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SIGDOC 2012 Conference—Day 2, dining with friends, and some line-dancing & two-stepping with Casey..

~Friday~  The second, and final, day of the conference offered to sessions, again with three presentations each, followed by a "Wrap-up and Feedback" session to close out the conference.

My colleague, and friend, Sarah Egan Warren, presented on "Creating Student Chapters" this morning during the one-hour breakfast time.

As always, she was a "smooth operator," delivering a warm, interesting, and engaging presentation—particularly considering it was first thing in the morning, in the venue of a casual in-and-out breakfast area, and people had absolutely no obligation or pressure to stay.

Session I: Interactivity & Multimedia
Time: 9:00-10:15
Venue: Orcas Room

Presentation 1: Uncovering Analogness and Digitalness in Interactive Media
Presenter: Jeffrey Tzu Kwan, National University of Singapore

Session description: In this paper we analyze the works of the Keio-NUS CUTE Center at the National University of Singapore in order to uncover the dispositions of "analogness" and "digitalness" in regards to the relationship between users and interfaces. By comparing concepts of embodiment from a philosophical perspective, paired with the computer science treatment of analog and digital data, we derive a contingent definition for analog-like and digital-like interaction. With case studies as reference, we outline a continuum to describe types of interfaces based on these dispositions, which could then be further analyzed using characteristics for designing analog-like, digital-like or hybrid-like interactive systems. Finally, we propose a new methodology for designing novel interactive systems that are analog in nature, called interactive analog media (IAM).

This was one of my favorite presentations.

Presentation 2: Tracing the user experience of participation
Presenter: Dave Jones, Old Dominion University / The Nerdery, Bloomington, MN

Session description: Digital applications and web-based user experiences increasingly incorporate social web technologies that enable the user to become a participant, or someone who actively co-constructs content, context, and meaning in digital ecosystems. This paper explores the user experience of participation by establishing a working definition of the concept and discussing why it is important to researching and designing digital communication tools. The case study presented in this paper explores the ways that user-generated content produced with the game LittleBigPlanet and the community that this content supports are intricately linked to local inventions embedded within cultural practices that improve support people's efforts to learn how to participate within the social web ecosystem. I demonstrate that participation relies on one's ability to coordinate with other participants via social web ecosystems in order to explore digital tools and perform knowledge work. Thus, the user experience of participation can be traced to these local inventions and the culturally situated practices of participants that leverage digital applications to develop, document, and share knowledge with each other. The conclusion to this paper offers preliminary concepts necessary to defining the user experience of participation and to theorizing participation as a critical component of researching and designing social web ecosystems.

Presentation 3: Left to their own devices: ad hoc genres and the design of transmedia narratives
Presenters: Elmar Hashimov, Ball State University; Brian McNely, University of Kentucky (Only one of these two guys presented, but I'm not sure which one it was.)

Presentation description: This paper discusses the design of a social tool for cross-boundary communication, coordination, and information sharing in a large organization. Based on insights and requirements gathered in qualitative and quantitative studies conducted within the organization, the Live Corkboard, a virtual message board system enhanced with community features and text/history search is proposed as a tool to enhance communication, group awareness, and information sharing and reuse. We describe the requirements for our tool as well as how they influenced our design. The research was conducted in a large IT services delivery company which has recently changed its organizational structure from a customer-centered to a competency-centered model. Focus group evaluation results suggest that the tool will be useful to the employees in the organization.

Session II: Design of Communication: The Big Picture
Time: 10:45-12:00
Venue: San Juan / Whidbey Room

Presentation 1: Participatory Design in the Development of a Web-based Technology for Visualizing Writing Activity as Knowledge Work
Presenter: Sarah Read, DePaul University

Presentation description: This study raises the question of how to make an analytical tool developed for and by researchers for visualizing writing activity as knowledge work into a useful tool for a broader community, and in particular students. The development of GEMviz, a web-based technology for creating Genre Ecology Models in research and instructional contexts, provides the context for this study. Our study examines the process of using participatory design techniques to develop GEMviz with students and researchers working in different institutions. The study illustrates a 4-stage participatory design process in which contributors voluntarily participate in varied events that contributed to the design effort, refining the technology that is meant to provide insight into the communicative practices of knowledge workers. This paper reports on this design process in light of six design and functional requirements for visualizations of writing activity and knowledge work more broadly. The paper proposes new design and functional requirements for visualizing writing activity and future directions for the technology.

Presentation 2: A qualitative metasynthesis of activity theory in SIGDOC proceedings 2001-2011
Presenter: Jennifer Stewart, Ball State University

This presenter literally read the published research paper. I don't mead read her slides about the paper; I mean read the paper. As soon as she started, I logged into Facebook. "If you can't be bothered to prepare a presentation, I can't be bothered to listen to you read. I can read myself," I thought.

Presentation description: Activity theory has become an increasingly important theoretical framework for practitioners and researchers in a wide variety of fields. Offering a set of tools for exploring and theorizing everyday practice, activity theory has proven to be a useful lens for exploring how various artifacts and genres mediate social practices. This article systematically analyzes the use of activity theory by researchers publishing work in the ACM SIGDOC proceedings between 2001 and 2011. By paying attention to the cultural-historical situatedness of a given author, his or her terminology, and the ostensible function of activity theory within each piece, a more comprehensive understanding of the adaptive nature of activity theoretical approaches to design of communication emerges. And as activity theory continues to be used within disciplines relevant to design of communication, a framework for understanding both the previous and potential roles of activity theory in the scholarly literature is needed and is provided, in part, by our analysis.

Presentation 3: Hosting an ACM SIGDOC unconference
Presenter: Jennifer Riehle and Sarah Egan Warren, NC State University

Presentation description: In this paper, we describe our experience hosting an "unconference" as a student chapter of ACM SIGDOC. This paper can serve as a starting point for other groups wanting to try this non-traditional approach to sharing information in a participant-driven event or meeting. We explain the unconference idea, our planning stages, technology we used, implementation and delivery, lessons learned, and plans for the future. A checklist at the end of the paper details the steps to running a successful unconference.

Conference Wrap-up and Town Hall
Time: 12:00-1:00
Venue: San Juan / Whidbey
Facilitator: Robert Pierce, SIGDOC Chair

This was a very worthwhile hour, with a lot of passionate discussion about the possible reasons the membership of SIGDOC is pretty much at an all-time low, and how we might draw new members, as well as improve next year's conference.

Two people actually had children at this session. One in a stroller, and one old enough to walk around and actually be "shooed" by a participant as he he walked up the center aisle of the room toward the front of the room during the proceedings.

I don't know what people with children are thinking sometimes. There is no valid reason to bring a child to a professional conference. I respect that you have personal circumstances; respect the fact that the rest of us don't.

When the conference ended, Sarah had to do a quick re-run through her morning presentation so that it could be re-recorded, as there was an issue with the original recording.

Jen and I lunch at a nearby Chipotle without Sarah, as her husband Andrew's arrival from the airport was imminent.

I had checked out of the hotel right at the noon checkout time, and after lunch I retrieved my bags from Jen's room to head over to Casey's, where I was spending tonight, since we were going out line-dancing and two-stepping.

I caught the monorail from its stop just a couple of streets away from the hotel, and it was an easy trip to Casey's, as the monorail only has two stops—its beginning terminus and its end terminus—and I'd already taken it earlier in the week.

At Casey's I spent most of the time between my arrival there and his arrival home from work working on my Monday blog entry. I did manage to get about a 45-minute nap in, too, before he got back.

Earlier in the week, Sarah found out that Baryshnikov was performing in Seattle for a couple of weeks, but that all performances were sold out. She and Andrew begged out of joining us for dinner tonight, opting instead to go stand in line at the venue to see if any no-show seats might possibly come available.

Casey and I picked up Jen at the hotel, and we went up the (Capitol) hill to the Elysian Brewing Company for dinner, where we were joined by Chris (an ex-boyfriend, and now friend, of Casey's), and Kevin (a friend of both mine and Casey's from our IBM days together), and his boyfriend Eric.

The table shared an huge nachos appetizer, and I had a most delicious Turkey Paninini sandwich, with some fries, for my entree. And some bourbons and diets, of course.

Since it was a brewpub, Jen enjoyed a couple of different beers.

While we were there, we got a couple of texts from Sarah, one saying the Baryshnikov had spoken to her in the line she was waiting in to try and get a ticket, and then later that they had actually released one ticket that she took for the two-hour performance, while her most gracious husband agreed to sit in a nearby bar and wait for her. So exciting!

I mentioned above that Sarah was a great presenter, and she's also a life-long ballet dancer, and you can see her conflate both of those things in this 6-minute and 40-second Pecha Kucha presentation that she did recently:

Kevin and Eric went home after dinner, and Casey and I escorted Jen to the bus stop that would take her back to her hotel.

Then Casey and I walked to The Cuff, where we two-stepped, and I did a couple of line-dances for a couple of hours.

I had several two-steps with Casey, and one with one of his friends, Mark, and I did two line-dances that they did that I know: Dizzy and the Tush Push.

Toward the end of the evening, Kevin's friend Shuan joined us at The Cuff, and when the country music switched over to "regular" dance music at 11:00, the three of us went over to the Madison ("Mad") pub, and had a drink there.

Casey, ambidancestrous two-stepper extraordinaire and designated host extraordinaire drove us home, where we both crashed pretty much right away.

I couldn't think of a better way to close out my visit to Seattle. Thank you, Casey, the consummate host.
Tags: bar talk, conference, dancing, seattle, sigdoc

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