The Rob Kling Center for Social Informatics (RKCSI) was established at Indiana University Bloomington to provide a central home for the emerging field of social informatics.
The Rob Kling Center for Social Informatics is dedicated to supporting research into information technology and social change. Social Informatics (SI) refers to the body of research and study that examines the social aspects of computerization, including the role of information technology in social and organizational change, the uses of information technologies in social contexts, and the ways that the social organization of information technology is influenced by social forces and social practices. Social Informatics overlaps other areas including computer-mediated communication (CMC), information systems, information science, “Internet Research,” and parts of Human-Computer Interaction (HCI).
The Center organizes seminars for faculty and graduate students, hosts visiting scholars, publishes a working paper series, provides listings of relevant conferences, activities, and journals.
The Center for Social Informatics (CSI) had its beginnings around 1996 when Rob Kling joined Indiana University’s School of Library and Information Science (SLIS). Rob’s sudden, unexpected death in 2003 put Center activities, and the future of Social Informatics as a field of study at Indiana University, on hold. Several faculty members, including some of Rob’s proteges, stepped forward to continue Social Informatics research and teaching at IU. As their enthusiasm attracted new students with similar interests, the Center soon revived.
To honor Rob’s memory, the Center was officially renamed the Rob Kling Center for Social Informatics (RKCSI) in 2004 and the School of Informatics and Computing (SoIC) became a co-sponsor. Several schools and departments sponsor and support RKCSI activities, emphasizing the interdisciplinary nature of the field.
The Director of the Rob Kling Center for Social Informatics is Dr. Pnina Fichman in the Department of Information & Library Science, Luddy School of Informatics, Computing, and Engineering, Indiana University Bloomington.
The Rob Kling Center for Social Informatics is governed by an Advisory Committee comprised of faculty from various programs at Indiana University, including:
- Barbara Bichelmeyer, Department of Information Systems Technology
- Joshua Danish, Department of Counseling and Educational Psychology
- Alan Dennis, Kelley School of Business
- Hamid Ekbia, Department of Informatics
- Ilana Gershon, Media School
- Anthony Gerth, Kelley School of Business
- Jeff Hart, Department of Political Science
- Eugene McGregor, School of Public and Environmental Affairs
- Emily Metzgar, Media School
- Matt Pierce, Media School
- Howard Rosenbaum, Department of Information and Library Science
- Selma Sabanovic, Department of Informatics
- Harmeet Sawhney, Media School