DAVID RIBES: Biographical Sketch

DAVID RIBES: Biographical Sketch

DAVID RIBES: Biographical Sketch – January 2005

Professional Preparation

University of California, San DiegoSociologyPh.D. 2006 (Expected)

McGill University, Montreal, CanadaSociologyM.A.2000

York University, Toronto, CanadaSoc/Mass Com B.A. 1998


Research Assistant, Scripps Institute for Oceanography (SIO) (2004-present)

Comparative Interoperability Project – PIs: Geof Bowker, Karen Baker


Research Assistant, Geoffrey C. Bowker (2003-4)

Ethnographer, San Diego Supercomputer Center, La Jolla, California (2003)

Ethnographer, GEON – the geo-sciences network, various locations (2002-3)
Recruiter, Trayectos, UC San Francisco (2002)

Intern, UCSD Special Collections (2002)

Conference Reporter, New Media Center, Banff, Can. (2002)

Researcher, American Sociological Association (2001)

Research Assistant, Steven Epstein (2000-2)

Research Interests and Expertise

Information ecologies: information science; data management, organizational informatics; sociotechnical design, communications, communities of practice, and network federation

Science and Technology Studies: infrastructure; standards and classification; visualization and representation; actor-network theory, ‘intervention’

Sociology: organizational sociology, qualitative and field methods, sociology of knowledge, theory (classical and contemporary)

Synergistic Activities

Informal Advisory Panel, “SDSC Innovation: Communication for Cyberinfrastructure Collaborations, C3” (2004)

IBM -- Extreme Blue Intern – Almaden Research Labs (Summer 2004)

-Jeanette Blomberg, Paul Maglio – Rick Perrett (Business Mentor)


Working in a team including technical programmers and a business manager, Ribes acted in his capacity as an ethnographer and field researcher at an IBM client site investigating organizational performance. Research included interviews, shadowing, focus groups and document collection. In turn, data gathered during this research was used to inform the development of an IT tool for facilitating project management co-ordination within the interorganizational boundaries of IBM as well as across the divide between the IBM delivery team and client.

Research Assistant, Scripps Institute for Oceanography (SIO) (2004-present)

Comparative Interoperability Project – PIs: Geof Bowker, Karen Baker


This research involves the comparative historical and ethnographic study of three information infrastructures (Cyberinfrastructures): GEON, the geo-sciences network; Ocean Informatics (OI) at Scripps and; LTER – Long Term Ecological Research. Our goal is to understand how technical interoperability solutions (ontologies, metadata, standards) are tied to social and organizational strategies and configurations. This is a three year NSF funded project under the Human and Social Dynamics (2004-7).


(i) Publications related to the related project:

“Ontologies and the Machinery of Difference,” accepted to the Journal of the Association of Information Systems (JAIS) for the Special Edition on Ontologies.

“Automation in Scientific Visualization,” submitted to the Journal for the Social Studies of Science (SSS).

"The Matter of Users." Review of How Users Matter: The Co-Construction of users and technologies, Nelly Oudshoorn and Trevor Pinch (eds.). Metascience (forthcoming).

(ii)Other significant publications:

“Book-Length Scholarship on Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Issues As Reflected in Contemporary Sociology, 1972-2000” (with Steve Epstein). Report prepared for the for the American Sociological Association’s Committee on the Status of Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, and Transgender Persons in Sociology, 12 December 2001.

Professional Memberships

Society for the Social Studies of Science

American Sociological Association

Geological Society of America


SEpstein, UCSD; GBowker, SCU; LStar, SCU; ALakoff, UCSD; NOreskes, UCSD; KBaker, UCSD; FMillerand, UCSD; MPoon, UCSD; SJackson, UCSD