The Handbook

A long-term goal of this workshop series is to develop a Digital STS Handbook: a touchstone text for all digital STS scholars and practitioners to map out the terrain of topics, methods and future directions for the field. What are our key studies? What are our overarching topics and research objects? What methods do we use in our investigations? Can we identify the gaps in our scholarship and the future investigations needed to fill them?

The handbook will be divided into three sections:

  1. Studies and theories of the digital: STS and related fields have developed and drawn upon a range of theoretical approaches to these topics. Digital systems, cyberinfrastructures, and a variety of computational technologies play a significant role in public life and knowledge-making. This section of the handbook will present the key topics and objects of investigation for digitalSTS, with an emphasis on how they engage with past contributions, current investigations and emerging research trajectories.
  2. Methods and methodologies for STS investigations of the digital: Many fields are engaging such methods, for example, digital humanities, virtual ethnography, and studies of human-computer interaction. This section will present, address and examine the production and use of new tools, methods, and approaches for the study of STS topics.
  3. STS-inspired design, making, hacking, participation and intervening: STS scholars contribute in unique ways to the world. We hack, we create, and we inform the design of technologies and systems. This section of the handbook will focus on our forms of engagement — past, present and future — with the broader worlds of information, technology and design.

These sections arise from the workshop at Copenhagen 2012. The Harvard workshop in 2013 aimed to examine the third section in more detail. At San Diego in 2013 we expect to bring a community of practitioners together to shape the content, agenda, and topics for each of the three sections. The sections overlap and intertwine in many ways, and many scholars may find their work cuts across multiple categories, but for the purposes of the handbook, participants will choose to focus on one section at a time, with opportunities to link across the sections.

Following the San Diego workshop we will invite selected participants, those identified during the workshop, and the broader community at large to move forward in writing original works, and selecting classic STS papers, for this compilation. We will coordinate submissions and peer review using an online scalable platform that will enable rich conversations among community members and the shaping of papers to be included in the final edition. We expect both a digital and print edition of the book, and are open to including interactive elements and online appendices to capture the broadest possible cross-section of activities and objects in the field.

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