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A Short History of Group Informatics

Publication Type:

Journal Article


ECONOMICS OF NETWORKS eJOURNAL , Volume Online, Issue Vol. 4, No. 41 (2012)


There are two ontological constructs that are referenced in our description of Group Informatics. First, the groups that form in these asynchronous environments are referred to as small, naturally asynchronous groups (SNAGs) to distinguish them from previous conceptualizations of physical groups, such as distributed teams, virtual organizations, distance work and computer supported cooperative work, broadly defined. The term SNAG reflects the unmet challenge of integrating qualitative and quantitative modeling to understand how interaction, leadership and social structure are represented in electronic trace data. [1; 3; 4; 6; 8-16; 24-28; 32-35; 39-41; 41-53; 55- 59].

Second, we refer to the online contexts in which SNAG’s interact as socio-technical interaction places (STIPs). A STIP is any system where people interact as groups, for a specific purpose and mediate consistent and meaningful aspects of their activity through technology that generates electronic trace data. Many STIPs create electronic trace data without reference to how these logs might be applied to represent group leadership, emergence or development, but for keeping track of basic notions of interactivity. Such logs can be conceptualized as log files, with records of interaction that include at least an actor, an artifact and a timestamp. Our Group Informatics methodological approach systematically allows for the analysis of raw log data from a STIP. The Group Informatics model is a component of the overall Group Informatics methodological approach.