Design and Access for Large Information Spaces
- Article: Steps toward an Ecology of Infrastructure: Design and Access for Large Information Spaces. By Susan Leigh Star and Karen Ruhleder. Information Systems Research, Special issue on Organizational
Transformation, edited by JoAnne Yates and John VanMaanen, 1995.
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"We analyze a large-scale custom software effort, the Worm Community system (WCS), a collaborative system designed for a geographically dispersed community of geneticists. There were complex challenges in creating this infrastructural tool, ranging from simple lack of resources to complex organizational and intellectual communication failures and tradeoffs. Despite high user satisfaction with the system and interface, and extensive user needs assessment, feedback and analysis, many users experienced difficulties in signing on and use. The study was conducted during a time of unprecedented growth in the Internet and its utilities (1991-1994), and many respondents turned to the World Wide Web for their information exchange. Using Bateson’s model of levels of learning, we analyze the levels of infrastructural complexity involved in system access and designeruser communication. We analyze the connection between systems development aimed at supporting specific forms of collaborative knowledge work, local organizational transformation, and large-scale infrastructural change."
"In their understanding infrastructures allow for the emergence of local practices and for this reasons the local and temporal dimensions play a major role. I do not think this understanding is in opposition with having global infrastructures (think about Internet and what it allows on a here/now perspective) but rather it underlines the importance of understanding the interplay between global and local (as you point out) and, when it comes to design (-ers community) the importance of moving out from logics of standardization and “one-solution-fits-as-many-as-possible” mind-set towards some form of located-design.
In this logic if we think about hacker-spaces, fablabs, maker-spaces as having the same role that Internet has in intangible (=information based) commons-based P2P production, it emerges not only the importance of creating a distributed system but also having a system that, according to a logic of scope, allows for diverse local practices to emerge . This means that rahter than a “standard FabLab model” there is the need to develop approaches to establish a “located” FabLab that supports specific local practices, how to “fork”a FabLab?" (http://commonsandeconomics.org/groups/stream-5-infrastructures-for-commoning-by-design/forum/topic/infrastructures-for-common-making/)