Journal of Intelligent Information Systems

, Volume 29, Issue 1, pp 127–144 | Cite as

Information ecology: open system environment for data, memories, and knowing

Article

Abstract

An information ecology provides a conceptual framework to consider data, the creation of knowledge, and the flow of information within a multidimensional context. This paper, reporting on a 1 year project to study the heterogeneity of information and its management within the Long Term Ecological Research (LTER) community, presents some manifestations of traditionally unreported ‘invisible work’ and associated elements of informal knowledge and unarticulated information. We draw from a range of ethnographic materials to understand ways in which data-information-knowledge are viewed within the community and consider some of the non-linear aspects of data-knowledge-information that relate to the development of a sustained, robust, persistent infrastructure for data collection in environmental science research. Taking data as the unit of study, the notion of long-term research and data holdings leads to consideration of types of memory and of knowledge important for design of cyberinfrastructures. Complexity, ambiguity, and nonlinearity are part of an information ecology and addressed today by exploring multiple types of knowledge, developing information system vocabularies, and recognizing the need for intermediation.

Keywords

Memory Infrastructure Information ecology Data management Long-term 

Preview

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

References

  1. Ashby, W. R. (1956). Introduction to cybernetics. London: Chapman & Hall.MATHGoogle Scholar
  2. Atkins, D., & NSF Blue-Ribbon Advisory Panel on Cyberinfrastructure. (2003). NSF-AP Report: Revolutionizing Science and Engineering Through Cyberinfrastructure.Google Scholar
  3. Babbage, C. (1837). The ninth bridgewater treatise, a fragment. London: John Murray.Google Scholar
  4. Baker, K. S., Benson, B. J., Henshaw, D. L., Blodgett, D., Porter, J. H., & Stafford, S. G. (2000). Evolution of a multisite network information system: The LTER information management paradigm. BioScience, 50–11, 963–978.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Baker, K. S., Bowker, G., & Karasti, H. (2002). Designing an infrastructure for heterogeneity in ecosystem data, collaborators, and organizations, in Proceedings of the second national conference on digital government research (pp. 141–144). Los Angeles, CA. http://www.dgrc.org/dgrc/dgo2002/.
  6. Boland, R. J., & Tenkasi, R. V. (1995). Perspective making and perspective taking in communities of knowing. Organization Science, 6–4, 350–372.Google Scholar
  7. Bowker, G. C. (2000). Biodiversity, datadiversity. Social Studies of Science, 30–5, 643–684.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Bowker, G. C. (2006). Memory practices in the sciences. Cambridge, MA: MIT.Google Scholar
  9. Bowser, C. J. (1986). Historic data sets: Lessons from the past, lessons for the future. In W. T. Michener (Ed.), Research data management in the ecological sciences (pp. 155–179). Columbia, South Carolina: University of South Carolina Press.Google Scholar
  10. Brand, S. (1994). How buildings learn. New York: Penguin.Google Scholar
  11. Brunt, J. W. (1998). The LTER network information system: A framework for ecological information management. In Proceedings (RMRS-P-12) of North American science symposium—towards a unified framework for forest ecosystem monitoring and research (pp. 435–440). Guadalajara, Jalisco, Mexico.Google Scholar
  12. Chalmers, A. (1976). What is this thing called science: An assessment of the nature and status of science and its methods. Cambridge: Hackett.Google Scholar
  13. Choo, C. W. (1995). Information management for the intelligent organization: Roles and implications for the information professions. In Digital Libraries Conference.Google Scholar
  14. Davenport, T. (1997). Information ecology; mastering the information and knowledge environment. New York: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  15. Deetz, S. (1996). Describing difference in approaches to organization science; rethinking burrell and morgan and their legacy. Organization Science, 7–2, 191–207.Google Scholar
  16. Douglas, M. (1986). How institutions think. Syracuse, NY: Syracuse University Press.Google Scholar
  17. Eaton, A. J. J., & Bawden, A. D. (1991). What kind of resource is information. International Journal of Information Management, 11, 156–165.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Ecological Visions Committee (2004). Ecological science and sustainability for a crowded planet. Ecological Society of America.Google Scholar
  19. Edwards, T. C., Homer, C. H., Bassettt, S. D., Falconer, A., Ramsey, R. D., & Wight, D. W. (1995). Utah GAP analysis: An environmental information system. Technical Report 95–1. Logan, Utah: Utah Cooperative Fish & Wildlife Research Unit, Utah State University.Google Scholar
  20. Eriksen, T. H. (2001). Tyranny of the moment: Fast and slow time in the information age. London: Pluto.Google Scholar
  21. Finholt, T. (2002). Collaboratories. In E. B.Cronin (Ed.), Annual review of information science and technology, vol. 36 (pp. 73–107). Medford, NJ.Google Scholar
  22. Franklin, J. F., Bledsoe, C. S., & Callahan, J. T. (1990). Contributions of the long-term ecological research program—An expanded network of scientists, sites, and programs can provide crucial comparative analyses. BioScience, 40–7, 509–523.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Futrell, J., & AC-ERE. (2003). Environmental cyberInfrastructure: Tools for the study of complex environmental systems AC-ERE. http://www.nsf.gov/ere.
  24. Gasson, S. (2004). The management of distributed organizational knowledge. In Proceedings of the Hawaii international conference on information systems.Google Scholar
  25. Gosz, J. (1999). International long term ecological research: Collaboration among national networks of research sites for a global understanding, long term ecological research: Examples, methods, perspectives for Central Europe, Madralin, Poland, International Centre of Ecology, Polish Academy of Sciences.Google Scholar
  26. Greenland, D., Goodin, D. G., & Smith, R. C. (2003). An introduction to climate variability and ecosystem response. In D. Greenland, D. G. Goodin, & R. C. Smith (Eds.), Climate variability and ecosystem response at long-term ecological research sites (pp. 3–19). New York: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  27. Henshaw, D. L., Stubbs, M., Benson, B. J., Baker, K. S., Blodgett, D., & Porter, J. H. (1998). Climate database project: A strategy for improving information access across research sites. In W. K. Michener, J. H. Porter, & S. G. Stafford (Eds.), Data and information management in the ecological sciences: A resource guide (Proceedings of workshop, held at University of New Mexico, Albuquerque NM, 8–9 August, 1997) (pp. 123–127). Albuquerque, NM: Long-Term Ecological Research Network Office, University of New Mexico.Google Scholar
  28. Hobbie, J. E. (2003). Scientific accomplishments of the long-term ecological research program: An introduction. BioScience, 53, 17–20.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. Hughes, T. P. (1983). Networks of power: Electrification in western society, 1880–1930. Baltimore, MD: John Hopkins University Press.Google Scholar
  30. Hutchins, E. (1995). Cognition in the wild. Cambridge, MA: MIT.Google Scholar
  31. Iivari, J. (1991). Paradigmatic analysis of contemporary schools of IS development. European Journal of Information Systems, 1–4, 49–272.Google Scholar
  32. Jordan, B. (1996). Ethnographic workplace studies and CSCW. In D. Shapiro, M. Tauber, & R. Traunmuller (Eds.), The design of computer supported cooperative work and groupware systems (pp. 17–42). Amsterdam: Elsevier.Google Scholar
  33. Kaiser, J. (2001). An experiment for all seasons. Science, 293–5530, 624–627.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  34. Kaplan, S., & Seebeck, L. (2001). Harnessing complexity in CSCW. In Proceedings of the seventh european conference on computer supported cooperative work (pp. 359–397), Kluwer.Google Scholar
  35. Karasti, H. (1994). What’s different in gender oriented ISD? Identifying gender oriented information systems development approach. In E. A. Adam (Ed.), Women, work and computerization (pp. 45–57). North-Holland: Elsevier.Google Scholar
  36. Karasti, H., & Baker, K. S. (2004). Infrastructuring for the long-term: Ecological information management. In Proceedings of the Hawai’i International Conference on System Sciences (HICSS) 2004, 5–8 January, Big Island, Hawaii. IEEE, New Brunswick, NJ.Google Scholar
  37. Kinzig, A. P., Carpenter, S., Dove, M., Michael, M., Heal, G., Levin, S., et al. (2000). Nature and society: An imperative for integrated environmental research. In Executive summary of a workshop sponsored by NSF, Developing a Research Agenda for Linking Biogeophysical and Socioeconomic Systems (p. 72). Tempe, Arizona. http://lsweb.la.asu.edu/akinzig/report.htm.
  38. Levi-Strauss, C. (1966). The savage mind. London: Weidenfeld and Nicolson.Google Scholar
  39. Likens, G. E. (1989). Long-term studies in ecology: Approaches and alternatives. Berlin Heidelberg New York: Springer.Google Scholar
  40. Magnuson, J. J. (1990). Long-term ecological research and the invisible present—Uncovering the processes hidden because they occur slowly or because effects lag years behind causes. BioScience, 40–7, 495–501.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  41. Manovich, L. (1999). Database as a symbolic form. Millenium Film Journal, 34 (Fall).Google Scholar
  42. Michener, W. K., Brunt, J. W., Helly, J. J., Kirchner, T. B., & Stafford, S. G. (1997). Nongeospatial metadata for the ecological sciences. Ecological Applications, 7–1, 330–342.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  43. Michener, W. K., Brunt, J. W., & Stafford, S. G. (1994). Environmental information management and analysis: Ecosystem to global scales. London: Taylor & Francis.Google Scholar
  44. NRC. (2001). Grand challenges in environmental sciences. Washington, DC: National Academy Press.Google Scholar
  45. Odum, E. P. (1995). The emergence of ecology as a new integrative discipline. Science, 195, 1289–1293.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  46. Odum, E. P. (1998). Ecological vignettes: Ecological approaches to dealing with human predicaments. Amsterdam: Harwood Academic Publishers.Google Scholar
  47. Ohman, M. D., & Venrick, E. L. (2003). CalCOFI in a changing ocean. Oceanography, 16, 76–85.Google Scholar
  48. Orr, D. W. (2002). The nature of design: Ecology, culture, and human intention. Oxford: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  49. Pfirman, S. (2003). Complex environmental systems; synthesis for earth, life and society in the 21st Century. A report summarizing a 10-year outlook for the National Science Foundation.Google Scholar
  50. Pickett, S. T. A., & Cadenasso, M. L. (2002). The ecosystem as a multidimensional concept: Meaning, model and metaphor. Ecosystems, 5, 1–10.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  51. Poore, B. (2003). Blue Lines: Water, Information, and Salmon in the Pacific Northwest. Ph.D Thesis, University of Washington. 335p.Google Scholar
  52. Redman, C., Grove, J. M., & Kuby, L. (2000). Toward a unified understanding of human ecosystems: Integating social sciences into long-term ecological research. In White Paper of the Social Science Committee of the LTER Network. http://www.lternet.edu/documents/Publications/sosciwhtppr/index.html.
  53. Robertson, P. D., Coleman, C., Bledsoe, C. S., & Sollins, P. (1999). Standard oil methods for long-term ecological research. Long-term ecological research network series. New York: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  54. Serres, M. (1990). Le Contrat Naturel. Paris: F. Bourin.Google Scholar
  55. Smith, M. R., & Marx, E. L. (1994). Does technology drive history? The dilemma of technological determinism. Cambridge: MIT.Google Scholar
  56. Solomon, P. (1997). Discovering information behavior in sense making. I. Time and timing. Journal of the American Society for Information Science, 48–2, 1097–1108.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  57. Spasser, M. A. (1997). The enacted fate of undiscovered public knowledge. Journal of the American Society for Information Science, 48–8, 707–717.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  58. Star, S. L., & Bowker, G. C. (2002). How to infrastructure. In L. A. Lievrouw & S. L. Livingstone (Eds.), The handbook of new media (pp. 151–162). London: SAGE.Google Scholar
  59. Star, S. L., & Griesemer, J. R. (1989). Institutional ecology, “translations,” and boundary objects: Amateurs and professionals in Berkeley’s museum of vertebrate zoology, 1907–39. Social Studies of Science, 19, 387–420.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  60. Star, S. L., & Ruhleder, K. (1996). Steps toward an ecology of infrastructure: Design and access for large information systems. Information Systems Research, 7–1, 111–134.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  61. Star, S. L., & Strauss, A. (1999). Layers of silence, arenas of voice: The ecology of visible and invisible work. CSCW, 8, 9–30.Google Scholar
  62. Suchman, L. (2000). Organizing alignment: A case of bridge-building. Organization, 17–2, 311–327.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  63. US JGOFS (2001). Ocean biogeochemistry and the global carbon cycle: An introduction to the U.S. joint global ocean flux study. Oceanography, 14–4, 5–121.Google Scholar
  64. Walsh, J. P., & Ungson, G. R. (1991). Organizational memory. Academy of Management Review, 16–1, 57–91.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  65. Wauzzinski, R. A. (2001). Discerning prometheus: The cry for wisdom in our technological society. Madison: Associated University Press.Google Scholar
  66. Weick, K. E., & Sutcliffe, K. M. (2001). Managing the unexpected, assuring high performance in an age of complexity. San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass.Google Scholar
  67. Weick, K., Sutcliffe, K., & Obstfeld, D. (2005). Organizing and the process of Sensemaking. Organization Science, 16–4, 409–421.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  68. Whitley, E. A. (2000). Tacit and explicit knowledge: Conceptual confusion around the commodification of knowledge. In Conference proceedings of knowledge management: Concepts and controversies (pp. 62–64). University of Warwick.Google Scholar
  69. Yates-Mercer, P., & Bawden, D. (2002). Managing the paradox: The valuation of knowledge and knowledge management. Journal of Information Science, 28–1, 19–29.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  70. Zimmerman, A. S. (2003). Data sharing and secondary use of scientific data: Experiences of ecologists. PhD Thesis. Ann Arbor: The University of Michigan.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2007

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.University of CaliforniaSan DiegoUSA
  2. 2.Santa Clara UniversitySanta ClaraUSA

Personalised recommendations