Browsing by Author "Hoeppe, Götz"
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- Journal ArticleEncoding Collective Knowledge, Instructing Data Reusers: The Collaborative Fixation of a Digital Scientific Data Set(Computer Supported Cooperative Work (CSCW): Vol. 30, No. 4, 2021) Hoeppe, GötzThis article provides a novel perspective on the use and reuse of scientific data by providing a chronological ethnographic account and analysis of how a team of researchers prepared an astronomical catalogue (a table of measured properties of galaxies) for public release. Whereas much existing work on data reuse has focused on information about data (such as metadata), whose form or lack has been described as a hurdle for reusing data successfully, I describe how data makers tried to instruct users through the processed data themselves. The fixation of this catalogue was a negotiation, resulting in what was acceptable to team members and coherent with the diverse data uses pertinent to their completed work. It was through preparing their catalogue as an ‘instructing data object’ that this team seeked to encode its members’ knowledge of how the data were processed and to make it consequential for users by devising methodical ways to structure anticipated uses. These methods included introducing redundancies that would help users to self-correct mistaken uses, selectively deleting data, and deflecting accountability through making notational choices. They dwell on an understanding of knowledge not as exclusively propositional (such as the belief in propositions), but as embedded in witnessable activities and the products of these activities. I discuss the implications of this account for philosophical notions of collective knowledge and for theorizing coordinative artifacts in CSCW. Eventually, I identify a tension between ‘using algorithms’ and ‘doing science’ in preparing data sets and show how it was resolved in this case.
- Journal ArticleMediating Environments and Objects as Knowledge Infrastructure(Computer Supported Cooperative Work (CSCW): Vol. 28, 43570) Hoeppe, GötzThe knowledge infrastructures of the sciences have been considered as human-made networks or ecologies of people, artifacts, and institutions that enable the production, calibration, storage, dissemination and re-use of data. Complementing these studies, this paper examines how scientists use the digitally mediated, shared availability of “natural” environments and objects for infrastructural purposes. Drawing on ethnography and informed by ethnomethodology, I focus on the uses of the sky in astronomical observation. Astronomical research is oriented to observing, and re-observing, sources on the sky, making it its topic. Yet, the sky is also an infrastructural resource, as it provides stable saliences that can be used alongside existing records for ordering work, diagnosing trouble with artifacts in data, and repairing data across diverse sites of practice. I consider a case in which such uses of the sky were new to researchers working in a novel domain, and one in which such uses were already established, but new to a student being inducted to its work. In both cases properties of the sky became salient through being mediated digitally. As existing records and new observations were made available to a single computational order, these data became accessible to what Melvin Pollner called mundane reason, wherein ceteris paribus clauses are used reflexively to maintain a world in common. Although the sky may appear to be an extreme case, I argue that other mediated environments and objects, and the reflexive practices through which these are engaged, have similar infrastructural uses in other disciplines.