Exploring www and concepts of "genius loci"

Document type: Conference Papers
Peer reviewed: Yes
Author(s): Sara Eriksén
Title: Exploring www and concepts of "genius loci"
Conference name: Visions and Divisions, the European Sociological Association´s Fifth Conference,
Year: 2001
City: Helsinki, Finland
Organization: Blekinge Institute of Technology
Department: Department of Human Work Science and Media Technology (Institutionen för arbetsvetenskap och medieteknik)
Dept. of Human Work Science and Media Techn., S-372 25 Ronneby
+46 455 38 50 00
Authors e-mail: Sara.Eriksen@bth.se
Language: English
Abstract: At present, I am involved in a three-year research and development project called Design of IT in Use; technologies for supporting services to the citizens (Design av IT i användning, or DitA for short). This project, which is being funded by the Swedish Council for Work Life, is about the use, design and continual support and development of computer support for public administration and information services offered by one-stop shops and call centers. The main focus is on the ongoing integration of such systems with public electronic information systems, and on new developments and design to meet the increasing complexity and diversity of ICT (Information and Communication Technologies). One of the aims of our research is thus to participate in the developing of new forms for citizens' access to public information and public services via Internet.
Our work in the DitA project is based on previous and ongoing longitudinal close-up studies of work practices and uses of technological support in actual physical locations such as one-stop shops and call centers. In our research work, we are actively involved in inter-organizational cooperation aiming to coordinate information and services on-line across and beyond old sectorial boundaries, both on the local, municipal level, and on a regional and national level. We are participating in the analysis and design of prototypes for on-line public information and public services, including the process of establishing focus groups and reference groups for the further development and testing of ideas, scenarios and prototypes.
Through and beyond the challenges these developments are posing to traditional public service bureaucracies and their roles vis-à-vis the citizens?, we see more profound challenges to ways of understanding the use and design of modern technologies. We have found, in our research work, that we are having to search for new ways to grasp from where, whom, and what situation, these service centers are being contacted. The ?global access? offered by www is accompanied by a growing need to localize the user/citizen/person ? and for the user to be able to localize her- or himself - i. e. a need to design for and manage the specificities of the situation of use of IT. One concept we have been exploring recently, as a way of focusing this seeming paradox, is ?genius loci?, a concept used by architects and artists in reference to ?the spirit of the place?.
Subject: Human Work Science\Human Computer Interaction
Human Work Science\Participatory Design
Human Work Science\Computer Supported Cooperative Work