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Human centered systems in the perspective of organizational and social informatics / Kling & Star (1998)

Citation - Kling, R., & Star, S. L. (1998). Human Centered Systems in the Perspective of Organizational and Social Informatics. Computers & society, 28(1), 22.

Keyword -

  • 1997, The Committee on Computing, Information, and Communication of the National Science and Technology Council identified five components for a High Performance Computing Program, and referred to one of them as “Human-Centered Systems.”
  • 這篇文章起源於由 Kling & Star 在 NSF 2007 “Human Centered Systems” workshop 主持的第四組討論報告。
  • 屬於在 social informatics 早期的討論發想



  • NSF,
    • The Committee on Computing, Information, and Communication of the National Science and Technology Council
    • program directors of NSF's Division on Information, Robotics and Intelligent Systems
      • organize a research workshop in February 1997
        • A steering committee of 13 members (including Rob Kling and Leigh Star) met in November 1996 and developed some key themes and structures for the February workshop
        • four thematic groups: (1) Information Organization and Context (How to make sense in an information rich world) (2) Communication and Collaboration (3) Human-Centered Design (4) Organization and Social Analysis: Social Informatics
        • Statement: “The main goal of the Workshop is to ascertain the future research directions of the important and exciting emerging field of Human-Centered Intelligent Systems. Ultimately, all computer systems are user centered. Without human computer intelligent interaction, the vast future power of supercomputers, ultrahigh speed networks, and giant multimedia repositories cannot be tapped efficiently and to the fullest extent.
          Human computer intelligent interaction includes multidodal human computer interface, multimedia data representation and management, intelligent information processing, studies on human performance and cognition, and organizational and societal issues. Around 40 leading researchers in computer science, engineering, Speech/language understation, computer vision, artificial intelligence, psychology, cognitive science, and other relevant fields will actively participate in this Workshop. The two and half day Workshop will consist of plenary talks and breakout group discussions. A report of the Workshop will be written and widely distributed. ”
  • HCI(domain)
    • Prof. Jim Flanagan of Rutgers
    • Prof. Tom Huang of the University of Illinois - Urbana-Champaign
  • human factors(domain)
    • “human centered automation” (sub-domain)
    • the definition of system; “(1) based on an analysis of the human tasks that the system is aiding (2) monitored for performance in terms of human benefits (3) built to take account of human skills and (4) adaptable easily to changing human needs. ”
  • social informatics (domain)


  • 1997-Feb “Human-Centered Systems” workshop by NSF

4A scenario (vision)

  • Argument: “The computing world has developed a number of such generic scenarios, such as 4A – in which any one can get any document anytime and anywhere.”
  • Example: “There are instantiations of 4A – such as providing any researcher all of the documentary materials that they want for their research, even if they are traveling for a month; or providing any doctor with a complete medical record for any patient, anytime, anywhere. ”

Kling's critic about 4A:

4A Vision 過度輕易同質化不同情境與個體的需求;不同的角色被忽略與被刻板化。

“We can appreciate the practical value and symbolic power of these crisply stated goals. But they too easily trivialize the concept of human-centered system by homogenizing people and places into “everyman” and “everywhere.” The various roles that people play in work groups are ignored and stereotyped. The ways that organizations structure information is also treated only as a barrier, unless materials are accessible 4A. The different kinds of resources (and skill sets) of organizations and groups are also all homogenized in 4 A scenarios. ”

social informatics beliefs (re-organized by myself)

  • Human
    • Humans not just individuals - People are not stand-alone organisms.
    • Humans adapt and learn
    • Humans articulate different computer/media systems
  • anti-technical-ism
    • Not only working in the lab but social sustainability
    • Social infrastructure and standards matters (for technology)
    • Technology does and will not solve social justice problems. For example, putting more computers into inner city classrooms will not per se increase literacy.
  • Systems
    • Computer systems structure social relationships, not just information.(e.g., email systems)
    • Ecological: System (or process) would be ecological
    • Technical-media diversification: Information systems are always part of a large ecology of communicative devices and conventions, ranging from conversations to faxes and post-it notes.
    • “Network externalities” can play a substantial role in the sustainability of system
  • How-to
    • Solution(Design) will not fixed once and for all, and then good for all contexts
    • Interdisciplinary teamwork: system designers and social scientists
    • Three-way partnerships (social scientists, designers, users) have been powerful ways to organize systems development
  • Tips
    • Information sharing in groups can be supported by computerized systems, but organizational incentive systems play a major role in influencing the extent of information sharing.



  • what is the agential motivation of NSF?
  • what a workshop looks like?
  • what was Kling doing before HCC workshop?


file link - Google Schloar, XXC