#critlib 2016-07-19: Value Sensitive Design

Archive of the July 19, 2016 #critlib chat on Value Sensitive Design, moderated by @metageeky. For more info about #critlib, including past and future chats, visit critlib dot org.

  1. I'm Kate, a library dev at the U of Washington in Seattle. I'm also your moderator. Thank you for joining us. #critlib
  2. As a reminder, I'll be asking questions labelled as Q1, Q2, etc. Be sure to include both A1, A2, etc. and the #critlib tag with your replies
  3. For those joining in the #critlib conversation on Value Sensitive Design starting now, questions can be found at  http://critlib.org/value-sensitive-design/ 
  4. Introductions
  5. Let's get started with some introductions. Tell us a little about who you are. #critlib
  6. As I said, I'm a libtech from UW. I used VSD in my doctoral work on assistive tech adoption among adults with dyslexia #critlib
  7. Alan Borning was one of my advisors and I even took a VSD course directly from Batya Friedman #critlib
  8. Hi #critlib, I'm an academic cataloger in central Minnesota, where I took this picture today. #summerinMN https://t.co/syrzIScfMF
    Hi #critlib, I'm an academic cataloger in central Minnesota, where I took this picture today. #summerinMN pic.twitter.com/syrzIScfMF
  9. Jessica, academic librarian w many hats, and I know very little about Value Sensitive Design--here to learn #critlib  https://twitter.com/metageeky/status/755568127400742912 
  10. Hey #critlib! Ryan here. I'm a community college instruction & outreach librarian in Boise, ID (whose hills are currently on fire).
  11. I'm excited about tonight's #critlib as a way into VSD. The readings look *~fantastic~* but I haven't been able to do them yet.
  12. Hi #critlib from an academic librarian in California. Had not heard about Value Sensitive Design, glanced at articles.
  13. I guess everyone is being shy tonight (or really that "car accident" curious about the RNC). Let's get going into our questions. #critlib
  14. Hi #critlib! Late due to little league. Academic nstruction librarian in Brooklyn! @metageeky
  15. Q1. How would you define Value Sensitive Design?
  16. A1. I know it's probably difficult to distill to 140 characters, @metageeky, but do you have a succinct answer for Q1? #critlib
  17. A1 Making design decisions based on your values?? (I did look at the materials a few weeks ago, I swear!) #critlib  https://twitter.com/metageeky/status/755569376112226305 
  18. A1: To me, the key aspect is recognizing that society shapes how tech is used and tech usage shapes society. #critlib
  19. A1: VSD is about designing tech to try to ensure that new tech betters/does not cause harm #critlib
  20. A1: And it does that by focusing on how to identify human values relevant to the tech that should be respected/promoted #critlib
  21. A1. Q1 is proving difficult for me, it just seems so "common sense" that it's hard to determine underlying principles? #critlib
  22. @violetbfox A lot of ethical design seems like it should be "common sense" but history shows we easily forget it. #critlib
  23. @violetbfox So many production systems go out, for example, completely forgetting about disability/accessibility standards #critlib
  24. @violetbfox Actually, it's more than just the users, but the whole network of people with stakes in a system. #critlib
  25. A1. @metageeky Readings sound like Value Sensitive Design focuses on design of objects. Can it also apply to exhibits, instruction? #critlib
  26. @lisahubbell Great question! VSD does come from engineering, so it's more focused on tangible things #critlib
  27. @lisahubbell However, it has been used for intangible concepts like developing privacy policies for web browsers. #critlib
  28. @lisahubbell My doctoral work was less about designing a system but more about sociological investigation/developing design policy #critlib
  29. @metageeky And I liked the examples in your presentation that it could be applied to representing identities in cataloging. #critlib
  30. A1 What interested me in this #critlib chat was the relationship between VSD and accessible design/disability rights  https://twitter.com/metageeky/status/755569376112226305 
  31. @metageeky I used to be a museum exhibit evaluator, and had colleagues who worked on prototyping for visitors w disabilities. #critlib
  32. Let's take a different tach and talk about values with the next question. #critlib
  33. Q2. What are some explicitly-supported values in library work?
  34. Q2. What are some explicitly-supported values in library work? #critlib
  35. Q2: You can also attempt to define what a value is (or is not). If you do, you get a PhD in philosophy and a candy bar #critlib
  36. hey, academic librarian in Ottawa interested in the #critlib conversation, but not sure if I have much to add ...
  37. A2 Well, there are the ALA core values, which are explicitly stated. Tho I don't see explicit $$ support #critlib  https://twitter.com/metageeky/status/755572117022707713 
  38. @schomj I'm not a librarian, so I'm unfamiliar with those. Care to elaborate? #critlib
  39. I like an explicitly-stated value! Helps make an argument for $$, maybe? #critlib @schomj @metageeky
  40. @edrabinski @schomj Explicitly stating a value also helps identify bias. For example, I'm big on disability pride, so IDENTITY was #critlib
  41. @edrabinski @schomj key in my thesis work. However, that could cause tension with my user pop. who wanted privacy to avoid stigma #critlib
  42. A2 By "values" in tonight's #critlib, do we mean libraryland things like accessibility? Material/economic accessibility & disability a11y?
  43. @foureyedsoul A lot of those fall under the value called ACCESS. However, it has many aspects one can focus on/ignore. #critlib
  44. .@metageeky So like: One might focus on making mobile-first websites for less $$ users (on mobile) but ignore doing a11y work? #critlib
  45. @metageeky A2. Respect is embedded in the question. Also diversity, equity, access. #critlib
  46. Q2: If it helps, let's look at the example of cataloging to respect identities. As a cataloger, what values would matter? #critlib
  47. @metageeky A2 "Neutrality," of course. Consistency. Accuracy. User-centeredness. #critlib
  48. Hmm... how to state this. Helps to get a one-time check or a line added to library objectives but doesn't #critlib  https://twitter.com/edrabinski/status/755572936489271297 
  49. @metageeky Always this tension with naming, visibility comes with a cost. #critlib @schomj
  50. @edrabinski @schomj Exactly! And it can also conflict with notions of accuracy. Do you track name changes among trans creators? #critlib
  51. A2. @metageeky preso definition: "A value is a concept or aspect that a person or group of people judge as important in life." #critlib
  52. IME, translate to staffing or other resources, or standing firm when something is "controversial" #critlib
  53. Like we're all down for disability rights until it comes to intersectionality or going the extra mile for a coworker w disabilities #critlib
  54. @metageeky @edrabinski And how to even do that meaningfully with genderfluid people or enbies? #critlib
  55. @metageeky @edrabinski (Thinking of coding gender in name authority records for that last point) #critlib
  56. Hi, #critlib--joining late. Academic metadata librarian in Cambridge, MA. No experience with this topic but curious.
  57. Hi #critlib, Ian here lurking from the subway on the way home from work.
  58. A2. ...and I'm intrigued that this doesn't try to be universal. Could be values of individual users, staff, admin. Who decides? #critlib
  59. @lisahubbell i think that's super interesting...institutions make values visible. A2 #critlib
  60. and if it's not clear, i think libraries are institutions :) A2 #critlib
  61. Since a lot of you in attendance are not that familiar with VSD, I'm going to go off the rails and break from the planned Qs. #critlib
  62. Unless anyone objects, let's take a look at how VSD might work with one of the classic examples. #critlib
  63. Scenario: designing a user database for a hospital. It will be used by doctors and nurses. #critlib
  64. Under most user-centered design approaches, we'd focus just on the medical staff. #critlib
  65. VSD says look at stakeholders, not just direct users. Who will the database impact? #critlib
  66. Clearly, patients will be impacted even though they won't use it. Insurance companies. Hospital admins/management. #critlib
  67. For each stakeholder group, we can ask what values matter to them? Patients clearly want privacy for medical records. #critlib
  68. Admins and med staff might want faster access. Those values could be in tension. #critlib
  69. To go back to Q1, VSD is about trying to manage all these potential conflicts by raising them up from conversation day 1. #critlib
  70. @metageeky So the first part of your question refers to users of the tool being designed, not users of the whole service. #critlib
  71. @lisahubbell Exactly. Tech influences more than just the people who push the buttons. #critlib
  72. Sidetracking from the example provided to think about the client side of our ILS and laughing bitterly #critlib  https://twitter.com/metageeky/status/755575240218910721 
  73. @schomj i know, right? what does the ILS say about our values? #critlib
  74. The confusing layouts, the ridiculous amount of clicking involved, the tiny fonts. Can't imagine using a screenreader with it #critlib
  75. @jayeldee It says we don't want to learn what our systems could do and/or that WE aren't valued enough to finance appropriately #critlib
  76. @schomj all i know is i had an exhausted student in for 2 hours today who said she can't make heads or tails of the ILS.
  77. @schomj i thought they were supposed to make finding things easy. seems the complete opposite.
  78. @jayeldee I think part of it may be that we can't prioritize what we want as a profession so our vendors do it for us? IDK
  79. @schomj i don't want to be overly critical even in a #critlib chat, but i don't disagree.
  80. So let's get back to the cataloging application. Who are some stakeholders (direct and indirect)? #critlib
  81. @metageeky IT, cataloging staff, end users, reference librarians, vendor staff, developers... #critlib
  82. @violetbfox End users is a bit vague and dehumanizing? Library patrons? Researchers? Casual readers? #critlib
  83. Library employees are often direct backend users (though we have some who refuse to touch the client side) #critlib  https://twitter.com/metageeky/status/755576420177326080 
  84. @schomj Right. Or a discovery layer that prioritizes speed over recall. Doesn't serve research needs, but who even knows? #critlib
  85. @lisahubbell just made me realize an interesting value in library world: accurately recognizing creator efforts. #critlib
  86. So VSD is about identifying values of all parties & identifying conflicts. Does it give guidance on how to evaluate conflicts? #critlib
  87. @violetbfox There are some tools for this. One is to make that tension visible. In the UrbanSim project, they used Habermas #critlib
  88. @violetbfox and his theory of legitimation to inspire tools that allowed for transparency of assumptions in the simulator #critlib
  89. @violetbfox Other times, the value conflict might just have to come down to a decision call where you make clear your reasoning #critlib
  90. Moving on, let's assume that you're sold on the idea that VSD is a good thing, how do we put it into practice? #critlib
  91. In order to understand values, you need some expertise in ethics, phil., law, etc. Studying intergroup dynamics implies social sci. #critlib
  92. And then if you want to apply any of it to actual tech or policy, you need to understand how engineering/policy making/etc. work #critlib
  93. Sounds like a challenge, right? Pretty cross disciplinary? #critlib
  94. @metageeky @violetbfox This goes back to @edrabinski re making case for $$. What about real-world decisions where values clash? #critlib
  95. I think it would be useful to think through an illustration of values in conflict in the cataloging example. Gender in NARs maybe? #critlib
  96. That has been discussed and written about a lot, so maybe using it as an example would just mean viewing it through a VSD filter. #critlib
  97. @aboutness Stakeholders: subject of the NAR, creator of NAR, cataloger's coworkers/supervisors, researchers, readers... #critlib
  98. @aboutness This sounds very promising. I've only glanced at the literature a little. #critlib
  99. @violetbfox @aboutness The potential conflict between the subject's wishes and accuracy/historicity is so interesting. #critlib
  100. Another facet is creator's wish for privacy vs. desire to facilitate user searchers for "women poets from X" and suchlike #critlib
  101. Q6: How do we emphasize to vendors that we have certain values that are higher than profit? #critlib  https://twitter.com/lisahubbell/status/755579518631317504 
  102. Thinking with my cataloger hat again, I wonder if it's even possible to do this alone? (Institutionally) #critlib  https://twitter.com/metageeky/status/755578842022936578 
  103. @schomj Well, I can say that I wrote a 3x long thesis on my own due to insomnia and no social life. #critlib
  104. But maybe it would be possible within a consortium or cooperative? #critlib
  105. @schomj I believe it is possible within small groups. VSD is really strong about adopting good practices, so anyone can contribute #critlib
  106. @metageeky Yeah, cataloging standards are usually developed by lots of small groups. Hmm. #critlib
  107. #critlib VSD discussion brings to mind a preso at #ccli on the mindsets of teachers in diff disciplines and how to sell them on #infolit
  108. But if I take off my cataloger hat, could you do with instructional design? Or design of collection space? #critlib  https://twitter.com/metageeky/status/755578842022936578 
  109. @schomj Values/stakeholders are more about centering discussion. How and what you do relies on the strengths/knowledge you bring in #critlib
  110. @metageeky Trying to think of some process that I have control over to test this out on <thinking cap dot gif> #critlib
  111. @schomj Lots of architecture & exhibit design done in groups. Might be easier w curriculum based on certain theories or frames. #critlib
  112. For a concept that evolved in an iSchool, VSD hasn't seen much in library work (insert snark here), but I think it has promise. #critlib
  113. Absolutely! VSD is ripe for new generational approaches and I'm hoping to be part of it. #critlib  https://twitter.com/jayeldee/status/755582726816665601 
  114. We're getting close to the hour, so we'll have to end soon. Although this convo went differently that my expectations, thank you. #critlib
  115. What a great #critlib chat--so grateful to @metageeky for explaining and everyone who chimed in tonight. Any volunteers to archive/Storify?
  116. Thank you all again and please tweet me with more questions or if you want to discuss some papers/ideas. #critlib
  117. Many thanks to @metageeky for new ideas & shifting gears to orient #critlib to Value Sensitive Design. Articles at  http://critlib.org/value-sensitive-design/ 
  118. Really looking forward to having the brain power & attention to take in the VSD readings! Thank you @metageeky & all in tonight's #critlib.
  119. Also, if you take in any of the readings, I highly recommend the Latour article. One of my fave papers of all time. #critlib
  120. RTs of my favourite bits from #critlib this morning (2 AM BST), likely to be of interest to systems folk.
  121. Particularly good, #critlib recommended background reading is this awesome #Latour chapter:  http://x.preater.com/2aaIcAV 
  122. Interested in the topic of the value of sensitive design? Review yesterdays #critlib for some stimulating tweets!