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    Situating Web Searching in Data Engineering: Admissions, Extensions, Repairs, and Ownership

    tags: diss
    December 16th, 2022

    Here is an HTML version of my dissertation.


    My dissertation looks at the web search practices of data engineers through interviews and digital ethnography. I use legitimate peripheral participation (Lave & Wenger, 1991) and Handoff (Goldenfein et al., 2020; Mulligan & Nissenbaum, 2020) to look at how data engineers learn to successfully make use of web search as data engineers. I find practices that legitimate the reliance on web search in their work, despite the limited instruction and search talk. Rather than making search work by their understanding of the mechanisms of search engines, their searching is supported by it being extended across occupational, professional, and technical components of their work practices that guide their selection of search queries and structure their evaluations of search results. I also find practices of search repair, careful performances that are used to validate reliance on web search and legitimize engineers while filling in where web search is not sufficient alone. But I also find search constructed as solitary and the sole responsibility of individuals. I consider how the hiddenness of search and assignment of responsibility may limit the effectiveness of searching and of inclusive learning in data engineering work.

    The full dissertation document—as filed—is available here: Situating Web Searching in Data Engineering: Admissions, Extensions, Repairs, and Ownership [PDF, 156 pages]
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    A shortcut page providing citation, alt. summaries, and corrigenda is available here: /shortcuts/griffin2022situating

    This HTML presentation of my dissertation is modeled on a classmate’s: Nick Doty. Enacting Privacy in Internet Standards. Ph.D. dissertation. Advisor: Deirdre K. Mulligan. University of California, Berkeley. 2020. https://npdoty.name/enacting-privacy