University of Maryland

CASCI Reading Group

Note: See our past reading group archive for papers previously discussed since 2013.


Researchers, students, and practitioners interested in communities, technology, and information live at the intersection of new and the old. One one hand, we are interested in realizing the potential of emerging technologies and new information resources to enrich communities and enable new forms of interaction. How will the next social technology and the newest information resource enhance communities?  In this sense, the “stuff” of communities, technology, and information is continually emerging, novel, and unknown. On the other hand, the basic problems that face communities and the situations that arise in them as not new at all.   Conflict, crime, education, commerce, governance, medicine, scarcity, hunger — none of these are new problems.  Similarly, communities, families, trust (and distrust), identity, and competition are all phenomena that have a long history as objects of study and research.

A central premise of the Center for the Advanced Study of Communities and Information (CASCI) is that developing, understanding, and applying social science theory is an important part of bridging the gap between the wealth of existing knowledge and the specifics of emerging technologies and communities.

The purpose of the CASCI Reading Group is to provide an opportunity for us to read and discuss theory-oriented research papers that introduce concepts and models that could be applied to describing, explaining, and addressing situations that arise at the intersection communities, technology and information.

The CASCI Reading Group will meet every other week (see the schedule below for the specific times and locations).  Each session will be lead by a CASCI Fellow who will select one or two papers to be read.  Participants should come with comments, questions, and opinions about the paper and the ideas it presents.  Specifically, as you read each paper think about:

1. What are the key claims?  Do you believe/accept them?  Why or why not?

2. What existing theories and literature does this paper build on?  How does it go beyond prior work?

3. What phenomena in the domain of communities, technology, and information (broadly defined) might you apply these ideas to?