UBC Theses and Dissertations

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UBC Theses and Dissertations

Spatializing science and technology studies : exploring the role of GIS and interactive social research Talwar, Sonia


This thesis is an interdisciplinary study based on the interplay between science, technology and society in order to inform the design of knowledge exploration systems. It provides a rationale for the integration of science knowledge, geographic information, with digital libraries to build knowledge and awareness about sustainability. A theoretical reconceptualization of knowledge building is provided that favours interactive engagement with information and argues against a traditional model of science production and communication that is linear and unidirectional. The elements of contextualization, classification and communication form the core of the reconceptualization. Since many information systems entrench the traditional model of science production, the three elements are considered in light of library and information science and geographic information science. The use of geographic information systems is examined to identify how they can be used as part of a social learning model for scientific, social, cultural, and environmental issues to further assist people in connecting to place and sustainability. Empirical data was collected from four case studies. One case study centred on the design and development of a web-based digital library called the Georgia Basin Digital Library, another two case studies focused on the use of part of this digital library with youth, senior and environmental groups in south-western British Columbia. The remaining case study observed a community deliberation to consider how knowledge exploration systems might support deliberation in future processes. The case study research confirms that collaborative research with communities is a fruitful way to engage with sustainability issues. Such collaborations require consideration of institutional arrangements, information collections, relationship building, technology transfer and capacity building.

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Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International