The Fiction in Computer Science: A Qualitative Data Analysis of the ACM Digital Library for Traces of Star Trek

  • Philipp Jordan
  • Brent Auernheimer
Conference paper
Part of the Advances in Intelligent Systems and Computing book series (AISC, volume 607)


This exploratory study reviews the usage of Star Trek referrals in the ACM Digital Library. Our research question examines the occurrence of the search term Star Trek in the publications, proceedings and periodicals listed in the ACM Digital Library and the contextual usage of Star Trek within each individual publication. In order to do so, we first conduct a full-text search and retrieval process of publications referencing Star Trek using the ACM Digital Library advanced search interface. In a second step, we download and qualitatively open-code the retrieved publications to identify contextualized Star Trek technologies and other instances where Star Trek and computer science research intersect. In total, we identify and evaluate 232 relevant publications in the span from 1975–2017 which discuss a variety of Star Trek technologies, devices and forthcoming implications for computer science and human-computer interaction research. We classify these 232 publications into ten broad categories and then discuss the past usage of Star Trek in the ACM Digital Library. Our conclusions focus on the implications of fiction in computer science and human-computer interaction research in addition to the potential of Star Trek as a research inspiration for future visions of emerging information and communication technologies, devices, interfaces and interactions.


Star trek Science-fiction Fictional technologies Emerging technologies Research inspiration Future visions ACM digital library Human-computer interaction Holodeck Tricorder Communicator Replicator Universal translator 


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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing AG 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.University of Hawaii at ManoaHonoluluUSA
  2. 2.California State UniversityFresnoUSA

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