CFP - The 10th Persistent Conversation minitrack

28 Feb 2008 - 9:42am
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Tom Erickson


Persistent Conversation Minitrack
Digital Media and Content Track at HICSS 42
January 5-8, 2009
Hilton Waikoloa Village, the Big Island, Hawai'i
See for an online version
and further information.

The Persistent Conversation minitrack is a yearly gathering of people
who design and study systems that support computer-mediated
communication. Persistent conversation is not limited to asynchronous
textual communication: It includes instant messaging, voice chat, and
other 'ephemeral' media. Nor do we limit our focus to systems
explicitly designed to support conversation: We are interested in
conversational exchanges as manifested in applications (for instance,
blogs, annotation systems, distance education) and in sites oriented
around the use of photos, video and other media. If you're interested
in presenting a paper in the minitrack, the first step is to submit an
abstract by March 15, 2008. A 10-page paper would be due June 15th.

-03/15: Prospective authors submit 300-word abstracts
-03/31: Feedback on abstracts sent
-06/15: 10-page papers due (see
for details)
-08/15: Accept/Conditional Accept/Reject notices sent
-09/15: Final papers due; at least one author must register for

This interdisciplinary minitrack and workshop brings designers and
researchers together to explore persistent conversation, the
transposition of ordinarily ephemeral conversation into the
potentially persistent digital medium. Persistent conversations occur
via instant messaging, text and voice chat, email, blogs, web boards,
MOOs, graphical and 3D virtual environments, gaming systems, video
sharing sites, document annotation systems, mobile phone texting, etc.
Such communication is persistent in that it leaves a digital trace,
and the trace in turn affords new uses. It permits conversations to be
saved, visualized, browsed, searched, replayed, and restructured.
Persistence also means that conversations need not be synchronous:
They can be asynchronous (stretching out over hours or days) or
supersynchronous (with multiple parties 'talking' at the same time).
Finally, the creation of persistent and potentially permanent records
from what was once an ephemeral process raises a variety of social and
ethical issues.

We are seeking papers that address one or both of the following two
general areas:
* Understanding Practice. The burgeoning popularity of the internet
(and intranets) provides an opportunity to study and characterize new
forms of conversational practice. Questions of interest range from how
various features of conversations (e.g., turn-taking, topic
organization, expression of paralinguistic information) have adapted
in response to the digital medium, to new roles played by persistent
conversation in domains such as education, business, and entertainment.
* Design. Digital systems do not currently support conversation well:
It is difficult to converse with grace, clarity, depth and coherence
over networks. But this need not remain the case. Toward this end, we
welcome analyses of existing systems as well as designs for new
systems which better support conversation. Also of interest are
inquiries into how participants design their own conversations within
the digital medium -- that is, how they make use of system features to
create, structure, and regulate their discourse.

Examples of appropriate topics include, but are not limited to:
- Turn-taking, threading and other structural features of CMC
- The dynamics of large scale conversation systems (e.g. blog networks)
- Methods for summarizing or visualizing conversation archives
- Studies of virtual communities or other sites of digital conversation
- The roles of mediated conversation in knowledge management
- Studies of the use of instant messaging in large organizations
- Novel designs for computer-mediated conversation systems
- Analyses of or designs for distance learning systems

Submit a 250 to 300 word abstract of your proposed paper via email to
the chairs: Tom Erickson (snowfall at acm dot org), Susan Herring
(herring at indiana dot edu) by the deadline noted above. We will send
you feedback on the suitability of your abstract by the deadline noted

- About the minitrack, see
contact: Thomas Erickson (snowfall at and Susan Herring
(herring at
- About previous years' papers (including pdf's) and participants,
- About the HICSS conference, see:
Tom Erickson

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