Research introduction and plea for help
Christine.Hine at BTINTERNET.COM
Mon May 24 16:03:21 CDT 2004
I am mailing the Taxacom list to ask whether list members would be
willing to help with some research that I'm currently undertaking. I am
holder of a research fellowship from the UK's Economic and Social
Research Council to look at information in contemporary science. I'm
currently researching the role that information and communications
technologies play in systematics - looking at high level policy
documents and initiatives as well as the more direct experiences of
those curating collections and working in taxonomy. I'm using
systematics as a case study within an overall aim to give a grounded and
sociologically sophisticated perspective on information and
communications technologies in science more generally to guide policy
One of the aspects that is really important to look at is use of
computers to communicate amongst scientists. And this is where my
interest in the Taxacom list comes in. I've been using list archives to
explore some of the issues that have been important to systematists over
the years. Where I've wanted to quote from a message I've contacted the
author directly, and found that people have been really helpful. But now
I have some broader questions about what the list means for systematics
that I'd be grateful for your help with. My questions (or some of them),
How important is this list for a practicing systematist today? Would you
miss it? What would taxonomy be like without it?
How far do the kinds of issues discussed on the Taxacom list reflect the
concerns of the discipline more broadly? Is there an excessive focus on
particular kinds of issues? Do others get missed out?
Have you posted messages to the list, either to start a topic or respond
to one? What was your experience like - did you find it helpful,
enjoyable, or neither?
How many of the people who contribute to the list do you know from other
contexts? Have you met many of them face-to-face?
What other lists do you belong to? How does this list differ?
I'd be particularly interested to hear from anyone who never or rarely
sends messages to the list, but still finds it useful - what benefit do
you get from the list? Do you know colleagues in taxonomy who don't
subscribe to the list, and do they miss out?
I'm doing qualitative research, so this isn't a survey. The questions
are starting points to which I'd love to hear responses - or tell me if
you think I'm asking the wrong questions. It wouldn't be fair to clutter
up this list, so please do respond to me personally. I will, however,
aim to report back to the list in a few months with the outcomes. I'll
keep names and identifying information confidential unless otherwise
explicitly agreed. In the meantime there is more about my background,
and some relevant papers I've written at
http://www.soc.surrey.ac.uk/christine_hine.htm Apologies for sending
such a long message!
Department of Sociology
University of Surrey
Guildford, Surrey, GU2 7XH, UK
c.hine at surrey.ac.uk or christine.hine at btinternet.com
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