Journal of Systems Integration, Vol 5, No 4 (2014)

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Conceptualising Digital Materiality and its Socio-Technical Implications through the Phenomenon of Crowdsourcing

Patricia Morizio


Digital materiality is a relatively new concept in the information systems literature that attempts to give “substance” to, or explain the material properties of, digital artefacts. These artefacts, such as software programs, are challenging our traditional assumptions of what is “materiality”. Crowdsourcing or the aggregation of publicly-reported data for a variety of purposes – from tracking instances of violence within a geographic area, to coordinating information for aid agencies working in humanitarian emergency situations – is an example technology that transcends the line of a purely physical or digital object. This paper will briefly touch on the definition of digital materiality within IS thought, followed by a discussion of how crowdsourcing fits into its conceptualisation, namely in terms of its characteristics and organisational consequences. The purpose is to instantiate the more theoretical notion of digital materiality through a tangible technology with far-reaching socio-technical implications.

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ISSN: 1804-2724

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