Staff within the Faculty of Informatics at the Vienna University of Technology in Austria plan to establish a Centre for Informatics and Society (CIS) as part of the University’s Institute of Design and Assessment of Technology. They are currently engaged in identifying the scope and potential activities of this new unit. The early part of the work has focused on auditing the field and collecting information about other research institutions with a similar remit to that of the proposed Centre.
Researcher Florian Cech has made the output of the audit available at http://orgs.cisvienna.com/. This resource includes keywords that capture the main research interests of the units identified in the audit, as well as outward links to their web sites. At the time of writing Florian’s list includes 116 units. While this resource has been created primarily for the purposes of the Faculty of Informatics at the Vienna University of Technology in Austria, it will be of value to others working in the field elsewhere.
Florian has also recently embarked on a series of visits to some of the institutions identified in the audit to find out more about their operations and research interests. We were delighted that the first visit of his grand tour was to the Centre for Social Informatics at Edinburgh Napier University. We welcomed Florian on 30th November for a set of productive meetings with academic and research staff. We shared with him the recent paper ‘Social informatics: widening the discourse‘ by Zdenek Smutny (University of Economics, Prague) published in the Journal of Information Science. (We had initially thought that Florian’s approach to us was due to the mention of our group in this review of the origin, historical development and basic methodological grounding of the domain of social informatics across a range of geographies.)
Florian was lucky to be in Edinburgh on one of those late autumn days when we experience very beautiful sunsets in the city. Princes Street was aglow at 4pm, as can be seen in the photograph below of Edinburgh Castle that afternoon.
Smutny, Z. (2016). Social informatics as a concept: widening the discourse. Journal of Information Science 42(5), 681-710.