Geoffrey C. Bowker
Professor and Senior Scholar in Cyberscholarship
601A IS Building
Here at the University of Pittsburgh, I am pleased to serve as Professor and Senior Scholar in Cyberscholarship. Prior to joining the faculty of the School of Information Sciences, I was the Executive Director and the Regis and Dianne McKenna Professor at the Center for Science, Technology and Society at Santa Clara University (CA). Our mission at CSTS is to research and promote the use of science and technology for the common good.
As the Senior Scholar in Cyberscholarship, I will undertake research on the use of web and other digital resources across a set of disciplines. I will work with scholars to uncover ways in which new forms of knowledge are being (or could be) generated by creative use of these digital resources. For example: how did a complete database of classical Greek literature transform work in the classics; or how could intensive, long term monitoring of ecosystems feed into a new policy framework for sustainability? My work is supported by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation as part of a multi-year effort to create a new curriculum and research agenda in cyberscholarship.
I earned my PhD at the University of Melbourne, Australia, in History and Philosophy of Science and followed up with an extended post doctoral position at the Ecole des Mines in Paris.
My main current research interests are in the field of classification and standardization: in particular asking how these play into the development of scientific cyberinfrastructure. My recent Memory Practices in the Sciences looks at information infrstructures and storytelling in a science over the past two hundred years. It looks at geology in the 1830s, cybernetics in the 1950s and environmental sciences today - weaving together their information infrastructure and the stories that they tell about their objects. My next book after that - How to Read Databases - is coming slowly along.
My work on information infrastructure involves looking at shifting classification systems in medicine, distributed collaborative work practices in environmental science, data sharing practices and biodiversity informatics. My central analytic question here is how scientists in the various sciences contributing to the subject of biodiversity communicate both with each other and with policymakers - and in particular how do the data structures and practices in use affect this communication. Here is an interview with me about classification and infrastructure. Here is a paper written with Marc Berg on medical records; and here is one written with Leigh Star on classification, standards and actor-network theory. Here is a more complete set of papers. My main current project is on Interoperability in all its forms. The main site is best for papers and such, but there is an interoperable pdf file describing some of the work and an operable set of nuggets on this site.
My book on information management and industrial geophysics at Schlumberger, Science on the Run, is to be found in quality bookshops in airports everywhere; my book with Susan Leigh Star, Sorting Things Out: Classification and its Consequences was published by MIT Press in October, 1999 and is available at your neighbourhood online bookseller. A paperback version came out in September 2000. I am working right now (even as you are reading this) on distributed scientific work, with an emphasis on social and organizational features of emerging scientific cyberinfrastructures. My most recent publication, All Knowledge Is Local, was recently published in Learning Communities: An International Journal of Learning in Social Contexts in 2010. I am on the editorial board of The Information Society, Information and Organization, Metascience and Social Studies of Science.
And here is my cat, or at least one of them - and that was then, you should see her now... .