[ANN] NYC Smalltalk - Ethnography and System Design

NYC Smalltalk will hold its next meeting on Wednesday May 28th, 2003.

Location: Suite LLC offices
Address: 440 9th Avenue, 8th Floor
Time: 6:30pm to 7:00pm – Open house
7:00to 8:30 pm – Ethnography and System Design

See below for abstract and bios.


Take E or C train to 34th (Penn Station) walk to corner of 34th and
8th. Walk up one block to 9th.

RSVP is requested. Please send mail to: charles@ocit.com
with subject line of: NYC Smalltalk May 28th, 2003

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NYC Smalltalk


Date: May 28th, 2003


Ethnography is the output of anthropological study; literally it
means “writing people” or “writing culture” and it is usually a
detailed description of a particular people, organization or type of
work. What, you might ask, does this have to do with computer system

For the past 30 years, methods from traditional anthropology have
been used to study people and their work and apply what is learned
to designing computer systems. This presentation describes these
methods and their application. We’ll tell you how an Anthropologist
got started in the Smalltalk lab at Xerox PARC and how an engineer
got involved with anthropologists. We’ll draw the connections to
certain European software communities (e.g., Kristen Nygaard and
Participatory Design), tell you about a few of our projects and what
we are doing now.

Our contention is that especially in an environment that emphasizes
agile, iterative approaches to software, observing technology in use
is an important capability that software system architects,
designers, and developers can use to insure successful design,
development and deployment.


William L. Anderson


Bill is a co-founder of PRAXIS101. His consulting practice focuses
on user-centered systems architecture, participatory design,
software development practice innovation, and organizational


Prior to founding Praxis101 Bill was a Software Architect for Xerox
Corporation, where he developed service discovery software as part
of an agent-based, peer-to-peer, document services middleware
infrastructure. He pioneered codevelopment and participatory
customer collaborations in rapid prototyping and product development
in projects that put end-users and engineers together, jointly
developing and deploying new products. Prior to Xerox, Bill worked
in the telecom, networking, and pharmaceutical industries. Bill
holds a Ph.D. in Theoretical Chemistry from Rensselaer Polytechnic
Institute. He is currently serving on the National Research
Council’s National Committee on Data for Science and Technology, and
speaks internationally on issues of preservation and access to
scientific and technical data.

Susan L. Anderson


Susan is a co-founder of PRAXIS101and fassforward consulting group.
She uses her expertise with cultural nuance, transformation and
innovation to help companies break through their tough problems,
plan for the future and productively engage employees and customers.


Formerly, Susan was Senior Director for Gartner.Com (covering users,
technologies and competitive intelligence) where she helped build
the next generation Gartner.Com. Prior to that, at Xerox, she was
instrumental in developing collaborative, socio-technical approaches
to the design of new technology (from knowledge solutions to remote
collaboration tools and systems to document management systems).
Susan’s work has also emphasized change initiatives in corporations,
education, health care and international development. She has been
an active contributor to professional conferences and organizations.
Susan holds a Ph.D. in Anthropology; she has written on topics from
technology’s role in health decision making to technology-mediated

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