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Author

Clay Spinuzzi

Other affiliations: Texas Tech University
Bio: Clay Spinuzzi is an academic researcher from University of Texas at Austin. The author has contributed to research in topics: Entrepreneurship & Technical communication. The author has an hindex of 27, co-authored 85 publications receiving 3447 citations. Previous affiliations of Clay Spinuzzi include Texas Tech University.


Papers
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Journal ArticleDOI
TL;DR: In this article, the authors report on a 20-month study that investigates what service mobile professionals actually purchase with their monthly fee and how they describe that service from an activity theory perspective, what are its object, outcome, and actors.
Abstract: Mobile professionals can choose to work in offices, executive suites, home offices, or other spaces. But some have instead chosen to work at coworking spaces: open-plan office environments in which they work alongside other unaffiliated professionals for a fee of approximately $250 a month. But what service are they actually purchasing with that monthly fee? How do they describe that service? From an activity theory perspective, what are its object, outcome, and actors? This article reports on a 20-month study that answers such questions.

521 citations

Book
26 Sep 2003
TL;DR: Clay Spinuzzi examines the everyday improvisations by workers who deal with designed information and shows how understanding this impromptu creation can improve information design and considers how the insights reached in studying genre innovation can guide information design itself.
Abstract: In Tracing Genres through Organizations, Clay Spinuzzi examines the everyday improvisations by workers who deal with designed information and shows how understanding this impromptu creation can improve information design He argues that the traditional user-centered approach to design does not take into consideration the unofficial genres that spring up as workers write notes, jot down ideas, and read aloud from an officially designed text These often ephemeral innovations in information design are vital components in a genre ecology (the complex of artifacts mediating a given activity) When these innovations are recognized for what they are, they can be traced and their evolution as solutions to recurrent design problems can be studied Spinuzzi proposes a sociocultural method for studying these improvised innovations that draws on genre theory (which provides the unit of analysis, the genre) and activity theory (which provides a theory of mediation and a way to study the different levels of activity in an organization)After defining terms and describing the method of genre tracing, the book shows the methodology at work in four interrelated studies of traffic workers in Iowa and their use of a database of traffic accidents These workers developed an ingenious array of ad hoc innovations to make the database better serve their needs Spinuzzi argues that these inspired improvisations by workers can tell us a great deal about how designed information fails or succeeds in meeting workers' needs He concludes by considering how the insights reached in studying genre innovation can guide information design itself

334 citations

Journal ArticleDOI
TL;DR: A genre ecologies framework is described, designed to help researchers and documentors account for contingency, decentralization, and stability in the multiple texts the people use while working with computers.
Abstract: Arguing that current approaches to understanding and constructing computer documentation are based on the flawed assumption that documentation works as a closed system, the authors present an alternative way of thinking about the texts that make computer technologies usable for people. Using two historical case studies, the authors describe how a genre ecologies framework provides new insights into the complex ways that people use texts to make sense of computer technologies. The framework is designed to help researchers and documentors account for contingency, decentralization, and stability in the multiple texts the people use while working with computers. The authors conclude by proposing three heuristic tools to support the work of technical communicators engaged in developing documentation today: exploratory questions, genre ecology diagrams, and organic engineering.

161 citations

Journal ArticleDOI
TL;DR: Traditional software usability methods can help us design more understandable and more useful application program interfaces (APIs) but they also give us information the authors need to write good API reference documentation.
Abstract: Traditional software usability methods can help us design more understandable and more useful application program interfaces (APIs). They also give us information we need to write good API reference documentation-before we invest in either programmers or writers and before evolving a large body of code or content.

118 citations


Cited by
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Journal ArticleDOI
TL;DR: Holquist as mentioned in this paper discusses the history of realism and the role of the Bildungsroman in the development of the novel in Linguistics, philosophy, and the human sciences.
Abstract: Note on Translation Introduction by Michael Holquist Response to a Question from the Novy Mir Editorial Staff The Bildungsroman and Its Significance in the History of Realism (Toward a Historical Typology of the Novel) The Problem of Speech Genres The Problem of the Text in Linguistics, Philology, and the Human Sciences: An Experiment in Philosophical Analysis From Notes Made in 1970-71 Toward a Methodology for the Human Sciences Index

2,824 citations

01 Jan 2016

1,572 citations

Journal ArticleDOI
TL;DR: The Pasteurization of France can be viewed as a battle, with its field and its myriad contestants, in which opposing sides attempted to mould and coerce various forces of resistance.
Abstract: BRUNO LATOUR, The pasteurization of France, trans. Alan Sheridan and John Law, Cambridge, Mass., and London, Harvard University Press, 1988, 8vo, pp. 273, £23.95. GEORGES CANGUILHEM, Ideology and rationality in the history of the life sciences, trans. Arthur Goldhammer, Cambridge, Mass., and London, The MIT Press, 1988, 8vo, pp. xi, 160, £17.95. Bruno Latour has written a wonderfully funny book about himself. It is difficult, however, to summarize a text committed to the view that \"Nothing is, by itself, either reducible or irreducible to anything else\", (p. 158). In Latour's opinion, the common view that sociologists of knowledge and scientists are opposed is incorrect. Both groups, according to Latour, are the authors of identical mistakes: reductionism and, relatedly, attempting to conjoin (in the instance of the sociologist) science and society, or (in the instance of the scientist) keeping them apart. For Latour, there are only forces or resistances which different groups encounter and attempt to conquer by forming alliances. These groups, however, are not simply the actors of conventional sociology. They include, for example, microbes, the discovery of the Pasteurians, with which they have populated our world and which we must now take notice of in any encounter or war in which we engage. War is a fundamental metaphor for Latour, since in a war or a battle clashes of armies are later called the \"victory\" of a Napoleon or a Kutuzov. Likewise, he argues, the Pasteurization of France can be viewed as a battle, with its field and its myriad contestants, in which opposing sides attempted to mould and coerce various forces of resistance. Strangely, he points out, the outcome of this huge battle, the labour and struggle of these masses, we attribute to the scientific genius of Pasteur. Pasteur's genius, however, says Latour, lay not in science (for this could be yet another way of making science and society distinct) but as strategist. Pasteur was able to cross disciplinary lines, recruiting allies to laboratory science by persuading them that they were recruiting him. This was possible because, like the armies in battle, they had already done the work of the general. Thus Pasteur's microbiology, which might conventionally be seen as a whole new science, can also be construed as a brilliant reformulation of all that preceded it and made it possible. Hygienists seized on the work of the Pasteurians and the two rapidly became powerful allies because \"The time that they [the hygienists] had made was now working for them\" (p. 52). French physicians, on the other hand, resisted recruitment, since for them it meant enslavement. Finally, however, they recruited the Pasteurians to their enterprise. Pasteurian public health was turned into a triumph of medicine. It is impossible to read this book and not substitute Latour for Pasteur. At the head of his own army, increasingly enlarged by the recruitment of allies, Latour now presents us, in his own language, with something we have made, or at least made possible. The cynic might say, using the old jibe against sociologists, that Latour has explained to us in his own language everything we knew anyway. Retorting thus, however, would be to unselfconsciously make an ally of Latour and miss the point by a narrow margin that might as well be a million miles. Latour says all this much more clearly (and certainly more wittily) than any review. Read it, but beware; in spite of Latour's strictures about irreducibility, the text is not what it seems. This is a recruitment brochure: Bruno needs you. Among the many historians whom Latour convicts by quotation of mistaking the general for the army, Pasteur for all the forces at work in French society, is Georges Canguilhem. Latour uses two quotes from Canguilhem, both taken from the original French version of Ideology and rationality in the life sciences, first published in 1977. Reading Canguilhem after Latour induces a feeling akin to culture shock. Astonishingly, Canguilhem seems almost Anglo-American. Anyone familiar with Canguilhem's epistemological universe would hardly be surprised to discover that Latour finds in it perspectives different from his own. After all, Canguilhem remains committed to the epistemologically distinct entity science or, better still, sciences. Likewise he employs distinctions between science and ideology, as in Spencerian ideology and Darwinian science, which will seem familiar, possibly jaded to English-reading eyes. His text is liberally seeded with unLatourian expressions, including injunctions to distinguish \"between ideology and science\" (p. 39), lamentations that eighteenth-century medicine \"squandered its energy in the erection of systems\" (p. 53), rejoicing that physiology \"liberated itself' from classical anatomy (p. 54), and regret that \"Stahl's influence ... seriously impeded experimental

1,212 citations