News / Dr. Geoffrey C. Bowker joins iSchool faculty


The School of Information Sciences is pleased to welcome Dr. Geoffrey C. Bowker to the faculty of the iSchool. Bowker will serve as Professor and Senior Scholar in Cyberscholarship. Dr. Bowker previously served as the Executive Director and the Regis and Dianne McKenna Professor at the Center for Science, Technology and Society at Santa Clara University (CA). At Santa Clara, he also held a professorship in Communication and Environmental Studies as well as faculty positions at the University of California, San Diego and the University of Illinois at Urbana Champaign. Bowker earned his PhD at the University of Melbourne, Australia, in History and Philosophy of Science and followed up with an extended post doctoral position at the Ecole des Mines in Paris.

Bowker has authored/co-authored three books including (with Susan Leigh Star) Sorting Things Out: Classification and its Consequences (Cambridge MA: MIT Press, 1999) and Memory Practices in Science, 1830-1990 (Cambridge, MA: MIT Press, 2006). Bowker won both the Ludwig Fleck Prize for Best Book in Science, Technology and Society and the American Society for Information Science and Technology’s Best Information Science Book Award for Memory Practices in Science. He is the author or co-author of more than 55 articles in journals including Social Studies of Science, IEEE Annuals of the History of Computing, D-Lib Magazine, International Journal of GIS, and the Journal of the American Society for Information Science and Technology.   He serves on the Editorial Boards of Social Studies of Science and Metadata. With Susan “Leigh” Star, he serves as an editor of Science, Technology and Human Values.

Bowker’s research interests include cyberscholarship, cyberinfrastructure for the sciences, critical reading of databases, classification and its consequences, science and technology studies, memory practices, and the history of information practices.  His research includes numerous NSF-funded projects including Monitoring, Modeling and Memory: Dynamics of Data and Knowledge in Scientific Cyberinfrastructures” (NSF 0827333:  $193, 905);History and Theory of Infrastructure: Distilling Lessons for New Scientific Cyberinfrastructures” (NSF 0630263: $91,911); and “Interoperability Strategies for Scientific Cyberinfrastructure: A Comparative Study” (NSF #0433369: $650,000).

Here at the School of Information Sciences, Geoff will examine the nature of scholarly communication in diverse disciplines exploring those transformative factors that will trigger transformation within a discipline as a result of the digital environment. With the support of a generous grant from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, Bowker will develop the resources and framework for understanding how scholars in different disciplines develop their informatics (including bases of evidence and techniques for interacting with that evidence) as the underlying discipline adapts to the emerging digital technologies that make up cyberinfrastructure.

“Geoff Bowker is one of the leading scholars studying at the nexus of scholarly communication and cyberinfrastructure, which has taken on increased relevance and urgency as digital technologies continue to demonstrate the potential to radically transform scholarly communication,” explains Ronald L. Larsen, Dean of the School of Information Sciences.  “As the sheer volume of scientific information continues to grow geometrically, it becomes vital that we understand the rapidly changing landscape of data-intensive scholarship.  Bowker’s work will position the iSchool at the University of Pittsburgh at the forefront of this emerging area of research and scholarship.” 

Dr. Bowker comes to Pitt through a five-year program, underwritten by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, to develop a research program to understand and influence the evolution of digital communication and research in academia, known as cyberscholarship. The cyberscholarship program will sustain the iSchool’s century-long reputation as a leader in advancing the creative use of information on behalf of society.