[SIGCIS-Members] ACM human-computer interaction history effort

Jonathan Grudin jgrudin at microsoft.com
Fri Oct 18 15:51:28 PDT 2019

Hello all,

The ACM Special Interest Group on Computer-Human Interaction has just initiated an effort to foster historical research by collecting materials that students, historians, and others can freely access. With no historians, taxonomists, data repository experts as yet attached to the project, there is ample opportunity to participate and lead parts of the project.

There are three principal efforts.

  1.  Digitize paper and video material from the past. This is underway. Brad Myers of CMU is working on paper, Catherine Plaisant of UMD on video.

  1.  Collect oral histories of people who were involved in HCI in different times and regions. People with experience conducting oral histories would be welcome as advisors or participate. Limited funding to cover some costs or to conduct an initial model oral history is possible. Ron Baecker (University of Toronto Emeritus, Visiting Professor at Columbia University) is on point for this.

  1.  Design and build a searchable repository with links to existing digital material that describes, analyzes, or synthesizes aspects of HCI's past.

Links not to primary source material but to material that takes a perspective on the past: Sites with anniversary commemoration meeting videos or transcripts, articles that consider an aspect of HCI history, and so on. The repository could include relevant non-digital museum archives and books with brief synopses.

Finding help for (3), designing a flexible system to handle the storage and retrieval of information, the right tags and indices, is the task of Loren Terveen of University of Minnesota and me. A known difficult problem, with different terms used for the same thing at one time or at different times, the same word used for different things at one time or different times, some events occurring on a specific date, others over a stretch of time, some elements are parts of different wholes, and so on. Guidance on this would be great and active participation or leadership welcome.

A starter set of essays, articles, and books can be pulled together, but planning will be needed to collect links to materials from different fields, times, regions and languages.

We can reached at sigchi-history at acm.org<mailto:sigchi-history at acm.org>.


Jonathan Grudin
Principal Researcher, Microsoft
Affiliate Professor, Information School, University of Washington
Website: jonathangrudin.com
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