discussions.
The technologies that allow this are, in general, socio-technical systems.
This book asks what makes such systems work well or poorly. How people can
connect electronically is a complex technical problem, but how people should
connect socially is an even more complex problem. Both problems must be
solved for STS success. Spam illustrates what happens when technical but not
social problems are addressed, as ISP and user inboxes fill with messages
no-one reads or wants, wasting online time, money and resources. Social
issues have become as critical as technical ones for the designrs and users
of modern socio-technical systems.
As humanity enters a new millennium one cannot but feel that humanity has,
over thousands of years of often bitter struggle, made some social progress.
Villages formed into towns, then cities, then city states, then nations,
then "nations of nations" like the USA or Europe, with hundreds of millions
of people per social unit. Is the next step an online global society, with
us all "citizens of the world"? If so, the social learning of the past is
important. Are social ideas like accountability, group identity, friendship,
fairness or public good, also relevant to technology design, evaluation and
operation? If technology enables new social forms, will they follow old
social principles? With several thousand years of physical history, and many
online social generations come and gone, it is time to address critical
socio-technical questions. A technologized society must socialize its
technology, with technology designs that engage the social contexts within
which they are embedded. Without a social direction, technology may not
flourish as it should, just as without technology society may lose its
potential. This approach is summed up by three points:
1. The information technology revolution is only just beginning, and
socio-technical systems are leading the way.
2. Socio-technical systems that ignore social requirements will face serious
3. Integrating social and technical requirements can overcome these
We invite new perspectives on how social ideas can enlighten technical
design, evaluation and operation, and how technical practices can inspire
new forms of social interaction.
Recommended topics include, but are not limited to, the following:
Authors are encouraged to combine social theory and technical practice, e.g.
from but not limited to the FIRST LIST below, and target application(s) from
but not limited to the SECOND LIST below:
FIRST LIST: Possible Theory Perspectives
- Active knowledge systems
- Anthropological models
- Applied pragmatics
- Archeological and history models
- Collaborative working environments
- Communication and meaning theory
- Community informatics
- Contextual theory models
- Criminal and social justice theories
- CSCW theory
- Decision support theory
- Digital trace analysis models
- E-business, E-government, E-politics, E-health etc. perspectives
- Educational/learning theory - Game theory
- HCI theory
- Human sensory processing and recognition models
- Information brokers and mediators
- Interpersonal relationship models
- IS design models
- IS quality evaluation
- Language/action theory
- Leadership theories
- Media choice theories
- Negotiation and conflict models - Open source theories
- Organizational communication modeling
- Political models, theories of social rights and obligations
- Pragmatic web theory
- Semantic modeling
- Small group theory
- Sociological models and social philosophy
- Socio-technical systems theory
- Technology appropriation
- Technology acceptance or social diffusion theories
- ANY OTHER SOCIAL THEORY
SECOND LIST: Possible Technology Application Areas
-- Information Management Systems: Browsers, Search engines, ListServs,
-- Human Expression Systems: Home pages, Virtual museum/art gallery,Online
music publishing, Online books/journals, E-zines, Blogs, Online news
-- Interpersonal Relation Systems: Email, Internet phone (e.g.
Skype),Video-phone and conferencing, Instant messages, Chat, Social
-- Group Interaction Systems: Wikis, Bulletin boards, Group writing systems,
Collaborative tools, Commenting systems, Online voting, E-governance, Online
leadership, Online norms, Communities of Action, Group membership systems,
Online democracy, Communities of Practice, Online multi-player games, Online
-- Trade and Business Systems: Electronic markets, Recommender systems,
Enterprise information systems, Job markets, Work flow systems, Web-bots
(buyer/sellers), End-user license agreements (EULA),Online barter systems,
-- Health Support Systems: Diagnostic support systems, Patient record
systems, Out-patient support systems, Patient empowerment systems
-- Learning Support Systems: Online learning systems, Asynchronous Learning
Systems, E-learning practices, Help agents, Video teaching, FAQ's and
Help-boards, Training and tutorial systems
-- Anti-social systems: Spyware, Phone-home systems, Spam, Unwanted software
installs, Spoofing, Phishing, Identity theft, Hacking tools
-- ANY OTHER SOCIO-TECHNICAL APPLICATION
August 31, 2007: Submit 2-page proposal for chapter
September 30, 2007: Notification of authors of proposal acceptance
January 15, 2008: Full chapters are due
April 15, 2008: Revised versions due
May 15, 2008: Notification of acceptance of final version
June 15, 2008: Camera-ready versions due
Individuals interested in submitting chapters (5,000-7,500 words) on the
above-suggested topics or other related topics in their area of interest
should submit via e-mail a 2-3 page manuscript proposal clearly explaining
the mission and concerns of the proposed chapter by August 31, 2007. We
strongly encourage other topics that have not been listed in our suggested
list, particularly if the topic is related to the research area in which you
have expertise. Upon acceptance of your proposal, you will have until
January 15, 2008, to prepare your chapter of 5,000-7,500 words and 7-10
related terms and their appropriate definitions. Guidelines for preparing
your paper and terms and definitions will be sent to you upon acceptance of
your proposal. This book is tentatively scheduled for publishing by
Information Science Reference (formerly Idea Group Reference) (an imprint of
IGI Global, formerly Idea Group, Inc.), www.info-sci-ref.com in 2008.
We invite both theorists and practitioners to submit original articles that
connect social theory and technical practice. If the author feels their
ideas reach beyond current practice, we invite them to suggest how they can
be put into practice. If the author feels their practice is beyond current
theory, we invite them to explain why their technology worked (or not).
Either way, this book is not about theory or practice alone, but their
integration. Since it may be difficult to see the socio-technical forest for
the trees, we ask authors to be:
Practically grounded. Address a practical case, or at least hypothetical
case(s), to illustrate the approach used.
Theoretically enlightening. e.g. consider issues like:
- How is the social system modeled?
- How is the technical system modeled?
- How does the social level affect the technical level? e.g. architectural
barriers, influences or signposts.
- How does the technical level affect the social level? e.g. social
architectural constraints, or anti-social opportunities.
- What criteria should be used to evaluate a socio-technical system in use?
- How do the system's operations evolve/devolve over time?
Common themes. Possible cross-chapter themes are:
- How do you conceive a socio-technical system?
- What type of social interaction is the focus?
- What type of technology or application does this apply to?
- How does this paper add value to socio-technical systems theory and
- What are the drivers of change and impacts on the communities supported by
the socio-technical system examined?
Please forward your e-mail of interest including your name, affiliation and
a list of topics on which you are interested in writing a chapter to
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