Abstract - The Information Society 16(3)

Learning about Information Technologies and Social Change: The Contribution of Social Informatics

Rob Kling

Social Informatics is the body of research that examines the design, uses, and consequences of information and communication technologies in ways that take into account their interaction with institutional and cultural contexts. This article serves as a brief introduction to social informatics. Examples such as computer networks, scientific communication via electronic journals, and public access to the Internet are used to illustrate key ideas from social informatics research. Some of the key themes include: the importance of social contexts and work processes, socio-technical networks, public access to information, and social infrastructure for computing support. The article draws upon 25 years of systematic analytical and critical research about information technology and social change.

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