As I wrote recently, I've been pretty good at keeping my new year's promise of reading academic articles. My goal is to pick 200 pages of mixed academic texts every month and read them all. More specifically, I pick and put the articles in four folders and the goal is to read a folder (= 50 pages) every week. Despite not managing to read all four folders every months - sometimes rather landing at finishing off "only" three folder (=150 pages) - I'm pretty happy with the outcome this far. I haven't been equally good at writing monthly summaries of articles I've read "lately" though. I hope I can catch up before the summer.
Instead of listing the articles alphabetically, I list them folder-wise and say a few words about each (oftentimes topical) folder. During January, I "only" managed to read three folders and the fourth folder was instead pushed/postponed until February. Below are the articles I read in January.
ICT and sustainability from a (mostly) human-computer interaction perspective
Comment: There has been a lot of work on sustainability in the HCI community during the last five years. I only found out about it "recently" (a year ago) and I'm reading up on the topic.
- Laurel, B. (2011). Gaian IxD. interactions, 18(5), 38–46. */ Laurel is obviously an old hippie (the article prominently features pictures of her hugging trees) and the melding of sustainability and "Gaian awareness" goes a little bit too far for me to fully appreciate. "Gaian IxD [interaction design] may enhance Gaian awareness - awareness of our belongingness to the complex dynamic system we call Earth". /*
- Liu, T., Ding, X., Lu, T., & Gu, N (submitted). "From awareness to management practice: An electricity feedback system in a university dormitory in China". Submitted to the CHI conference but rejected (acceptance rate = 20%). Resubmitted elsewhere - I might update this reference later. */ "HCI's approach towards eco-feedback has largely focused on system design rather than studying adoption and effects in the field. [...] We draw upon our involvement in a long-term project to develop and deploy and energy-monitoring platform at a university campus in Shanghai." /* **// A reworked version of the paper added another co-author and was accepted to the UbiComp'13 conference. The paper is now called "The collective infrastructural work of electricity: Exploring feedback in a prepaid university dorm in China". //**
- Mankoff, J. C., Blevis, E., Borning, A., Friedman, B., Fussell, S. R., Hasbrouck, J., Woodruff, A., et al. (2007). Environmental sustainability and interaction. CHI’07 extended abstracts on Human factors in computing systems (pp. 2121–2124). ACM. */ Three-page prep that sets the scene for a Special Interest Group meeting at the huge CHI conference. "sustainability can and should be a central focus of the field of human computer interaction". /*
- Tomlinson, B., Patterson, D. J., Pan, Y., Blevis, E., Nardi, B., Norton, J., & LaViola Jr, J. J. (2012). What if sustainability doesn’t work out? interactions, 19(6), 50–55. */ The same reasoning that was behind the very much recommended "Collapse informatics" paper but now rebranded ("adaptation informatics") and repackaged to a new, larger audience. "Adaptation informatics entail the study, design, and development of sociotechnical systems for use in a future characterized by global change". /*
- Woodruff, A., Hasbrouck, J., & Augustin, S. (2008). A bright green perspective on sustainable choices. Proceeding of the twenty-sixth annual SIGCHI conference on Human factors in computing systems (pp. 313–322). ACM. */ "We present a qualitative study of 35 United States households whose occupants have made significant accommodations to their homes and behaviors in order to be more environmentally responsible". They are interested in motivations, practice, experiences and the use (or non-use) of technology in informants' efforts. /*
- Zapico, J. L., Turpeinen, M., & Brandt, N. (2009). Climate persuasive services: changing behavior towards low-carbon lifestyles. Proceedings of the 4th International Conference on Persuasive Technology (p. 14). ACM. */ I re-read this paper as part of preparing to be the discussant/opponent at Jorge Zapico's draft ph.d. thesis. Climate persuasive services are "ICT applications that change personal attitudes regarding climate change and/or change behavior towards reducing greenhouse gases emissions."/*
ICT and sustainability from a (mostly) ICT for sustainability perspective.
I read these articles partly to get a better feeling for what my colleagues at CESC might read, i.e. non-HCI perspectives on ICT and sustainability
- Dobernig, K., Røpke, I., Grubbe, M., & Blum, M. (2009). Green ICT for Growth and Sustainability. Background paper, 1st Multinational knowledge brokerage event, Vienna University of Economics and Business, 30 May - 1 June 2012. */ This was a "background report" for a great workshop I attended a year ago and it only took me half a year to read it... "The main objectives are to help improve the management of potential political, social and economic contradictions of sustainable consumption with economic growth, bridge the gap between science and policy, and foster mutual understanding between the "pro-growth community" and the "beyond-growth community". /*
- Ellis, M., & Jollands, N. (2009). Gadgets and Gigawatts: Policies for Energy Efficient Electronics. OECD/IEA. */ A 400 pages long IEA (International Energy Agency†) report about consumer electronics from an energy usage/energy savings perspective. I read only the foreword and the executive summary. The implicit view purported in the report is very top-down; 1) collect information, 2) make decision and 3) convince consumers". As electronic devices have become more affordable, numbers have increased dramataically and "electronic devices have made a major contribution to the recent growth in total residential electricity use and will become one of the largest end-use categories in years to come." /*
- Malmodin, J., Moberg, Å., Lundén, D., Finnveden, G., & Lövehagen, N. (2010). Greenhouse gas emissions and operational electricity use in the ICT and entertainment & media sectors. Journal of Industrial Ecology, 14(5), 770–790. */ An LCA study of the global footprint of the ICT and media sectors - written by CESC colleagues of mine. Still, while the final figure (The Footprint) is both interesting and important, LCA studies are far from exiting to read. Lots of text about methodology and of (partly arbitrary) delimitations and decision taken and lots of tables (e.g. "Operational electricity (TWh) and total CO2-eq emissions (Mt) relating to ICT and its subsectors in 2007") /*
- Seetharam, A., Somasundaram, M., Towsley, D., Kurose, J., & Shenoy, P. (2010). Shipping to streaming: is this shift green? Proceedings of the first ACM SIGCOMM workshop on Green networking (pp. 61–68). ACM. */ "we investigate the environmental- and energy-related impacts of [shipping vs streaming] of movie content delivery." Streaming a movie consumes 80% of the energy needed to ship a DVD disc, "but has a carbon footprint that is approximately 100% higher". These figures can be reduced significantly, but movies can easily balloon in size (Blu-Ray & 3D = "we can imagine future movie sizes of 150 GB"). Moreover, "Some customers might want to watch movies multiple times" - incurring no additional environmental costs in the shipping scenario but multiplying the costs in the streaming scenario. /*
- Williams, E. (2001). Environmental effects of information and communication technologies. Nature, 479 (Nov 17, 2011), 354-358. */ Short but extremely compact text summing up the environmental effects of ICT on different levels; 1)physical level, 2) ICT applications, 3) economic growth and consumption patterns and 4) industry, technology convergence and society. "Society's response to the energy used by ICTs has focused mainly on improving the efficiency of the operational phase of devices" /*
ICT and sustainability in relation to teaching and to ICT for development (ICT4D)
Comment: a few papers I read to understand the relationship between ICT4S and ICT4D and some paper "summing things up".
- Ali, M., & Bailur, S. (2007). The challenge of “sustainability” in ICT4D–Is Bricolage the answer?. Proceedings of the 9th International Conference on Social Implications of Computers in Developing Countries, São Paulo, Brazil (May 2007). */ "We argue that sustainability is an unrealistic concept, which is difficult to operationalize". Although defining sustainability is a drag, the authors quickly set out to argue that sustainability is "contradictory to the life cycle itself, where nothing can be perpetual". After having set up this straw man, the authors slaughter it and argue that "bricolage" is the way to go. I found the thinking in this paper confused and didn't agree with the authors. /*
- Brewer, E., Demmer, M., Du, B., Ho, M., Kam, M., Nedevschi, S., Pal, J., et al. (2005). The case for technology in developing regions. Computer, 38(6), 25–38. */ Overview of the area ICT for development (ICT4D). "Alongside good governance, technology is considered among the greatest enablers for improved quality of life. However, the majority of its benefits have been concentrated in industrialized nations and therefor limited to a fraction of the world's population. [...] there has been little work on how technology needs in developing regions differ from those of industrialized nations." Great article. /*
- Jabareen, Y. (2011). Teaching sustainability: A multidisciplinary approach. Creative Education, 2(4), 388–392. */ "this paper suggest a new conceptual framework for teaching sustainability that assumes the multidisciplinary nature of sustainability". I don't know where I got this article from, but I have a really bad feeling about the open-access journal where it was published. Creative Education has an "Article Processing Charge" of 800 USD for a paper of 10 pages ("You can make payment via Bank Transfer, Paypal or Western Union"). Authors in 3rd world countries ("group one countries") are not charged a fee and authors in 2nd world countries ("group two countries") are granted 50% discount. /*
- Mann, S., Smith, L., & McGregor, G. (2011). A research framework for sustainable software. Presented at the 2nd annual conference of Computing and Information Technology Research and Education New Zealand (CITRENZ 2011). */ "This paper proposes a conceptual Sustainability Lens as an underlying metaphor for a research agenda in development of a sustainable approach to software development. [...] Imagine you had a pair of glasses that [...] looked at the world through a "sustainable lens". What would you see?" Implicit message: unsustainability is just an issue of not having enough information. /*
- Mann, S., Muller, L., Davis, J., Roda, C., & Young, A. (2010). Computing and sustainability: evaluating resources for educators. ACM SIGCSE Bulletin, 41(4), 144–155. */ "This paper aims to address a barrier to the integration of sustainability into computing teaching - that of a perceived paucity of resources. [...] This paper describes the development of a "framework" Computing Education for Sustainability (CE4S)". This is stringent study of how to analyze (ICT4S) issues, evaluate (ICT4S) resources and match (ICT4S) needs. Good article of potential practical use for educators. /*
† There's a short blurb about The International Energy Agency in the beginning of the report. IEA was established in 1974 (i.e. directly after the 1973 oil crisis) and first among its seven "basic aims" are "To maintain and improve systems for coping with oil supply disruptions". I predict they will have a tougher time living up to that aim during the next decade than they've had during the previous four decades since their founding.