Markku I. Nurminen, Jacques Berleur, and John Impagliazzo
As We May Remember 17
Alice Robbin, Roberta Lamb, John LesUe King, and Jacques
PART 1 : SOCIAL INFORMATICS: WHAT IS IT?
On Rob Kling: The Theoretical, the Methodological, and the Critical 25
Alice Robbin and Ron Day
Socio-Technical Interaction Networks: A Discussion of the Strengths,
Weaknesses and Future of Kling's STIN Model 3 7
Eric T. Meyer
Social Informatics: Principles, Theory, and Practice 49
Steve Sawyer and Michael Tyworth
Teaching Social Informatics
Teaching Social Informatics for Engineering Students 65
Laszlo Z. Karvalics and Lilla Juhasz
Social Informatics: An Emerging Discipline? 73
Social Informatics in the Future 87
Per Flensburg and Arianit Kurti
Digital Child Pornography: Reflections on the Need for a Critical IS
Research Agenda 111
An Empirical Study on Implementing Free/Libre Open Source
Software (FLOSS) in Schools 123
Yuwei Lin and Enrico Zini
Ubiquity and Pervasivity: On the Technological Mediation
of (Mobile) Everyday Life 133
Firm Information Transparency: Ethical Questions in the
Information Age 145
Antonino Vaccaro and Peter Madsen
Politics and Law
Databases, Biological Information and Collective Action 159
Internet-Based Commons of Intellectual Resources: An Exploration
of their Variety 171
Paul De Laat
Virtual Censorship: Controlling the Public Sphere 185
Communicating Information Society Related RTD and Deployment
Results in Support of EU Public Policies 195
Consumer Models in the Encounter Between Supply and Demand
of Electronic Administration 209
Franfoise Massit-Follea and Cecile Meadel
Sustainability and the Information Society 219
Information Society and ICT Policies ^"
The Production of Service in the Digital City: A Social Informatics
Elisabeth Davenport and Keith Horton
The Social Informatics of the Internet: An Ecology of Games 243
William H. Button
Enhancing Human Choice by Information Technologies 255
Tanja Urbancic, Olga Stepankova, and Nada Lavrac
User's Knights in Shining Armour? 265
Models of Democracy and the Design of Slovenian Political Party
Web Sites 279
ICT in Medicine and Health Care: Assessing Social, Ethical,
and Legal Issues 297
Goran Collste, Penny Duquenoy, Carlisle George, Karin Hedstrom,
Kai Kimppa, and Emilio Mordini
Internet in the Street Project: Helping the Extremely Poor to Enter
the Information Society 309
Corinne Chevrot, Emmanuelle Comtat, Gwenael Navarette, Bruno
Oudet, Jean-Pierre Pinet
ICT and Free Open Source Software (FOSS) in Developing Countries 319
Economic, Organizational and Technical Issues
Knowledge, Work and Subject in Informational Capitalism 333
Designing the Accountability of Enterprise Architectures 355
Gian Marco Campagnolo and Gianni Jacucci
Creating a Framework to Recognize Context-Originated Factors
in IS in Organizations 367
Tuija Tiihonen, Mikko Korpela, Anja Mursu
Methods and Concepts
Social Informatics - From Theory to Actions for the Good ICT Society 383
Abstract. We explore Rob Kling's conceptual scaffolding for Social Informatics: his integration of theory, method and evidence and philosophical underpinnings and moral basis of his commitment to a critical stance towards computers and social life. He extended his focus on organizational practices and a lifelong meditation on democracy, value conflicts and social choices to the discourses of computerization and social transformation and to the education of the information professional. He came to his project through careful observation of organizational life and a critical reading of research conducted by other scholars and the rhetoric about ICTs, As Kling conceptualized it, the project of Social Informatics was to intervene in the social construction of the meaning, value, use and even design of technologies as shaped by discourse and education.
Abstract. The Socio-Technical Interaction Network (STIN) strategy for social informatics research was published late in Rob Kling's life, and as a result, he did not have time to pursue its continued development. This paper aims to summarize existing work on STINs, identify key themes, strengths, weaknesses and limitations, and to suggest trajectories for the future of STIN research. The STfN strategy for research on socio-technical systems offers the potential for useful insights into the highly intertwined nature of social factors and technological systems, however a number of areas of the strategy remain underdeveloped and offer the potential for future refinement and modification.
Abstract. Through this paper we make two contributions to social informatics: the interdisciplinary study of the design, development, uses and consequences of information and communication technologies that takes into account their interaction with institutional and cultural contexts. Our first contribution is to make a connection from social informatics to general principles of sociotechnical theories. We do this to both connect social informatics scholarship more directly to the large and growing literature(s) that engage socio-technical theorizing and to advance these principles more directly through social informatics. Our second contribution to social informatics is to engage two contemporary theoretical approaches that draw on social informatics principles: socio-technical interaction networks and principles of social actors and apply them to current practice. We do so to demonstrate that these analytic approaches are the needed tools to help scholars and reflective professionals in practice engage social informatics analyses. By doing this we highlight the potential of social informatics while honouring Rob Kling's legacy in helping to establish this transdiscipline.
Abstract. Courses on Social Informatics at the Budapest University of Technology and Economics have been offered since 1992. After 25 semesters, with more than 1200 students (mainly electrical engineering majors) who have taken the courses, our views on the subject, together with a comprehensive report on teaching experiences are now presented in a two volume handbook. We would like to share our notions on Social Informatics as a subject in its own right through an in-depth analysis of our curriculum philosophy and teaching methods.
Abstract. The concept of Social Informatics emerged along with the growing role of information and communication technologies ('ICT') in the 1970s and was articulated in Rob Kling's work in the 1980s and 1990s. In recent years, the notion of Social Informatics has been rapidly expanding in various contexts. Following an overview of related activities on the University of Ljubljana website (http://social-informatics.org) we can identify three broad contexts of Social informatics. The first area is the interaction of ICT with humans at the personal, organizational and society levels. The second direction involves ICT applications in the public/social sphere, encompassing modelling, simulations and information systems through to various eapplications and information architecture. The third segment relates to ICT as a tool in social science research ranging from ICT-supported statistical analysis, computer-assisted data collection to virtual collaboration and cyberinfrastructure. Within this scope we encounter numerous research activities (i.e. journals, events, associations, research institutes, projects...) related to Social Informatics, including a growing number of university study programmes. However, the dynamics, dispersion, fragmentation and lack of common framework, as well as the increasing number of competitive concepts (e.g. e-social science) could prevent Social Informatics effectively establishing itself as a discipline with all the necessary formal attributes and well-defined boarders.
Abstract: When Internet in the middle of the 1990s made its breakthrough a revolution occurred compared to the industrial revolution. Suddenly the cost for information transport was reduced to almost zero and genuinely new opportunities arose. Work, that can be performed by unskilled workers, are outsourced and the focus is on the business process. This requires a genuine new way of doing business; we see a need for trust, loyalty, and sharing of values. Education of users at the workplace will be a major concern and a common language and a mutual and deep understanding of the concepts and social contexts used is a prerequisite. A 3D apple model for context is described. For defining the social context, a user centred approach must be used. We need genuinely new informatics paradigms adapted to the network economy. This requires a massive re-education of all workers, both white and blue collar. To sum it all up: Reliable and sustainable production, availability of reliable information, trust, and flexibility are the means for us to survive in this new economy.
Abstract. 'E-medicine', i.e. the possibilities for patients to have access to medical information and medical consultation at Internet raises new ethical issues. In this paper e-medicine is discussed in terms of how it will affect the patient-doctor-relation, patient autonomy and the moral and professional responsibility of doctors.
Abstract. The purpose of this paper is to argue for the need for systematic empirical information systems research within the field of digital child pornography. This research area is today primarily driven by non-technical disciplines. This paper argues that without the IS perspective an adequate understanding of the role of ICT, its use and effects for child pornography cannot be obtained. The IS perspective is an important complement to the existing body of research attempting to understand the area of digital child pornography. The paper is based on the argument that the research area of digital child pornography is well suited to the application of critical information systems research.
Abstract. This empirical paper shows how free/libre open source software (FLOSS) contributes to mutual and collaborative learning in an educational environment. However, unlike proprietary software, FLOSS allows extensive customisation of software and supports the needs of local users better. In this paper, we observes how implementing FLOSS in an Italian high school challenges the conventional relationship between end users themselves (e.g. teachers and students) and that between users and developers. The findings will shed some light on the social aspects of FLOSS-based computerization — including the roles of FLOSS in social and organizational change in educational environments and the ways that the social organization of FLOSS are influenced by social forces and social practices.
Abstract. This paper aims to contribute to the debate about relationships between technology and society, or technology in society, starting from the categories of ubiquity and pervasivity. The analysis will try to understand ubiquitous/pervasive computing as a new frontier in contemporary movements of computerization [cf lacono and Kling, 2001], framing it in the interrelationships between different interests expressed in public discourse. Convergence in hi-tech industry and technological artefacts emerging from organizational and socio-cultural arrangements put forward the categories of ubiquity and pervasivity as key-words in design, functionality and perception of technological artefacts. The concept of ubiquity focuses on both the mobility and the pervasivity/embeddedness of technological artefacts that support the emergence of mobile Internetworking in a mobile society. Mobility and a set of affiliated concepts (e.g. miniaturization, portability, integration) constitute the main discursive frame in mobile and ubiquitous computing. Different layers of public discourse emerge as pertinent to this technology: a technology-driven and a social software perspective, both featured in the media discourse. All of them frame, eventually, inclusionary and exclusionary patterns of sociotechnical action, emerging from different politics of signification.
Abstract. The wide diffusion of information and communication technologies (ICT) over the last few decades has modified the way in which individuals and institutions interact and conduct social and business activities. We analyze the importance of a firm's information transparency, defined as the degree of completeness of information, regarding their own business activities, provided by each company to the market, and the related role of ICT. First, we present a brief historical perspective of information transparency of business organizations. Then, we analyze the actual role and possibilities offered by ICT to contemporary firms and to society. We develop a model that integrates the ethical and economical/financial forces affecting information transparency applying it to the case study of a famous multinational company. Finally, useful insights for scholars and practitioners are presented.
Developments within bioinformatics and software for data exchange in the life sciences raise important new questions for social informatics. In this paper, I analyse the role of property rights in information in directing these technological developments in the direction of certain social values. In particular, I focus on initiatives for networking distributed databases, operating both on a global scale (such as the Global Biodiversity Information Facility) and in more single-issue networks (such as the European Human Frozen Tumour Tissue Bank). Three institutional models for developing such distributed networks for sharing information are presented and briefly discussed.
he aim of this paper was to discuss a framework for the analysis of the governance of the microbiological information commons, relying on contemporary insights in new institutional economics. I have argued for the importance of considering microbiological databases both as a public good and as a common pool resource, the first referring to them as a common stock of ideas (hence non-subtractable in nature), and the second to the conditions of the organisation of the information flow through the exchange of artefacts and the use of common facilities (resources which are depletable). Innovative proposals have been made to deal with the complex incentive problems related to the organisation of data sharing, especially in a context where the existing networks have to face increasing pressure from a globalised intellectual property regime. I considered more closely the successful endeavours of the Global Biodiversity Information Facility and the proposals for a two-tiered regime for governing the conditions of follow-on use of the data and related biological resources. These institutional models offer interesting possibilities for social informatics. As I have argued, retaining some property right in the information, particularly a decision right on the way the information is managed in a certain community, is an important way of embedding the new technologies in the social context. Of course, the question of how these values are put into practice in the different institutional models still has to be evaluated. For instance: do such schemes really prevent enclosure of information in the public domain? do they initiate an effective learning process leading to common beliefs on the social values at stake? The experience of GBIF in this respect is limited. It only connects existing public databases in a distributed network of'national nodes', without any obligation to decide on a common data policy. The learning that has occurred was mainly technical: through preparatory discussions in OECD, a common data exchange format was agreed upon that benefits the biodiversity conservation community at large. This is an important step forward, but the long-term sustainability of this model, in the absence of a more substantial common policy, can still be questioned. The more centralised propositions by Reichman and the OECD neuro-informatics group go a step further. Indeed, the creation of more integrated institutions allows a set of common values to be implemented. The centralised organisation proposed by the OECD neuroinformatics group has a certain advantage, in that the governing body has to agree on the common management principles. However, more empirical research is needed to evaluate how these different schemes can strike a balance between the requirements of efficient coordination and the effective implementation of their social values.
Abstract. During the two last decades, speeded up by the development of the Internet, several types of commons have been opened up for intellectual resources. In this article their variety is being explored as to the kind of resources and the type of regulation involved. The open source software movement initiated the phenomenon, by creating a copyrightbased commons of source code that can be labelled 'dynamic': allowing both use and modification of resources. Additionally, such a commons may be either protected from appropriation (by 'copyleft' licensing), or unprotected. Around the year 2000, this approach was generalized by the Creative Commons initiative. In the process they added a 'static' commons, in which only use of resources is allowed. This mould was applied to the sciences and the humanities in particular, and various Open Access initiatives unfolded. A final aspect of copyright-based commons is the distinction between active and passive commons: while the latter is only a site for obtaining resources, the former is also a site for production of new resources by communities of volunteers ('peer production'). Finally, several patent commons are discussed, which mainly aim at preventing patents blocking the further development of science. Throughout, attention is drawn to interrelationships between the various commons.
Abstract: This article deals with online censorship and its relation to user autonomy. By presenting censorship practices and activities of groups helping to circumvent censorship this article shows that the regulation of online material is an ongoing process between the regulator and the regulated. The result of this process is the way in which a society defines itself in terms of a free and vibrant democratic public space.
Conclusion ICT carries with it many promises for democracy. Despite this, technology is also being implemented to limit the scope of autonomy among ICT users. The present situation is one where many parties are conducting the regulation of online communications and Internet user groups are helping each other communicate and circumvent controls that prevent communication. The result of this negotiation between the regulator and regulated is the development of understanding of information in the digital age. By understanding online information flows as a disruptive technology it is possible to arrive at a more nuanced understanding of that which is regulated. By recognizing that disruptive technology is as uncontrollable as an 'earthquake'  the regulator must understand that suppression is not an adequate solution to the problem. As this work has shown, the negotiation is an ongoing process without end. Once techniques are developed to block information countermeasures will be devised and implemented. This result of this process is fundamental to the way in which we define the modern democracy.
Abstract. The aim of this paper is to discuss issues related to communication and exploitation of Information Society related project results emanating from RTD and deployment projects funded by EU programmes such as 1ST programme, eTen, eContent and eContent plus etc. In particular it will examine how these results may impact other major EU policies e.g. public health, environment, education etc. First, it presents the different EU programmes and initiatives aiming at greater economic growth, sustainable development and social cohesion through ICTs and their pervasive role in economy and society. Then it discusses the role that communication of RTD results may have on transferring knowledge, influencing action and more important creating public appreciation of the benefits obtained. To illustrate this dimension it presents in detail the 'Information Society Policy Link' initiative of Information Society and Media DirectorateGeneral (DG rNFSO) and its first collection of successful project results (policy cases) having positively impacted different EU policy areas and in particular Environmental policies. Finally it draws some conclusions regarding the inclusion of such approaches for effective dissemination of research and deployment results in the EU funded programmes as well as in national initiatives.
Conclusions The European Commission is supporting ICT research since 20 years with considerable resources devoted not only on IT technologies and communications but also to important applications notably in the areas of Public Health and Environment. Project results from the most recent Framework Programmes (FP4 and beyond) have demonstrated that even if selected on their policy relevance but mainly for its scientific merit, numerous ICT EU funded projects have considerable impact on other EU policies such as public health, environment, security, regional policy etc. The first results of the DG Information Society and Media Information Society Policy Link initiative show that practically all policy areas could benefit from such project results in particular in integrating new concepts in coming policy initiatives, monitoring the implementation of existing regulation e.g. pollution levels, biometric controls etc. Communication and awareness raising actions should be reinforced in order to inform policy makers at all levels and influence the decision making process. EU is devoting now a lot of resources on RTD and deployment actions impacting all policies and environment in particular. It is supporting the implementation of the research results through various initiatives such as eEurope, specific deployment actions, Action plans and Communications, Ministerial and high-level conferences and policies related to beneficial take-up ICTs. Information Society and Media DirectorateGeneral in close cooperation with other EC services also contributes to major EU environment related large scale activities such as GMES and INSPIRE. Regarding environment and ICT future research will focus on the integration of wide range sensors (in-situ, airborne, and satellite) to provide full information awareness for risk planning and emergency management. It will also promote the integration of secure, dependable public safety communication systems including adhoc broadband networks for emergency operations and alert networks. Finally, Information Society Policy Link initiative will in the near future intensify efforts to cover the whole spectrum of EU policies with meaningful policy cases - promising ICT project results positively impacting all EU policy areas.
EU: European Union; EC: European Commission;
ICT or ICTs: Information and Communications Technologies
DG INFSO: Information Society and Media Directorate-General
RTD: Research and Technological Development
MI: Medical Informatics
1ST; Information Society Technologies (research programme)
FP: Framework Research
EP: European Parliament
ESA: European Space
INSPIRE (IMfrastructure for SPatial InfoRmation in Europe)
Environment 2010: Our Future, Our Choice
Environment Action Programme (EAP)
Abstract. In the modernization process of public administration, information technologies are used as a tool to transform both its practices and its relations with its users. The new user-centric pattern comes from the market world: Customer Relationship Management becomes Citizen Relationship Management. Are the devices and tools of e-commerce convenient with the goals and practices of e-administration? Analyzing characters such as identification, deliberation, personalization and trust building reveals the limits of such a comparison and the need for a renewal of mediation functions between public and private spheres.
To conclude What questions derived from Customer Relationship Management enable us to understand the change under way as the administration goes online? For as we have seen, the issue here is not just about simplifying procedures, cost-cutting or saving the time of citizens and civil servants. In a broader sense, the objective is to reconfigure the administration so that it places the citizen at the center of its preoccupations, in other words, so that its quick and good response to citizens' requests are the measure of an administration's success. The comparison with ecommerce highlights, in a particularly stark manner, the importance of useful mediation in developing such services. It is not enough for any service to just combine a device, no matter how sophisticated, and an agent, no matter how competent; the interaction between supply and demand assumes a series of tests that enable the supply (or offer) to be modified and the demand to be adjusted. In conclusion, we will note the most significant forms of this mediation. The web user is not an isolated individual, but an actor in society, connected to numerous groups, informed and influenced by diverse viewpoints. Prescribing agents have helped him to forge his judgment - the more competent he is and hence the more capable of identiiying and increasing these agents, the more numerous they become. On certain sites, this notion of prescriber is instrumentalized, as the prescribers' opinions are gathered, solicited and capitalized upon, often on a voluntary basis , in order to help to describe products for the greater good of the site and its customers. Nor is the web user in front of his computer necessarily isolated in consulting the web; his learning has quite often taken place in part in a collective setting, as has his behavior in front of the device . Sites take into account this common way of acting by making group behavior possible and favoring the constitution of groups of uses, but also by making visible the shared nature of certain ways of doing things. What are the alternatives to supply? The transaction can fail and then the question of possible recourse is raised: what enables the 'lost' web user to be reconnected to his supplier, or by the same token, what connects the service to the client? Indicating one's location and opening a space of interaction with the supplier are part of building a relationship of trust and therefore contribute to redefining the interaction between supply and demand. To what degree can e-administration use such forms of mediation, or rather, to what extent can e-administration take place via these forms of mediation? The field research is expected to provide critical feedback on the innovations of e-administration and to analyze its link with democratic practices in the digital age.
Abstract. The aim of this paper is to discuss the notion of sustainabiHty in relationship to the idea of the information society. In the first part the relationship is on ecological aspects of a sustainable information society. In the second and third part of this paper I introduce a broad notion of sustainability that consists of multiple dimensions. The concept of a sustainable information society is developed, it is conceived as a society in which new information- and communication technologies (ICTs) and knowledge are used in order to advance a good-life for all individuals of current and future generations. This idea is conceived in a multidimensional way, identifying ecological, technological, economic, political, and cultural aspects and problems.
Conclusion The modern mode of production that is based on the logic of accumulation has produced unsustainable patterns of development that continue to shape the information society. The emergence of the information society has put forward both new opportunities and risks for sustainable development. A theory of the information society should help analyzing and identifying risks, opportunities, and choices. For doing so a multidimensional concept of sustainability and the sustainable information society as well as concepts for indicators that measure the degree to which a sustainable information society has been achieved are necessary and foundations of such an approach and research-program have been suggested in this paper. A sustainable information society is a society in which knowledge and the usage of new, computer-based, networked information and communication technologies (ICTs) advance a good life for all individuals belonging to current and future generations. This notion is multidimensional and suggests that ICTs and knowledge should help humans and society in achieving biological diversity (ecological sustainability), usability of technologies (technological sustainability), wealth for all, (economic sustainability), participation of all (political sustainability), and wisdom (cultural sustainability). In the cultural realm there are several sub goals of sustainability, wisdom contains wise media, truth, beauty and imagination, literacy and good skills, unity in diversity, health, fitness, love and understanding that should be supported by knowledge and ICTs.
Abstract. The authors discuss eGovemment as a computerization movement, and present a case study of a small project that was part of a modernising government initiative in a UK municipality. The case is analysed by means of an analytic construct, the technological action frame or TAP, that was developed by lacono and Kling in 1998. This socio-technical approach provides distinctive insights at a number of different organizational levels.
Conclusion Our starting point in this paper was the unequal and shifting nature of power in the digital service arena. We have briefly presented the positions of two of the agents involved in an e-government pilot study (senior managers and social care workers in the form of the rapid response team and the council information services directorate). To explain the happenings in the case that we present above, a CM framework using TAF analysis provided insights at different levels of organization^.Firstly, TAF helped us clarify the dynamics of implementation in a way that a less ambitious TF analysis
would not have achieved. If the case is seen as a specific example of a computerization movement (e-government), where a master TAF is at work then some puzzling features can be explained. These include the lack of local requirements analysis and the arbitrary provision of flinctionality in the pilot project for 'mobile working'. Secondly, by focusing on what is outside the TAF, a researcher or manager can find out where and why resistance happens in the form of tweaking and work-arounds. Such apparent inefficiencies may contribute to effective service, and can be grounds for negotiation and development. Thirdly, a CM/TAF approach embeds the case in a historical trajectory of government computing initiatives over a period of 20 years, that in aggregate, constitute the master frame of modernising government'/'egovernment'. At this macro-level, CMs are an arena for contests about societal values and knowledge, where, for example, cost accounting competes with professional expert judgment as a measure of good service. In the case presented here, the marginalisation of local practitioner knowledge and practice is an instance of a societal phenomenon - an analogous conflict between cost accounting, ICT investment and expert knowledge is currently visible in the UK's health service. In the case presented here, such a macro-level epistemological contest may be a significant issue in any extended roll-out of mobile technologies. Full 'mobilization' of the rapid response team will implicate a larger group of players; the council social services IT department; the social services directorate; the council leaders; the national health service (including: hospital trust managers; hospital trust IT departments; general practitioners); the outsource partner; the government (through policy initiatives); the providers of prostheses and other material aids to the housebound. We may therefore, tentatively, begin to ask whether more penetrating questions should be asked by those commissioning (and those investigating) service projects in digital cities - not 'How can we integrate service provision and save money and time?' but, 'Where and when does service happen? In whose interest? Who benefits, and how? Who loses, and how?' We suggest that a TAF analysis is an appropriate way to answer such questions.
Abstract. Key insiglits revealed by social informatics studies have come from the new light they have shone on the social dynamics underlying broad changes tied to technological innovations. In particular, they have shown how major developments in computing and other information and communication technologies (ICTs), such as the Internet, are often the outcome of complementary or conflicting social movements, and their intersections. This paper focuses on an important supportive and complementary framework that helps to further understanding of these social dynamics: the concept of an 'ecology of games'. The focus of this approach is on examining the unfolding interaction of various actors pursuing a diverse array of goals and objectives in a variety of interrelated arenas where everyday and strategic decisions are taken about whether to use - or not use - various ICTs.
Conclusion: Understanding How the Future Unfolds The notion of an ecology of games outlined in this paper places the computerization movements concept within a larger system of action in order to offer a framework for thinking about the highly complex entwining of social, technical, organizational, governance, and other forces that shape the emergence of changes tied to the increasingly ubiquitous use of the Internet and related ICTs. At the same time, it embeds many ideas from the computerization movement concept and reinforces the value of its central illumination of the ways in which the motivations and actions of people and organizations in particular social contexts shape the ultimate design and impacts of the technology and related policies in real-world settings. The ecology of games also recognizes the significance of many technical inventions and new ideas that may fail to kindle social movements. Its emphasis on the potential for unanticipated, unplanned developments raises doubts about perspectives on technological change, such as the 'single inventor' thesis, that posit a more governed, isolated, and predictable system of action. This helps to explain why accurate prediction is likely to elude those involved in technology and policy studies who seek to attain this goal. It also challenges some traditional tenets of structural and institutional explanations of social and political orders. However, this framework strongly supports the thrust of the kind of institutional perspective developed by March and Olsen [21: 9), who argue that the long-run development of political institutions 'is less a product of intentions, plans, and consistent decisions than incremental adaptation to changing problems with available solutions within gradually evolving structures of meaning' (see also [22-24]). Policymakers and many technologists might like to deal with more predictable outcomes, but the real world is far more 'messy' than indicated in narratives telling stories of the inevitable, unfolding paths towards a future carved out by heroic inventors and their technologic swords. In reality, those swords are two edged, for example with the same Internet delivery mechanisms carrying software viruses, spam, and paedophile contacts as well as the communication, educational, news, and entertainment channels that enhance people's lives. Actual outcomes are also determined by a multitude of people making small and large strategic decisions every day about whether or not to use the Internet or other ICTs. Major upheavals in industry sectors, the opening of significant new patterns of domestic and working life and shake-ups in major policy sectors, such as Internet governance, are often created by using technological developments that few, if any, have predicted well in advance. The examples related to the Internet given in this paper illustrate the value of the ecology of games framework in analysing the ways inventions, new ideas, and myriad choices by consumers and users contribute to such transformations.
Abstract The paper discusses what the research community in the field of information technologies can do to improve quality of life by offering more alternatives both to individuals and to the society. Moreover, attention is given to the present IT tools which can be used to support decision making and choice among possible alternatives in complex settings. The role of ITs in achieving this goal is explained and illustrated by examples in different fields, including environmental decision-making and health care. Enhanced possibilities of choice in collaborative settings supported by new media and computer networks are also shown. Besides the role of ITs that support this enhancement, the importance of non-technological aspects is presented with special emphasis on responsibility and network intelligence.
Conclusion Enhancing human choice by technical means is important, but not sufficient for increased quality of life in the society. A decision will be in long term a good one if the process of decision-making enables cooperation of groups with different interests and is done with the responsibility towards those that can not speak for themselves but will be affected by the results of decisions (like future generations, people underprivileged due to their health or social status, etc.). Advances in science and technology should go hand in hand with human rights, moral issues, tolerance and responsibility. Those that want more 'down-to-earth' reasons should bear in mind that science is mostly paid by the money that comes from taxpayers. If not for other reasons, this is why scientific community should act with a responsibility towards their needs. There is a problem due to the fact that consequences of discoveries can show up later and the history has shown that the same scientific result can be used for good or for bad. This cannot be prevented by science itself, because it will always be pushed also by pure curiosity and a wish to broaden the limits of current knowledge. What can be done by researchers with a sensitivity for social needs is to think about possible consequences of their work and to show possible benefits for the society whenever possible. Also, they should report about their work and results to a wider community, not only to their professional colleagues, explaining them in an understandable way and showing the ways the developed methods and research results can serve the goals of society. Researchers usually don't like this kind of activities, because they are time consuming and at the first glance, they don't add to their professional credit. However, things are changing. European commission requires serious justifications about expected benefits for society already at the point of project proposal submission. Also, besides technical results of a project, dissemination of results is getting increasing importance and recognition. European community as well as other bodies financing research can do a lot also when setting the priorities in their calls for proposals since in the end, the majority of research stream will go where the money will be. To achieve the upper mentioned goals many issues will have to be considered and resolved. Designing affordable solutions represents not only a challenge to technology but it sets even new questions to the way our society operates. Let us mention the problem related to intellectual properties (IP) protection. To protect IP rights is rather expensive. How the designer of a handy affordable solution should proceed when he or she wants to make sure that the product can be produced as cheaply as possible? Is it necessary to worry about the IP rights protection at all? If one decides that he/she can do without, there is a danger that someone else can claim the IP rights and then become a monopolistic provider of a device, which will be delivered to the market for unreasonably high prise. Where to get money for appropriate protection of such products? Fortunately, in the case of software using the Open Source technology can prevent this problem. But there is no reasonable solution for HW products. Surprisingly, there are no funds to ensure IP protection for products created under support of different research grants. So, how to achieve 'People in the first place' and 'for everybody' in the information society? By making information and knowledge widely accessible. By special care for challenged groups: adding them to be as independent as possible, to learn and live in accordance with their best abilities. By all people, especially those having knowledge and power, becoming 'network intelligent', i.e. understanding that sharing means gaining, not losing. Recognizing that everything is connected in a modern world, and that everybody has a responsibility towards other people, especially towards those that cannot speak for themselves. By giving credit to researchers communicating with the public. This helps in developing a sense of interconnection and responsibility. As researchers in the IT field, we have the opportunity to focus our work towards achievements that increase quality of life in the society by offering more choice to everybody. Will we take it? And what about the society? Will it be able to create such an environment where science and technology can quickly offer all its results to the benefit of those who need it? It is not ICT itself who can offer adequate solutions for these problems. The topic calls for serious interdisciplinary dialog involving representatives of technology and humanities.
Abstract. The aim of this article is to address the relation between a usercentred objective and social constructionism and the possibility to refine user-centred fundamentals by enhancing the awareness of the relation between humans and the constructed environment. Through social constructionism we could enter a bit deeper into questions like; (1) reality's subjective character especially concerning technology development, (2) the importance of a power analysis while creating technological artefacts, (3) the importance of analysing our own role in technology's construction and (3) we are made aware of the importance of how technology is communicated to others. The article is in a way an extension of an argument put forward by Jacob Nielsen about usability as empiricism and/or ideology.
The dynamic component described is the most important reason for giving space to this theoretical area because it is possible to explain and focus always on our own status in reality. We are neither totally free nor totally controlled, but if we want to make a change we will have to engage in understanding and questioning what is perceived as objective. So, if the technological development is not satisfactory to us, we could, by putting some effort into it, question the relations and analyse the 'habitualisations' and alter it (even thought we have to be aware of the time-variable, some changes might take such a long time as we might experience them as almost unchangeable). At this point, Berger & Luckmann would parallel the work of Jacques Ellul; he states that technological development is not objective reality (even though the products we already have produced are covered by what Berger & Luckmann would call the everyday reality, ipso facto) as it is untouchable to us. It is the product of our continuous social constructing process and the only way to change the technological development in the way we want it to be changed is to become aware and take an active part in its construction. However, for those who, for different reasons, cannot take an active part in its construction, they need knights in shining armours. These knights have several tasks, but two of the most important one's are (1) to defend the non-users so that they are not only disregarded as 'bad users' and (2) to act as user advocates to strengthen the voice of the users in the construction of their information technological reality. For the first task, Wyatt, Thomas & Terranova (2002) (among others) claim that not only could people reject non-users as irrational, they might actually have rational and logical reasons for choosing to use information technology. For the second task, Oudshoom and Pinch (2003) openly declare that it is 'a complicated endeavour'. However, as Epstein points out, there is a complex configuration of power and knowledge 'involved in configuring user identities'. These tend to be the way (up until now) we speak on behalf of the users. In the beginning of this article, we presented Nielsen's proposal of a belief in certain specialized types of human rights (an ideology of usability). The proposal claims that people should be superior to technology, people should understand technology, and as such, people should be able to control the outcome. In relation to that philosophy, Nielsen touched upon an interesting idea, namely, that while being usability professionals, a more profound understanding about one's fundamentals or basic outlook is important. In addition, this article has tried to show how social constructionism could serve as a source to help examine the relation between humans and the construction of reality; it also showed the need to create a deeper awareness that could be of assistance to one's decisions, choices, and actions as a creator and producer of information systems.
Abstract. Web sites of Slovenian political parties do not fully exploit the Internet's potential for interactive and deliberative communication on political issues with citizens, because they favour a competitive-elitist perception of democracy. As result, political party's web sites are mainly used for political mobilization, agitation in persuasion. Supporting this model of democracy via web pages enables political parties to strengthen their position of power and control in decision-making process, to legitimise a hegemonic position of representative democracy within political system, to impose the perception of citizens as consumers of political information and to provide democratic legitimization for capitalist mode of production, In order to strengthen citizen's e-participation on political issues, a conceptual shift in designing political party's web sites according to participatory and deliberative model of democracy is needed.
Conclusion E-democracy techniques analysis on Slovenian political party's web sites shows, that in terms of reducing democratic deficit, promoting public participadon and deliberative democracy development in Slovenia, there are still a lot of opportunities that remain unchallenged^. Electronic communication flows between parties web sites and Slovenian citizens are designed according to competitive-elitist model of democracy as defined by Van Dijk, (1996: 48), which favors one-way information delivery on political issues, political campaigns and expressing political standings. At the application end, this model clearly favors e-access, e-poll and e-forum techniques that dominate party's web sites. Polifical communication between citizens and Slovenian political parties is based on using the Internet for election and information campaigns, political mobilization and persuasion, promotion, debating and foremost as efficient tool of public relations. Most of the political party's information provided is one-way, top-down, party to voter rather than two-way interactive communication. By employing limited selecfion of e-democracy techniques on their web sites, Slovenian political parties fail to play a leading role in the diffusion of new technologies for participatory ends and providing direction for civic polifical action in order to implement idea of digital democracy. Since their web sites do not support e-consultation and e-petition tools, they also fail to involve Internet users in deliberative and interactive participation on policy and law proposals. Parties do not tend to rally widen participation extensively, nor do established electronic channels necessarily empower ordinary cifizens since such channels rarely play a formal role in decisionmaking and for a large part are controlled by parties elites. They tend to use Internet for involving voters in ways that are largely beneficial to the parties' own promotion. As such citizens are reduced on passive consummation of political information, rather than creating own political standings and applying them in political decisions. At the end, party's web sites do not favor active citizen ideal. As labeled by Becker and Slaton (2000: 140): "They are, in our view, cyberpolitics - as-usual. And since politics-as-usual, in our view, is dis-empowering to say the least, emulafing it on the Web does not change anything for the better. Actually, such web sites are akin to public relations-they aim to shore up, reinforce, and cyber legitimize a system that specializes in creation the »necessary illusions« so vital to the status quo." Regarding those assumptions, further steps should be reconsidered when upgrading web sites in order to enrich public debate on political issues and to allow citizens to directly participate in democratic decision-making. Firstly, it is necessary to adopt conceptual shift in designing web sites. They should be designed according to models of democracy, which favor greater and wider public participation. At the structural level, conceptual shift should result in adopting participatory model of democracy according to Van Dijk's typology and model of associative democracy as suggested by Perczynski (2001). Consequently, e-democracy tools deriving from participatory model, e-consultation and e-poll, should be applied on web sites. Secondly, from procedural level, interactive part of web sites communication (eforums and e-consultations) should be grounded in deliberative democracy as suggested by Fishkin (2000), which provides standards for focused, moderated and creative decision-making on political issues. Adopting such conceptual changes in political party's web sites design would contribute to more transparent, informed, deliberative, democratic and legitimate decisions within representative democracy and helping to reduce participatory democratic deficit. But on the other hand it would also shift the balance of power within parties from higher levels to those at the button of decision-making. Thirdly, for this reason it is necessary to promote successful practices of e-democracy cases in Slovenia, which would consequently lead to much needed change in political culture. Only when recognizing advantages from participatory usage of Internet for democracy development and consequently recognizing their own benefits, political parties will start to redesign their web sites, which would lead to fiirther diminishing of democratic deficit in Slovenia. Current Slovenian political party's web sites present proper foundation for suggested conceptual upgrade. In order to result from upgrade, it is important that legal institutions and policy-making practices adopt e-participation as legitimate and legal part of decision-making procedure. This can not be achieved without changes in political culture and governing style, upon which representative democracy in Slovenia is currently based. As noted by Andrej A. Luksic (2003: 26): "Using current efforts, Slovenia achieved informatization level of information society. But now process of its 'communicatization' awaits, as next level in development of information society. Supported by 'communicatization', the process of democratization of democracy can yet begin."
Abstract. Continuous developments in information and communication technologies (ICT) have resulted in an increasing use of these technologies in the practice of medicine and in the provision of medical care. This paper presents a series of perspectives from different areas of expertise on some of the ways in which ICT has changed the social picture in respect of the practice of medicine. The aim of the paper is to provide a context for further debate, in the form of a Panel Session, where the issue of Human Choice and Computing can be discussed with reference to a set of specific scenarios. The authors of this paper represent a wide variety of disciplines including law, ethics, medicine, philosophy and computer science, thus bringing a broad perspective to begin the discussions. The aim of the session is to provoke further discussion, encouraging input from other disciplines respresented by the participants, with a view to identifying the level of human choice in a social arena, which has at its heart a vulnerable community. In this environment, and in this era, the 'social' in social informatics has never been more important.
Conclusion The position statements above have focused on various perspectives on ICT in medicine and health care. They are a critical reflection on aspects of the politics of the information society, because they discuss important issues regarding the effect of information technology use on the individual and society as a whole. They also focus on the common theme of 'human choice' whether viewed from an ethical, legal or social dimension. It is hoped that the contributions will provide a springboard for interesting discussions which will bear fruitful solutions to address some of the concerns raised.
Abstract. The most common measures so far to reduce the digital divide has been the development of teiecentres (Internet public access points) that provide Internet access and specific training. However, the extremely poor very rarely enter the teiecentres. In this paper, we propose a more specific approach suited to this population. We first describe the social-digital exclusion process facing the extremely poor, its inputs, its outputs, and our approach to help the poor to start to integrate the information society. We then present stories collected during our field actions in our Internet in the street project. We conclude by presenting what we have learnt so far.
Conclusion Despite the overall growth of per capita incomes, the numbers of families facing chronic poverty in the wealthiest countries is increasing. To this population the development of the information society is an additional source of exclusion, as long as they too lack access and the skills to participate effectively. The fight against this new source of exclusion requires a lengthy, ongoing effort. In our project, we have been working for a short period of time (sixteen months in a very slow moving process) with a limited number of persons. Getting in contact with the poorest person, acquiring their trust, finding common ground of interest is a lengthy and delicate progress. Moreover, we faced a permanent obstacle: Individuals and families who are trying to deal with an accumulation of poverty-related problems can think of little else but meeting their basic needs . We have to show concrete, real, and personal examples of what the Internet can bring to low-income communities. However, by doing so we are able to point to difficulties encountered by other excluded populations, including illiterate populations, the unemployed, senior citizens, and people with disabilities. In the following months, we plan to complement our individual approach (one person, one family, a few persons in a camp) with a collective training closer to the one provided at telecentres. The group attending the training will be a combination of ATD Fourth World members and extremely poor persons keeping on the approach of collaborative learning. Our findings will complement the ones presented in this paper.
Abstract: The topic of this essay is if and how the use of information and communications technologies, (ICT), as well as the use of free open source software, can change the prerequisites of third world countries. Many people consider that the Internet is not only access to unlimited information, but also has a potential to make a difference in the development of human rights and democracy. Information and communications technologies, free software, and open source have a big role to play in this context. The importance of access is an issue: one tends to focus mainly on the physical access, which is only a small part in this connection. There are other types of limitations to access: the technology should be appropriate, be affordable, and a political will to provide all citizens with equal possibilities should support the introduction of the technologies. Who has access to these new technologies? Who does not have such access? Finally, we discuss a field study of an open source project in Namibia and their conclusions.
Conclusions By way of introduction, one may ask some questions such as: Can the introduction of free and open source software and the use oflCT in any way change the prerequisites of the developing countries? In what ways can free software, open source, and ICT change the development of a country? Is it the software that is the main need in focus for the developing world, or is it something else? Are the opinions about free and open software and ICT the same in the industrialized and the developing world? Depending on which country in the developing world you reference, they have different needs depending on the given basic conditions. A lesson learned is that discussions regarding the possibilities of free software and open source are a bit dashed when one realizes that at many places there is a need for ICT on a much lower level—a need for first filling the basic prerequisites. Of what use is free software if people cannot afford Internet access, or even worse, if there is no Internet access available or no computer or electrical power exists. If one assumes the fulfillment of the basic conditions for ICT, one can notice several examples where free and open software can contribute to development. A school can have access to word processing editors free of cost instead of buying equivalent software for expensive licensing money (for example, Open-Office in contrast to Microsoft Office), you can adjust applications so they fit local customs and practices instead of something that is adjusted for an American or at least for a Western market. The most basic condition is the use of a free operating system instead of one that costs money, and by so, renders possible the use of computers Another important aspect on advantages of free software is that they usually do not demand the newest or best hardware. Companies release new versions of software's continually that demands better and better hardware. Developing countries cannot count on a constant flow of used hardware to them, or for that matter, buy it themselves. System developers in Western countries do not as much have to take computer memory or CPU load into consideration when programming applications as developers using hardware from the eighties or nineties. The West regards hardware relatively inexpensive, a fact that is not applicable in the rest of the world. Developing countries need stable applications that work without constant upgrade, neither of the hardware nor the software. It is difficult to say in general that the opinions regarding free and open software and ICT differentiates between the developing and industrial countries. If you compare individual developers the attitude positive for the most part, but it does not mean that you develop the same things. Programmers in the West do not have to develop applications as a support for education. These types of applications are already in place. Then of course, you could always choose to do so if desired. For many programmers and users in developing countries, the situation is very different, especially when no possibility exists to buy applications (as for instance Microsoft Office due to the licensing fees). You must use FOSS software if you do not want to generate illegal copies. Still, the good will of individual programmers or project team members is not enough. For FOSS to succeed in the developing world, one must have support at government level, as has happened in for instance Brazil, Peru, and Malaysia. FOSS demands existing ICT infrastructure, an infrastructure in which individual governments must invest. Only then can one fully succeed.
Abstract. With the development of informational capitalism and the network society, globalization and informatization play an increasingly crucial role for understanding technology and society. Informatization describes a qualitative leap in technology development which opens up new dimensions of productivity by information modelling on the one hand, but which demands new forms of knowledge of information workers on the other hand. Work is becoming more flexible, but also more precarious and more polarized socially. These tendencies create a contradictory situation for the subject: formalization and new scopes of autonomy exist side by side. This constellation allows for new approaches to the social shaping of technologies. But they presuppose a fundamental change in attitude by both, system developers and social scientists.
Abstract: Designing enterprise architectures for accountability is to reason about options. Instead of taking enterprise architectures as products, the paper seeics to comprehend how they are produced. Considering enterprise architecture as an entangled category of sociological, political and democratic challenges provide an opportunity to determine the political topos of enterprise architectures.
Conclusion Finally: what would a design for the accountability of enterprise systems look like? We outline some features. First, enterprise models should be represented as different from independent objects, perhaps as assemblies. The visual metaphor must be replaced by an industrial metaphor taking account of each intermediary in the circulatory system of technological facts. Moreover, the work of modellers, and the role played by the referents of the organizations that give them the data, together with their bodies and their voices, must be better represented, all the way down to the model's production line. Finally, new strategies and new media for the distribution of responsibilities in engineering must be identified and developed. These various aspects warrant further investigation.
Abstract. Information system (IS) is a complicated structure of social and technical systems. They are part of every organization in western and developing countries. Uncertainty has always been a part of software and information system development, and working globally increases the uncertainty. To know some basic factors of the IS context, the interconnectedness of human and technological informatics in everyday work could be a way to decrease this uncertainty. In this paper, we present the theoretical basis of three context models to construct a framework to be used as one method when evaluating different IS contexts in IS use and development.
Conclusion The object of this study was to construct a theoretical basis to a frameworit for IS contexts study. Now we have three basic models (scopes of contexts, categories of contextual factors, and levels of contexts), which we can use as a frame to study different IS context material. We have collected primary data such as interviews in South Africa and Mozambique during November 2005. Further interviews will take place in Finland, as well as in rural areas regarding health information systems and in urban areas regarding non-health information systems. Cooperation with partners will also bring some secondary data to study. The research will get clearer points as to where to approach when this material is studied within the frame. The categories on the contexts will get some kind of priority, and the structure of the categories may change. The iteration is going on. In the first test, the frame showed some positive aspects as well as some imperfections. In any case, it appears to be quite useful, at least worth further development. The frame of models of contexts is free to use for anyone interested, and as we need as many cases studied as possible, we would be very interested in the results that using this frame may produce.
Abstract: This paper presents ongoing social changes related to the use of ICT. They are analyzed under the headings: workforce, organizational design and structure, psychosocial communication, and work content. A theoretical model entitled 'The Convergence theory on ICT and Psychosocial Life Environment' is described, which reflects main ongoing processes in the Network society encompassing various spheres of life, environments, and human roles. A special section analyzes the ongoing changes in the home and home environment. Social Informatics is discussed related to the model and special attention is devoted to the individual level and humans. Concluding remarks deal with visions and actions. Figures with circles and converging circles are used to illustrate and summarize.
Concluding Remarks - From Theory to Actions In 1986, I visited Rob Kling at UC Irvine and lectured on 'Psychosocial Work Environment and Computers', which was the title of my book that appeared the same year (Bradley 1986). We very much shared the same perspective in our research but we used different terms depending on our backgrounds. At that time, I looked at myself as a behavioural scientist, educated as a psychologist and working at a department of sociology, doing cross-disciplinary research together with computer and system scientists, economists, and sociologists. One way to summarize the discussion on the ICT, society and the individual are to addK^s psychosocial processes. These could be formulated as policy statements and with positive formulations of goals to be reached. ICT should contribute to goals such as:
Internationally, the first official statements of goals for the ICT society were formulated at the World IT Forum (WITFOR 2003). The so called Vilnius Declaration brought forward goals which had a great implication for the involvement of the developing countries e. g. bridging the digital divide between rich and poor in the world; urban and rural societies; men and women; different generations. Another main concern was reducing poverty using education and information and communications technology (ICT). Many concepts in the list above are overlapping and possible to analyze from various angles. By now we need to move to action-oriented and value-oriented research to support and influence actions strategies. TC 9 World Conference is highlighting a field of research, practice, and education with accelerated speed of change and complexity as well as urgency. There is a need for a much stronger support internationally for cross-disciplinary, cross-cultural, and action-oriented research on the topic TCT for Deepening of Humane and Societal Qualities'. Social informatics has to be a mandatory part in education and training in ICT-related disciplines. Official bodies on the international and national level such as WSIS (World Summit on the Information Society) and national ICT programs are actors as we move to an ICT society on a global scale. ICT applications as Internet, web, and blogs should be used for dialogue between cultures, increase mutual understanding, and enrich us all. How can human rights be more deeply understood, exemplified, and applied in the ICT society? In 2006, the United Nations is reviewing human rights; can IFIP and Social Informatics contribute?
Social informatics can be defined in various ways, but visions are shared about wellbeing, democracy, and quality of life for all as well as social, economical and ecological sustainability as illustrated in the convergence circles of Figure 4. We can all be 'actors' in this process, researchers, IT professionals, NGOs, and the individual.
Abstract. Rob Kling strongly advocated the term Social Informatics. He demonstrated that equipment, equipment vendors, technical specialists, upperlevel managers, ICT policies, internal funding, and external grant funding with the people who will use information systems in the course of other work are not simply a static list but are interrelated within a matrix of social and technical dependencies. In Information Systems there has recently been heated debate about the core content of the discipline. In this paper we study whether Social Informatics and Information Systems are similar or not. According to the broad view on Information Systems, they appear quite similar. The few differences we identified are in research approaches, when most Social Informatics researchers use intensive case studies while most Information Systems researchers surveys. Such minor differences do not support the view that these two sciences should have different names. The researchers in both sciences seem to believe that people's behavior can be predicted, but we demonstrate that this is not true. Hence we propose that theories with people as a component must be adjusted accordingly in both sciences.
Abstract. A new approach to informatics and Social Informatics is introduced called Work Informatics. It is compared with Social Informatics, and it turns out that there is a high resemblance between their scopes and objectives. Work Informatics is more operational and therefore, we can use it more easily for practical purposes. Social, technical, and socio-technical aspects of both are analysed. The focus, unit of analysis and contents of Work Informatics are briefly outlined.
Abstract. This paper inquires into the possibility of the development of ICT at the Bottom of the Pyramid. Its focus is on philosophically founded methods and languages applicable on a universal and exemplary basis. The methods are taken to be based on abduction and sweeping-in-processes and the languages are taken to be based on categorical imperatives of Kant and the discourse ethics of Habermas/Apel. These 'taken to he's' are contrasted with Jacques Derrida's 'Deconstruction'. Paul Feyerabend's 'Against Method' as well as complexity theory. The explicated monological/dialogical and formal / procedural methods and languages together with its counterparts are used to start a sweeping-in-process on 'Social Informatics'.
Abstract. This paper discusses strategies and concepts of information and communication-support for knowledge-intensive work processes. The necessity of social informatics or organizational informatics according to Rob Kling results from the complementarity of formal (syntactic), product oriented and informal (semantic), process oriented, technical, and social view in informatics. The understanding of man/computer communication as a problem of linking syntactic and semantic information processing, led to the idea of information centers. The importance of social (organizational) informatics is illustrated in connection with the development of modern information and communication technology; new forms of communication to support international collective research; computer supported knowledge work, as a problem of linking syntactic and semantic information processing. The automated information processing, software use, must be organized, before and during knowledge-intensive work processes take place.
Abstract. This paper presents a model to assist in the ability to judge access by private persons to the Internet in general, and to Public Information Systems (PIS) particularly. It has its starting point in the Swedish Government's endeavour to turn Sweden into the first 'information society for air. When the available statistics concerning the access to a PC and the Internet in Swedish homes are studied it is easy to think that this vision may soon be realised. Of course, access to the technical equipment is a fundamental condition in order to be able to use the Public Information Systems, but unfortunately, is not the only one. Several studies have shown that it is not possible to equate possession and use. A number of access models or frameworks designed to judge whether or not a person has access to the ICTs do exist. However, it is my opinion that there is a deficiency in these models; they do not start out from the individual user's prerequisites, but rather judge the external conditions available for possible access. Assisted by four empirical studies, interviews and questionnaires, a number of access barriers experienced by the users have been identified. The studies show that in addition to the technological hindrances, a series of more elusive ones also exist originating from prevailing norms and values in the environment the user lives in. The barriers are categorised into five groups: to have, to be able, to will, to may and to dare. Together these notions form the User Centred Access Model, UCAM, which is suggested for use in charting and communicating the necessary considerations that must be taken into account in the development of Public Information Systems aimed for e-govemmental issues.
Abstract. This paper aims to look at the computer and Internet related beliefs among Estonian computer users and non-users. It uses data from two nationally representative surveys to analyze seven Internet and computer related beliefs. The paper also discusses how understanding the opinions of computer users and non-users should influence the policies of the information society. As a conclusion, policy suggestions on visibility of the technologies, digital literacy, and data monitoring needs are made.
Conclusion Researching the Internet and computer related beliefs and opinions, gives an important insight into human choice and ICTs. It shows some underlying principles that people use in their decision making whether to adopt new technologies or not. The more complex the technology under investigation, the more important the issue of knowledge about the innovation becomes. In order to understand the human choice in the question of information technology adoptions, understanding attitudes towards the common beliefs related to that technology is a first step. The complexity of the information environment exposed to modern people is too large to address in only one paper. This study is only part of a larger project that investigates the different aspects of the institutional and personal information environment. There are several policy lessons that we can learn from the study, mostly showing the key aspects of the concern by the public, but also helping to understand the factors underlying the decisions people make in relation to the information technologies. Today, data about the beliefs in the different countries is relatively difficult to access and probably not available at all in many cases. However, knowing the stronger currents in public opinion related to information and communication technologies would make the information society more accessible and understandable for all. Having material for international comparison would give better understanding of the different factors in shaping the social and cultural context of the particular technologies adoption. Social informatics is a good example of adaptive theory that helps us to understand that empirical research, theoretical generalizations, and policy lessons are all strongly interconnected; we cannot and should not consider them in isolation.
Abstract. Designing information technology involves tlie responsibility to be aware of the possible consequences that arise from its use. This can hardly be achieved from a single discipline's viewpoint. The paper describes an approach that is currently being developed to support a multidisciplinary perspective on the reciprocity between society and computers. It is a work in progress that is being developed by a network of scholars located mainly at the University of Hamburg, Department of Informatics.
Conclusions In this paper, we introduced the Mikropolis approach as a framework for understanding and shaping socio-technical change in a multidisciplinary setting. We addressed different applications and perspectives of the Mikropolis approach: theoretical, didactical, empirical and consulting. Furthermore, by means of two case studies we presented one possibility to use the Mikropolis approach, for analysing specific settings in which socio-technical problems and questions arise. The Mikropolis approach is work in progress. It needs to be refined and strengthened theoretically, and we need more empirical evaluations to test its usefulness. In order to do so, we plan to take a closer look at the German health care system, where socio-technical innovation is a fundamental issue to civil society, reflecting the need for the advancement of high-tech products and procedures, thereby taking into account the requirements of highly complex organizations and infrastructures as well as institutional entwinements between a multiplicity of different public and private actors. Moreover, ethical and moral issues affect trends and decisions. For many of the activities going on in this sector, IT has become a crucial factor and more often than not a precondition for future development. Analysing those activities, from a Mikropolis perspective, is our prospect for future work. We are going to expand the Mikropolis initiative to include other researchers and practitioners interested in reflective socio-technical development and design and will gladly get into contact with anyone interested in the field.
The report, A Fair Globalization: Creating opportunities for all, by the World Commission on the Social Dimension of Globalization (ILO), seek a process of globalization with a strong social dimension based on universally shared values, respect for human rights and individual dignity. A world that is fair, inclusive, democratically governed and gives opportunities and tangible benefits for all countries and people in the world. To this end the report calls for:
• A focus on people. The cornerstone of a fairer globalization lies in meeting the demands of all people for: respect for their rights, cultural identity and autonomy; decent work: and the empowerment of the local communities they live in. Gender equality is essential.
• A democratic and effective State. The State must have the capability to manage integration into the global economy, and provide social and economic opportunity and security.
• Sustainable development. The quest for a fair globalization must be undertaken by the interdependent and environmental protection at the local, national, regional and global levels.
• Productive and equitable markets. This requires sound institutions to promote opportunity and enterprise in well-functioning market economy.
• Fair rules. The rules of the global economy must offer equitable opportunity and access for all countries and recognise the diversity in national capacities and developmental needs.
• Globalization with solidarity. There is a shared responsibility to assist countries and people excluded from or disadvantaged by globalization. Globalization must help to overcome inequality both within and between countries and contribute to the elimination of poverty.
• Greater accountability to people. Public and private actors at all levels with power to influence the outcomes of globalization must be democratically accountable for the policies they pursue and the actions they take. They should deliver on their commitments and use their power with respect for others.
• Deeper partnerships. A number of actors are engaged in the realisation of global social and economic aims - international organisations, governments and parliaments, business, labour, civil society and many others. Dialogue and partnership among them is an essential democratic instrument to create a better world.
• An effective United Nations. A stronger and more efficient multilateral system is the key instrument to create a democratic, legitimate and coherent framework for globalization (according to the report).'
Globalization is a complex phenomenon that has had a long reaching effect. And the term 'globalization' has acquired many emotive connotations and become a frequently contested issue in current political discourses. At one extreme, globalization is seen as an irresistible and good force delivering economic prosperity to people around the world, and at the other, it is blamed as a source of all contemporary ills. Although, it is widely accepted that the key characteristics of globalization have been the liberalisation of international trade, the expansion of Foreign Direct Investments (FDI), and the emergence of massive cross-border financial flows. This has resulted in increasing competition on the global markets. It is also widely acknowledged that this has come about through combined effect of two underpinning factors namely; policy decisions to reduce national barriers to international economic transactions and the impact of new technology, especially in information and communication technology. These developments created the enabling conditions for the beginning of globalization.^ Globalization has set in motion a process of far-reaching change that is affecting everyone. New technology, supported by more open policies, has created a world more interconnected than ever before. This distance not only growing interdependence in economic relations regarding; trade, investments, finance and the organisation of production globally, but also social and political interactions among organisations and individuals around the world. The effects of the new technology have also given a distinctive character to the current process of globalization, compared to similar episodes in the past. The natural barriers of time and space have been vastly reduced. The cost of moving information, people and goods and capital across the world has fallen dramatically, while global communication is cheap and instantaneous, and continuing ever more so. This has vastly expanded the feasibility of economic transactions across the globe, and markets can now be global in scope and encompass an expanding range of goods and services. Another distinctive subject of the current process of globalization relates to what is absent, and unlike earlier times of globalization that were characterised by massive cross-border movements of people, the current process largely excludes this. Hopefully we all seek a globalization with social dimension, which sustains human values and enhances the well being of people, in terms of their freedom, prosperity and security. Globalization is seen through the eyes of women and men in terms of the opportunity it provides for decent work, for meeting their essential needs for food, water, health, education and shelter, and for a liveable environment. Without such a social dimension, many will continue to view globalization as a new version of earlier forms of domination and exploitation. The fundamentals of this social dimension include:
• A process of globalization based on universally shared values, which require all actors, including States, international organisations, business, labour, civil society and the media, to assume their individual responsibilities. It demands respect for obligations and duties under international law. It also requires economic development to be based on respect on human rights.
• An international commitment to ensure the basic material and other requirements of human dignity for all, enshrined in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. The eradication of poverty and the attainment of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) should be seen as the first steps towards a socioeconomic 'floor' for the global economy.^
• A sustainable path of development, which provides opportunities for all, expands sustainable livelihoods and employment, promotes gender equality, and reduces disparities between countries and people. It calls for greater coherence between economic, social and environmental policies.
• A more democratic governance of globalization, which permits for greater voice and participation, and ensures accountability, while fully respecting the authority of institutions of representative democracy and the rule of law.**
The resources exist to overcome the most urgent problems of poverty, disease and education. Mahatma Gandhi put it very simply:
"There is enough in the world for everybody's need, but there cannot be enough for everybody's greed".'
This report set out the broad goals and principles that can guide policy to handle more effectively with the social dimension of globalization, fully recognising that their implementation shall respond to the needs and specific conditions of each country. From this perspective it is clear that national governance have to improved in all countries, however more radically in some than in others, and there is wide international agreements on the fundamentals, which we all must strive for:
• Good political governance based on a democratic political system, respect for human rights, and the rule of law and social equity.
• An effective State that ensures high and stable economic growth, provides public goods and social protection, raises the capabilities of people through universal access to education and other social services, and promotes gender equity.
• A vibrant civil society empowered by freedom of association and expression, that reflects and voices the full diversity of views and interests. Organisations representing public interests, the poor and other disadvantaged groups are also fiandamental for ensuring participatory and socially just governance.
• Strong representative organisations of workers and employers are essential for fruitful social dialogue.
The proposals call for a wider and more democratic participation of people and countries in the creations of policies that affect them. They also require those with the capacity and power to decide: governments, parliaments, business, labour, civil society and international organisations, and to assume their common responsibility to promote a free, fair and productive global community.
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