The Knowledge Infrastructures research group convened a workshop in May 2012, sponsored by the U.S. National Science Foundation and the Sloan Foundation. Some 25 international scholars from many domains, including sociology, science and technology studies, computer science, human-computer interaction, and the digital humanities, participated in three days of intensive discussions and breakout groups. This document reports the outcomes, organized around three central questions:
How are knowledge infrastructures changing?
How do changes in knowledge infrastructures reinforce or redistribute authority, influence, and power?
And how can we best study, know, and imagine knowledge infrastructures moving forward?
Our report offers key examples of change, considers the consequences (good and bad) of emergent practices, and offers some rough tools and approaches that might support new ways of thinking and acting on the changing knowledge infrastructures around us. We conclude with recommendations for a more effective program of research and action in this space. As always, the real-world terrain is more vast and complex than any single representation can capture. The report that follows is meant to open conversations rather than close them. Our goal is to gather and connect existing threads in a way that supports learning, insight, and more effective modes of infrastructure development moving forward. Knowledge infrastructures and our understanding of them are changing rapidly.
Please continue to visit www.knowledgeinfrastructures.org and lend your voice to the discussion.
The authors gratefully acknowledge the support of the Sloan Foundation and the National
Science Foundation (grant BCS-0827316). We also acknowledge the vital assistance of Melissa
Chalmers, Matt Burton, and Todd Stuart in organizing workshop logistics.