While the Web has immensely expanded opportunities for diverse populations to engage in global discussions and contribute to online content, questions on how to expand online inclusivity and better attend to a politics of representation remain pertinent to Web Science.  In their monograph, “Web Science: Understanding the Emergence of Macro-Level Features on the World Wide Web,” O’Hara et al set forth that the scientific study of the Web hinges on considering how micro-level actions emerge into macro-level phenomena. The goal of this workshop is to reflect on these micro-level actions from the standpoint of users who have been habitually excluded from or misrepresented in Web environments and to consider how these divides play a role in shaping macro-level phenomena. In doing so, the workshop aims to facilitate interdisciplinary discussions that consider how Web standards, technologies, platforms, and research methodologies could be improved so as to increase inclusivity and refocus representation on the Web.

This workshop is framed in terms of ‘divides’ both strategically and with caution. Focus on ‘bridging the digital divide’ has privileged concerns about access to digital technologies over the design and research decisions that facilitate exclusion and misrepresentation. While exclusion from the Web is an issue that needs to be attended to, we would like to broaden the concept of digital divides. The traditional focus narrows the scope of ‘divides’ to those who have access to digital technology v. those that do not, ignoring the diversity of users with access, the role of architecture in causing exclusion, and the role of certain research methodologies in establishing a politics of representation. In another sense, the traditional focus forecloses rich interdisciplinary collaborations; bridging the digital divide becomes a mutually exclusive activity where social scientists point out excluded populations and computer scientists design and deliver. Instead, this workshop will aim to reinvigorate the concept of ‘divides’ with a focus on how social scientists and computer scientists can draw on each other’s expertise in order to offer insights on how Web standards, technologies, and platforms can be restructured to enhance participation and engagement with the Web amongst diverse populations. It will additionally consider how research studying the Web as complex socio-technical system can better attend to those who have been excluded from or poorly represented in Web environments.

 

The workshop aims to collect empirical cases that exemplify why an attention to divides is so critical to Web Science. The organizers want to provide a forum in which both social scientists and computer scientists can draw from their experiences in designing and studying the Web in order to provide concrete examples of exclusion and misrepresentation.

 

The organizers aim for workshop participants to come away with several take-aways:

  1. To consider how existing scholarship speaking to divides can inform Web Science research
  2. To recognize how marginalization can be produced through particular Web configurations
  3. To consider how marginal populations can be better represented in research conducted on the Web
  4. To consider how to design Web standards, technologies, and platforms to better attend to excluded populations
  5. To recognize the ways in which social scientists and computer scientists can collaborate to meet such goals

 

We are seeking papers that provoke conversation on Web exclusion and misrepresentation, report on experiences from past or current projects, that offer ideas for solutions, or strategies.

Relevant topics may include but are not limited to:Access and opportunities for engagement

 

  • Inequality of access and inequality of representation
  • Visibilities and invisibilities
  • Postcolonial/feminist/critical race viewpoints on the Web
  • Resistance and quirky approaches to using the Web
  • Marginalization on the Web
  • Politics of data ideologies, practices, and visualizations
  • Politics of Web architectures and platforms
  • Examples of Web technologies that consider marginalized users

 

Please submit via the following EasyChair link: https://easychair.org/conferences/?conf=divides2015

Provisional paper submission: 16 May, 2015 (11:59pm Hawaiian time)

Provisional acceptance notification: 28 May, 2015

Papers should be no more than two pages in Word or PDF format, formatted according to the official ACM SIG proceedings template (http://www.acm.org/sigs/publications/proceedings-templates). Please use the ACM 1998 classification scheme (http://www.acm.org/about/class/1998/).

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