University of Maryland

Information infrastructures for creative knowledge work

February 9th, 2020 by

Reading Group – Tuesday, March 3rd, 2020
11:00 am – 12:00 noon
HBK South 2119

Guest Speaker – Tuesday, March 10th, 2020
11:00 am – 12:00 noon
HBK South 2119


Reading Group (March 3)

This reading helps setup for the next week’s talk with Joel Chan and was selected by him to help inform his presentation and discussion. The reading group is not necessary to attend the presentation. All are welcome to join us for both.

Citation: Strike, K., & Posner, G. (1983). Types of Synthesis and Their Criteria. In S.A. Ward, & L.J. Reed (Eds.), Knowledge Structure and Use: Implications for Synthesis and Interpretation (pp. 344-361). Philadelphia: Temple University Press.
Keywords: synthesis, types of synthesis, conceptual innovation, intellectual activities, dialectics, criteria of synthesis.
Led by: Shawn Janzen


Talk with Joel Chan (March 10)
Information infrastructures for creative knowledge work


What would our information infrastructure look like if it were optimized for creativity? Effective infrastructure is indispensable for enabling routine, effective work: so much of what we enjoy in modern civilization is under-girded by effective infrastructures like telephone networks, the Internet, shipping routes, truck highways, railroads, airways, standards for time, electrical systems, and so on. Information infrastructures such as search engines, classification systems, and libraries control how we access and assemble information to do information work. But are they designed with creative work in mind? What would our information standards and highways look like if they were designed so that creativity becomes more of a choice and less of a chance occurrence? To answer this question, we need to integrate a deep understanding of how creativity works (what is) with an exploration of design possibilities (what could be). I am keen to discuss one particular thread we are exploring: how to build authoring tools that enable scholars and scientists to record their ideas (e.g., notes on literature they read, novel hypotheses and theories) in a way that makes it easier for themselves and others to remix for creative sensemaking and synthesis. The overarching goal is to significantly increase knowledge workers’ access to the full range of relevant knowledge for their work, including those that might lie outside their domains of expertise.

Speaker Bio

Dr. Joel Chan

Joel Chan is an Assistant Professor in the University of Maryland’s College of Information Studies (iSchool), and Human-Computer Interaction Lab (HCIL). His research and teaching focus on the intersection of people, information, and creativity. He wants to know how they (can best) combine to enable us to design the future(s) we want to live in. His work has been recognized with a Best Paper Award at the ASME Design Theory and Methodology Conference, the Design Studies Award 2015, and supported by an NSF Doctoral Dissertation Improvement Grant. Previously, he was a Postdoctoral Research Fellow and Project Scientist in the Human-Computer Interaction Institute at Carnegie Mellon University. He received his Ph.D. in Cognitive Psychology at the University of Pittsburgh. Learn more about Joel Chan on his website and Twitter: @JoelChan86.


Meeting Location

CASCI Group Activities:
2119 Hornbake Bldg. South Wing
11:00 am – 12:00 noon

Map image of Hornbake Library.  Click map image to open UMD map directions to the Hornbake Library.
Click map for directions to Hornbake Bldg.

Remote Participation

This CASCI meetings are live streamed using WebEx.

Attend virtually:
Meeting number: 732 243 809
Host key: 551358
Link forwards to the longer meeting URL. You may need to install WebEx software.

Join by video system:
Join by phone:
+1-415-655-0002 (alt.)
Access code: 732 243 809