Robotics Narratives and Networks: 2013 iConference Talk


SLIS and SoIC colleagues collaborated on a talk for this year’s iConference held from February 12-15, 2013 in Fort Worth, Texas. The theme of the conference was Scholarship in Action: Data, Innovation, Wisdom. SLIS faculty member Staša Milojević and SoIC faculty member Selma Sabanovic co-authored a paper. Dr. Milojević also presented a second paper at a workshop during the conference. See abstracts and details below.

•Milojević, S. & Sabanovic, S. (2013). Robotics narratives and networks: Conceptual foundations for a non-linear digital archive. Proceedings iConference, 2013.

This paper introduces the conceptual foundations and motivation for creating a digital archive to display developments in the field of robotics over the past 50 years. The archive is meant to represent robotics as an evolving “ecology of knowledge” (Akera, 2007b) and contains interviews with robotics researchers accompanied by other related documents. Rather than representing a unified and unilinear view of “the history” of robotics, the archive is designed to allow users to explore and navigate the available materials guided by their own interests, thereby constructing multiple narratives about robotics. We describe the project as involving multiple “memory practices” (Bowker, 2005): robotics “pioneers” narrating their lived experiences in the field, publications that inscribe the results and practices of scientific research, social scientists collecting and presenting these materials to further understand scientific practice, and users from the public navigating the archive to develop their own understandings of robotics over the years.

The paper presents the joint project on the history of robotics funded by IEEE Robotics and Automation Society and NEH. Website of the project:

• Milojević, S. (2013, February). Using title words to measure cognitive domains of disciplines. iConference 2013 Workshop: Computational Scientometrics: Theory and Applications (Short paper) - Fort Worth, TX.

The paper proposes a novel method for measuring the size and evolution of a cognitive domain of a scientific field or a discipline. The method is based on article title word counts, but employs two important corrections that allow the word count to be indicative of the underlying cognitive domain: it first corrects for the effects of changing sample size, and second for the presence of general, concept-free words.

Posted April 03, 2013