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Contextualizing Technical Reports: in an Information Ecological Justice Framework Ellen-Rae Cachola May 25, 2010 Information Ecology.

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Presentation on theme: "Contextualizing Technical Reports: in an Information Ecological Justice Framework Ellen-Rae Cachola May 25, 2010 Information Ecology."— Presentation transcript:

1 Contextualizing Technical Reports: in an Information Ecological Justice Framework Ellen-Rae Cachola May 25, 2010 Information Ecology

2 Philosophy of Information Ecology Modeling an information environment suited to living things, not machines and buildings (Davenport, 1997, 11) Ecological Justice o First National People of Color Environmental Leadership Summit. o Racism, classism and western colonization are factors of concentration of environmental destruction within poor and communities of color Environmental Justice defined by the EPA. o Environmental Justice is the fair treatment and meaningful involvement of all people regardless of race, color, national origin, or income with respect to the development, implementation, and enforcement of environmental laws, regulations, and policies. Structural Violence o Social structure of institution prevents people from meeting their basic needs - Johan Galtung. o Sickness of subaltern or marginalized people is caused by historical and economic processes and forces that conspire to constrain individual agency - Paul Farmer How does the structure of the ecology inform the contents of technical reports?

3 What is a Technical Report? Communicates findings about research Research aims to solve a particular problem. clearly defined, focused question, and how your solution will address it. Basic elements of a technical report are:elements 1.Transmittal Letter - context 2.Title Page 3.Abstract - what's important 4.Executive Summary - key points and conclusions 5.Table of Contents 6.List of Figures & List of Tables - standards 7.Report Body - intro, sections, conclusions 8.References - check your style 9.Appendices - other information 10.Graphics Forms of Technical Reports o Publications in journals o Microfiche o Electronic Documents

4 The National Technical Information Service (NTIS) Developed to improve transfer of technical knowledge from government to private sector, to improve competitiveness of U.S. business and industry in the global economy President Truman created a Publications Board to review scientific and technology research documents produced in WWII Public Law Department of Commerce created a National Clearinghouse to collect and distribute scientific and technical research - the NTIS The American Technical Pre-Eminence Act (ATPA) - all federally produced or financed scientific, technical and engineering research submitted to the NTIS - centralize all technical reports Standardized to microfilm, then to electronic record

5 What kind of Tech Reports does NTIS hold? Departments and Agencies who Submit Tech Reports Dept of Defense Dept of Energy NASA EPA National Institute of Standards and Technology Dept of the Interior NSF Department of Health and Human Services Largest subject coverage out of 350 include Physics Chemistry Medicine Biology

6 Fedspending.org Database created by the 2009 American Recovery and Reinvestment Act o to cut taxes for working families and businesses, increase federal funds for education and healthcare, provide federal money for federal contract, grants and loans, and to show how recovery funds are being used. o This database is an information system looking at the outcomes of technical reports o Prime Recipients May 10, type=a&year=2009&subtype=a&sorttype=tot type=a&year=2009&subtype=a&sorttype=tot

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13 Transparency to Increase Public Trust in Government Spending Contractors are in defense industry and Health Industries Health Inc products were to help TRICARE, Veterans, and U.S. Marshals. Contracts are to support war R & D and health of those who return home from war. What are the values of the structure from which technical reports are emerging out of?

14 Catalog of Federal Domestic Assistance (CFDA) Find federal assistance for programs, projects, services and activities that provide assistance to the American Public. Grants are to improve communication between Federal governments, state and local governments regarding health and human services. Assistance of benefits to accomplish public purpose must support or be authorized by Federal Statutes. Example Program

15 History of the CFDA Federal Program Information Act from the Office of Management and Budget to the General Services Administration (GSA). GSA maintains the Federal assistance information database. Catalog disseminated online. The Office of Management and Budget oversees data collected from technical reports, to ensure that data is being transmitted to Federal Agencies. https://www.cfda.gov/?s=generalinfo&mode=list&tab=list

16 Question: To participate in these funding systems, you are subject to the parameters defined by the funding agency and the law. How effective can the programs be if the law and funding agencies are incongruent to addressing the complex experiences of people? Does the program criteria assume what people need? ColorLines Video on Welfare eCdk&feature=player_embedded

17 Science.gov Gateway to government science information and research results Search of over 42 scientific databases and 200 million pages of science information and over 2000 scientific Websites Clearinghouse facilitates communication across different practices ist.htm

18 National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine (NCCAM) Explores complementary and alternative healing practices in the context of rigorous science o Adheres to scientific research models (literature review, sampling, cohort methods, consensus bldg, clinical trials) CAM%29+%5BSPONSOR%5D+%28yoga %29+%5BTREATMENT%5D?recruiting=fal se

19 Question: Do you think these healing methods can preserve their cultural integrity as they are placed under the scrutiny of evidence- based western science? ist.htm

20 Conclusion Government and corporate structures have their assumptions, which informs the function and organization of technical reports. Technical reports can be used to insert a different worldview in addressing a problem. But, it must be in the standards of existing information formats to participate in the dialogue. Information ecology is also about how one interprets the philosophy of the structure that informational objects are embedded in. This can inform how you interpret the information object.

21 Bibliography and Readings of Possible Interest Case, Donald O Looking for Information: A Survey of Research on Information Seeking, Needs and Behavior, 2nd Edition. Emerald: United Kingdom. Davenport, Thomas and Laurence Prusak Information Ecology: Mastering the Information and Knowledge Environment. Oxford University Press: New York. Environmental Justice Resource Center (EJRC) Environmental Justice in the U.S. and Threats to Quality of Life: Fact Sheet. Clark Atlanta University. Farmer, Paul E., Bruce Nizeye, Sara Stulac, and Salmaan Keshavjee Structural Violence and Clinical Medicine. PLoS Medicine, Furman, Gail and David Guenewald Expanding the Landscape of Social Justice: A Critical Ecological Analysis. Educational Administration Quarterly, 40(1): Galtung, Johan Violence, Peace, and Peace Research. Journal of Peace Research, Vol. 6, (3): Galtung, Johan Cultural Violence. Journal of Peace Research, 27 (3): Philip, Kavita Indian Informational Capital: Revisiting Environment and Development Studies. Capitalism, Nature, Socialism, 20(4): Tibben, William In Want Of Information: A Case Study Of Engineers In The South Pacific', Prometheus, 17(4):


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