[SIGCIS-Members] SHOT is seeking input on its future

Thomas Haigh thaigh at computer.org
Wed Oct 2 06:43:16 PDT 2013

Far from it Bernado!


What I'm doing is following the request of SHOT's President Bruce Seely and
Atsushi Akera, the lead author of the new report, in circulating its text to
our membership with a request for as many people as possible to read it and
participate in the public comment process at
<http://shot-talk.org/?page_id=30> http://shot-talk.org/?page_id=30. Among
other things, information from the comments will be useful to SHOT's
Executive Council as it ponders the content of the report and considers what
can be done to revitalize SHOT and expand participation in its annual


That will sure strengthen our connection to SHOT. SIGCIS members will get an
insight into how SHOT as a whole is feeling about its position and future,
while the SIGCIS Executive Council will benefit from hearing the thoughts of
our members. The report calls on SHOT to engage with scholars from a broader
range of perspectives and backgrounds, making the insights of our members
particularly useful. If the comments make the Executive Council more aware
of the contribution made by SIGCIS to SHOT as a whole, or of anything we
have been doing to broaden participation that might be usefully adopted
elsewhere in SHOT, then that's another plus.


Oh, and if you have been participating in SIGCIS but not in SHOT as a whole
then you might consider joining. Rates are very reasonable ($64 regular, $34
student) and you get a subscription to Technology and Culture, the leading
journal in the history of technology.


Best wishes,



From: Bernardo Batiz-Lazo [mailto:bbatiz64 at gmail.com] 
Sent: Wednesday, October 02, 2013 3:50 AM
To: thaigh at computer.org
Cc: members at sigcis.org
Subject: Re: [SIGCIS-Members] SHOT is seeking input on its future


Hi Tom

Many thanks for raising this. But are you asking SIGCIS members to consider
becoming an independent entity from SHOT?



Bangor University (Wales)


On 2 Oct 2013, at 06:31, Thomas Haigh wrote:

Hello SIGCIS members,


Atushi Akera has asked me to forward the messages below, which relate to a
draft report on SHOT's current challenges and future now available at


SHOT is the parent organization of SIGCIS, and our annual workshop is held
in conjunction with the main SHOT meeting.


The report is interesting reading. I hadn't been aware that SHOT was having
the problems discussed in keeping up its membership and meeting attendance.
Although SIGCIS is not mentioned by name, you do see our influence in
various places.  The table on page 11 has "computing and information" as the
largest category for papers at the upcoming annual meeting, and the graph of
attendees at the meetings on page 1 shows that attendance at the annual
meeting dropped from almost 600 in 2007 to barely 200 in 2010. So while
registrations for our business lunch and workshop have both been stable at
around 45-55 each (with considerable overlap), that makes me realize that
SIGCIS has become a larger  share of the overall meeting since 2007 just by
holding steady. It also suggests that the work we've done to attract SIGCIS
members to SHOT meetings must have done a great deal to keep them
financially viable during the darkest days of the recession.


There's a sense running through the report that SHOT has become rather
insular. In SIGCIS we've had success in brining scholars from outside the
existing core history of technology community to our sessions and workshops,
broadening the range of perspectives represented. In some cases this has
produced new active members for SHOT. If other SIGS were similarly active
then SHOT would be a significantly larger and more diverse organization. The
draft report mentions SIGs as a way to "extend the intellectual agenda of
SHOT" but does not explicitly position them as a means of dealing with the
challenge of broaden SHOT's geographical diversity, reversing its sliding
membership, etc. (In fact it notes that SIGs may be "less fluid" as a way of
dealing with "new and emergent areas" than the development of
non-traditional panel formats). There's also some discussion of SHOT's
committee structure, which I confess I have never really understood and is
not fully explained on its website. But certainly SIGs could be better
integrated into SHOT's governance.


As became apparent previously when I was trying to explain SHOT's particular
customs to outsiders via this list there are some things that SHOT takes for
granted that can be confusing to outsiders when they are trying to get onto
its program. We raised some issues with its executive council years ago, but
there is definitely scope for improvement regarding

.         Posting of rules somewhere - e.g. the one about not presenting two
years running

.         Being more explicit about review process, what a commentator does,
there being no proceedings, etc. - as we do on the SIGCIS workshop CFP.

.         Giving some feedback to rejected proposals. Someone could be
rejected repeatedly and never know why.


Little things like that could make a big difference to SHOT's ability to
attract proposals from those whose disciplinary or geographical backgrounds
mean they can't pick them up as craft knowledge during their graduate


However those are just my thoughts and SHOT is encouraging everyone to leave
feedback at  <http://shot-talk.org/?page_id=30>
http://shot-talk.org/?page_id=30. It would be good to have the thoughts of
as many SIGCIS members represented as possible. If you have just attended
one SHOT meeting or SIGCIS event that makes you the kind of potential active
member SHOT is interested in attracting so your thoughts would be
particularly useful to its leaders. In fact if you thought about attending
SHOT but didn't (abstract rejected, program looked too dull, etc) then that
would also be a valuable perspective.


Best wishes,




From: Akera, Atsushi [mailto:akeraa at rpi.edu] 
Sent: Tuesday, October 01, 2013 10:57 PM
To: rob at furglu.com; taeho.kim.75 at gmail.com; Thomas Haigh; hackerb at si.edu;
MARSH, ALLISON; secretary at sigcis.org; Jonathan Coopersmith; Chris Jones;
anna.aberg at abe.kth.se; tisha.hooks at yale.edu; Deborah Douglas; Andrew
Butrica; Geoff Zylstra;cxsgla at rit.edu; Andrew Russell; eric.nystrom at rit.edu
Cc: lhe.lpf at cbs.dk; Audra Wolfe (audrajwolfe at gmail.com); sgk23 at drexel.edu;
slatonae at drexel.edu; Erik Rau (erau at Hagley.org)
Subject: FW: [Shotnews] Something Different for SHOT's Annual Meeting, 2013


Hi Everyone (SHOT SIG Chairs & Officers),


So one of the main pieces of this year's Presidential Roundtables is a
report put together by the Ad Hoc Committee on Structure and Organization.
This is a report that opens a conversation the future opportunities and
directions for SHOT. Comments are already being posted on the website at
this link:




While SIGs are in fact mentioned in one part of the report, what's more
important is for there to be broadly representative conversations about the
recommendations in the report. As such, we'd appreciate it if you could send
a follow up to Bruce's note (below) and encourage all of the members within
your SIG to chime in on the conversation. Comments can be left at the bottom
of the page listed above, (under "Leave a Reply"). (You can simply forward
this note, with your endorsement.)


I've also attached a copy of the committee's report for everyone's
convenience. And yes, please let us know what you think!


- Atsushi

(On behalf of the Ad Hoc Committee on Structure and Organization)


From: shotnews-bounces at muse.jhu.edu [mailto:shotnews-bounces at muse.jhu.edu]
On Behalf Of Society for the History of Technology News
Sent: Monday, September 30, 2013 2:15 PM
To: shotnews at historyoftechnology.org
Subject: [Shotnews] Something Different for SHOT's Annual Meeting, 2013


Dear SHOT members,

As part of the Annual Meeting program upcoming in Portland (11-14 October
2013), I invite you to read on-line the short texts provided by the
participants in the opening plenary and various roundtables that will take
place during the meeting.  Even more, we solicit your comments, feedback and
suggestions about the session topics and the individual papers through a
blog feature - the first time SHOT has offered such an option tied to
sessions and papers.  Our goal is to stimulate a discussion among the
Society's members about SHOT's intellectual directions and activities.  I
and the Executive Council strongly urge you to peruse the materials before
the meeting, participate in the sessions once you are in Portland, and post
your thoughts and ideas during and after the session.  We seek to align the
Society with exciting intellectual trends and also to help historians of
technology make more visible contributions to the development of those
trends.  We also want to insure that SHOT is responsive to the needs and
interests of its members. Thus for the first time, even if  you cannot be in
Portland, you can interact with this important discussion about SHOT's
future. So please use this vehicle!  We want to hear your ideas and


Here's how it works. For posting materials and the creation of the blog
sites, a familiar layout has been used, specifically a wordpress template
customized with SHOT branding.  Everyone who logs on can access the Plenary
and Roundtables blog from the main "SHOT Talk" website (go to shot-talk.org)
>From the same page, you also will be able to access a conference blog once
the meeting actually gets underway. 


There will be two options for entering your comments.  (1)  Go to a
particular panel (roundtable or plenary) to read and comment;  or (2) enter
comments at this top level. For example, you will find a notice about the Ad
Hoc Membership committee report at this level - it is well worth reading.
If you go to a particular panel, you'll see a short note about each paper
followed by a "click here for more" button that will open the entire
document. Readers may download or print files, or just read the text in your


I hope many of you can find a few minutes to read the posted texts and join
those offering comments and feedback.  This is a new initiative for SHOT,
one that has been advanced through the effort of many people, including the
program committee, the roundtable and plenary participants, and the officers
and Executive Council.  But special recognition goes to Technology and
Culture editor Suzanne Moon, who has coordinated the effort to make the
materials accessible. 


We look forward to a good meeting - but even those of you not in Portland
can, thanks to the marvel of social media, offer your input and comments.
Travel safe and best wishes!



Bruce Seely

Society for the History of Technology



(**Please excuse me if this message seems brief. Especially during my
sabbatical year, I am trying to limit my replies to five (5) lines or less.
I'm sure you'll appreciate this in turn!**)


Atsushi Akera

Associate Professor, Department of Science and Technology Studies

Rensselaer Polytechnic institute

110 8th Street

Troy, NY 12180  USA

cel: 518.300.0613/fx:518.276-2659/e:akeraa at rpi.edu /w:


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