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Sunday, October 6
 

2:45pm

Registration Desk Open (10/6)
Maintainers III online registration (Eventbrite) here.
For a map of the Gallaudet University campus, which includes the Kellogg Conference Hotel, see here.

Sunday October 6, 2019 2:45pm - 5:00pm
Foyer
 
Monday, October 7
 

8:30am

Breakfast (10/7)
Monday October 7, 2019 8:30am - 9:30am
Ballroom

8:30am

Registration Desk Open (10/7)
Monday October 7, 2019 8:30am - 5:30pm
Foyer

9:30am

Opening Remarks + Introducing MAMA
Monday October 7, 2019 9:30am - 10:00am
Ballroom

10:00am

10:45am

Break
Monday October 7, 2019 10:45am - 11:15am
Ballroom

11:15am

Maintaining FITS in Two Careers
Building on the authors’ ongoing research into astronomical infrastructure and drawing on format theory, we address the mounting difficulties of maintaining the Flexible Interchange Transport System (FITS) file format. We pose the question: Who maintains FITS and what does FITS maintain? Astronomy is one of the few scientific fields to have a bespoke file format, created by a trio of astronomers in 1979 as an escape from the chaos of non-interoperable computer operating systems and storage media emblematic of the late 1970s computer market. Yet, FITS is more than a format, it is a mandate and encapsulation of astronomical common sense: Once FITS, Always FITS. We take account of the factors leading to the successful maintenance of FITS and discuss how the continuity provided by FITS has enabled astronomy to successfully transition from an era of astronomical images archived on optical plates to an era of multi-petabyte databases. Maintained over its forty-year history by a loose network of volunteers, today there are over one billion FITS formats in existence. FITS’ long-term continuity has attracted the interest of Vatican archivists who have adopted FITS as the Vatican’s archives official file format.


Monday October 7, 2019 11:15am - 11:45am
5AB (2nd Floor)

11:15am

Ways Forward
This panel combines different visions for how to move maintenance research and practice forward including maintenance pedagogy; maintenance community design; organizational investments in preventative maintenance; artistic vehicles for centering maintenance labor; and imagining alternative border futures through critical play. After a brief introduction to our panelists’ work, we will engage in a facilitated discussion to explore shared themes, address challenges posed, and offer up concrete actions to co-create a more caring and well-maintained world.

Paper Abstracts

Juan Llamas-Rodriguez: "The Sewer Transnationalists: Sewage Maintenance and Designing Cooperation in the Border Region"

The Sewer Transnationalists is a critical speculative design project that redesigns the border region from the perspective of sewage flows. Taking the form of a cooperative board game (in the style of Pandemic or Forbidden Island), the project tasks users with solving the problem of sewage disposal across the border. Users take on the role of a different stakeholder (e.g. IBWC bureaucrats, pipe engineers, border citizen) and each turn they choose to undertake an action within their area of expertise. However, this is not a fully finished game. It allows users to rethink the structures of the board, including the map, as way to improve their chances at solving the sewage problem. The major obstacle turns out not to be winning the game (as in, fixing the sewage problem) but creating the conditions for which winning the game is possible at all. Following on critical design principles, the goal of the project is to engage users in thinking through the conceptual frameworks undergirding current solution attempts. The game itself functions first as a medium through which such frameworks can be tested and contested and second as a platform where speculative alternatives can be tried out.

Jilly Traganou: "Maintenance in Autonomy: Christiania’s Self-managed Infrastructures"

The paper will focus on infrastructural making and caretaking in Christiania Free Town. Christiania is an autonomous district of approximately 1,000 residents, established in 1971 as a squat in a former military area of Copenhagen. Christiania's self‐government is based on assemblies and consensual decision-making. After a 2004 Danish law forced Christiania to change its status to a foundation, initiating the treatment of its members as individuals, a period of “normalization” began, signaling a transition from “insurgent autonomy” to “regulated autonomy.” Christianites throughout their history have handled tasks like kindergartens, postal services, green areas and most infrastructural provision and maintenance in a self-organized manner. In the last years, Christiania undertook a plan of legalizing and renovating houses, as well as maintaining and further developing its infrastructure in accordance to a community-developed Green Plan. The paper will be based on material I collected as a researcher in residence in Christiania in the fall of 2018. Christiania has important lessons to offer both in its insurgent and regulated autonomy stages. Having been framed by the state as a “social experiment,” in my analysis, Christiania’s first era can be seen as a case of a prefigurative political action, based primarily on what I call “embodied infrastructures.”

Hong-An Wu: "Collective Technological Repair: Proposal for Pedagogical Practices"

As digital media making becomes increasingly popularized in K12 and community learning classrooms, art and media educators are faced with not only mastering digital technologies for curricular planning but also improvising with these disobedient objects during pedagogical exchanges. Drawing from my five-weeks action research project teaching digital art making, specifically video game modifications, with teens in a library setting, this paper examines repeated moments of technological breakdowns during teaching practices. Instead of interpreting these moments as failures, abandoning the objects, and resorting to a backup curriculum using analog technologies, I argue for developing a feminist pedagogical reorienting of teaching practices that utilize reparation to de-center these challenges. Instead of resorting to a backup curriculum when technologies break down in the classroom and placing the responsibility of maintenance and care of these machines solely on the instructor, I argue that technological troubleshooting should be oriented at the center of any curriculum. Repair in the form of troubleshooting not only requires domain-specific knowledge, but it also embodies acts of care that are often deprioritized under consumerist logic. When students are invited to the practice of repair in the classroom, they engage in inquiry-based learning around the domain-specific literacies as well as engage in shared risk, responsibility, and ownership of the curriculum and machines utilized.

Alex Reiss Sorokin: "From “Run it ‘til it breakes” to Preventative Care: Innovation in Repair and Maintenance Work"

“Run it ‘til it breakes” used to be the model of maintenance work at a large research university. Most maintenance work focused on reactive maintenance, the repair and replacement of broken pieces of equipment. With increased funding and outside consulting, the university decided to focus more on preventative maintenance. Rather than changing how repair and maintenance work is done, the university administration decided to establish a new team according to a new model, focused on preventative maintenance. Two teams of repairmen are now in charge of repair and maintenance, dividing the campus buildings and student dorms between them. Alongside the new model, new technologies for gathering data were implemented in both teams. This paper examines the two models in rhetoric and practice. First, I delve into the background of the two models. I tell the story of how optimization and professionalization led to a stronger focus on preventative maintenance and customer satisfaction. Second, based on ethnographic work, I describe how the organizational change looks like and feels like on the ground – from the perspective of the tradesmen who do maintenance work. While innovation and maintenance are often thought as opposites, this paper argues that sometimes innovation and maintenance need one another.

Kelly Pendergrast: "Visual Pleasure and Maintenance Cinema"

What does maintenance look like? Often it doesn’t look like much. The infrastructure, repair, and care work that supports the systems we rely on are both essential and hidden from view. Janitors clean the hallways after the offices have shut down for the day. Archivists toil in temperature-controlled basements. And even if this work is visible, it tends towards the unspectacular. Aside from a few exceptions, this comparative invisibility extends to the world of cinema and art. All of this means that maintenance is lacking a visual language. This paper investigates the ways we visualize maintenance in our cultural imagination and cultural production. Through a brief analysis of films—from Kings of the Road to Jeanne Dielman—that foreground maintenance work and maintenance workers, I argue that representing maintenance in film and art is an important, even revolutionary act. Drawing on theories of visual culture along with literature about representations of labor in film and art history, I argue that cinema and art can be essential contributors to a necessary reframing and valorizing of maintenance labor.

Abstracts may be edited due to character limits


Monday October 7, 2019 11:15am - 12:00pm
Ballroom

11:15am

Reconfiguring Archives
Are contemporary archival practices sustainable? In the record keeping and archival tradition, the lifecycle of materials had a natural ending: records failing to demonstrate informational or evidential value were effectively disposed of or discarded. With widespread digitization and the growth and diversification of our collections, the utopian promises of transparency, reparations, and empowerment has in turn amplified what was already a problem in archival settings - namely, how to appraise, manage, and preserve increasingly complex content at new scales and in perpetuity. This discussion problematizes archives as maintainers of previous modes of archival practice and thought. It considers the lived experiences of archivists and archival scholars working with complex media to question the implications and consequences of maintaining the archival record amidst a challenging backdrop of contemporary organizational, social, and technical realities. Here are some questions we are considering: What challenges are introduced by the robust maintenance practices required to manage dynamic, complex media content? How do born-digital classification standards, schemas, and practices maintain and replicate structures of whiteness and privilege? How can we enact archival structures that facilitate “multiple regimes of authorities” (Rawson & Munoz, 2016)? How do we address dynamic and changing conceptions of what counts as “archival evidence” in different contexts? Is preservation untenable given the realities of climate change and lack of support for the reconfiguration and ongoing maintenance of archives? Is collecting a dead end? Is preservation a dead end? Does the archival model need to redress?


Monday October 7, 2019 11:15am - 12:00pm
4ABC (2nd Floor)

11:15am

Lifecycles of Infrastructures
Panel Description: The papers on this panel draw on historical and other approaches to examine the different maintenance needs of transportation systems over their lifecycles.

Paper Abstracts

Jung Eun Park: "Addressing Planning Fallacy in Infrastructure Investment Decision Making"

Infrastructure projects have been notorious for their inability to keep to budget. In an attempt to address cost overruns, the United Kingdom first adopted Kahneman’s Nobel Prize-winning theory to challenge biases in human judgement and reference class forecasting soon became mandatory in the United Kingdom. In the United States, the American Planning Association encouraged planners to use reference class forecasting in addition to traditional methods, but the practice has yet to catch on. Reference class forecasting was originally developed to cure honest mistakes in the private sector. Does it effectively work in the public sector where intentional misrepresentation is prevalent? By comparing major infrastructure projects in the United Kingdom and the United States, this research finds out whether notable estimating improvements have been made with reference class forecasting and what lessons we can learn from the British experience.

John Laurence Busch: "Steaming Quid Pro Quo: Early Waterway Maintenance during the First High Technology"

In 1807, an American named Robert Fulton built and ran the first commercially successful steamboat in history. In so doing, Fulton achieved something epically important: he proved that humans could create an artificial power that altered a person’s location to practical effect faster than by natural means. No other invention had achieved such a thing before, and accordingly, steamboats may be considered the first “high technology” in history. Fulton and his financial partner, Robert R. Livingston, also achieved something else quite important for themselves: they fulfilled the terms of the exclusive steamboating franchise granted to them by the State of New York. In fairly short order, other States decided that they too should grant exclusive franchises to entrepreneurs for the running of steamboats within their boundaries. But these States wanted something in return: they wanted maintenance. This paper and presentation will explore how different States in the Early American Republic addressed the opportunity of introducing a new technology while at the same time leveraging the abilities of the applicants to maintain waterways within a given State’s boundaries. It will then describe how this “steaming quid pro quo” came to an end. Finally, it will suggest that these 19th-century transportation maintenance solutions could be used as a means to re-examine the idea of giving States greater leeway in finding creative solutions to their 21st-century transportation maintenance challenges. The presentation will close by noting that similar compare-and-contrast exercises could be conducted on the other time-and-space-altering high technologies that followed steam-powered vessels.

Gerard Fitzgerald: "The Thirsty Iron Horse: Water Softening Technology and Steam Locomotive Infrastructure Technology in the United States 1900-1950"

The hills, mountains, valleys, rivers, and deserts of the nation created a seemingly never ending series of civil engineering challenges for railroads as the country embraced industrialization during the late 19th and early 20th centuries. It is less well known that as steam technology evolved, the water powering locomotives presented railroads with mechanical engineering and infrastructure problems that were just as complex. The history of American railroad approaches to water softening will be briefly reviewed to show how the nation’s railroads adopted a more scientific and economic approach to water use during the early 20th century. The national railroad system involved the movement of trains through a spectrum of ecosystems across the country that forced railroads to customize various water softening techniques to meet the geologic and meteorological nature of each locale. Technological and scientific response to the problem accelerated during the first two decades of the 20th century and most American railroads eventually began to employ chemists to oversee the composition of the water used to power steam locomotives, while simultaneously approving large-scale modifications to the numerous online water tanks and pumping stations and also financing the construction of new water softening and treatment facilities.

Amanda McMillan Lequieu: "Transportation Infrastructure Decline as Lived Metaphor in the American Rust Belt" (Advance Copy PDF Below)

This paper discusses the rise and fall of transportation as a lived metaphor for people who live in deindustrialized regions of the United States. It asks two questions: 1) what does transportation maintenance look like in a region of consistent economic decline? And 2) how do people who live in those regions understand transportation? This line of inquiry emerges as an unexpected theme emerging from a broader interview project. I conducted 90 interviews in two communities at opposite ends of a former, Midwestern steel commodity chain. In both a rural, iron mining community and an urban steel manufacturing neighborhood, transportation infrastructure emerged unbidden and central in interviewees’ descriptions of boom and bust. The late 19th and early 20th century construction of industrial transportation—rail, shipping, and roadways—was recalled with fondness by interviewees as facilitating the economic growth and cultural connection central to social thriving in these iron and steel communities. The closure of the anchor companies in these communities was the climax in interviewees’ narratives; the gradual decline (both intentional and natural) of industrial transportation infrastructure emerged again and again in interviewees’ stories as a visible, experienced, and emotional metaphor of the gradual disconnection and loss they experienced. References to declines in industrial transportation often segued to frustrations about the uneven distribution of public transportation (bus and passenger train) or highways. Declines in industrial transportation propelled massive depopulation in my case study regions; depopulation, in turn, caused declines in public transportation.

Matthew Hersch: "When the Upgrade Never Comes: Planned Obsolescence and the Challenger Disaster"

Published ten years after the loss of the space shuttle Challenger and its crew shortly after lift-off on January 28th, 1986, Diane Vaughn’s Challenger Launch Decision fixed upon NASA’s “normalization of deviance” to explain why the shuttle flew that day despite multiple warnings of problems capable of destroying it. Three years later, the second edition of Charles Perrow’s book Normal Accidents pushed this already bleak assessment of the space shuttle in an even more nihilistic direction by arguing that complex socio-technological systems like the shuttle are more-or-less doomed to failure despite the best efforts of those maintaining them. Yet while other technological systems likely behave as Vaughn and Perrow claim, Challenger was felled neither by maintenance failure nor its own complexity. In that case and the later loss of shuttle Columbia in 2003, it was a single component in each vehicle that failed—a gasket and a particularly brittle piece of the shuttle’s outer cladding—and these single-points-of-failure were known problems whose risks were well-understood from the program’s inception. The shuttle was not an otherwise reliable craft maintained too badly to work well. The problem was, as physicist Richard Feynman later concluded, that the shuttle worked exactly as it was designed: to give the appearance of a functional space vehicle until funds became available to build a less risky replacement. The space shuttle failed because it was designed to fail, the victim of a thirty-year wait for an upgrade that never came.



Monday October 7, 2019 11:15am - 12:45pm
6ABC (2nd Floor)

11:45am

Invisible Work in Highly-Visible Roles? Examining Burnout in Free/Open-Source Software Maintainers
We discuss how maintenance intersects with issues of burnout, visible/invisible work, and recognition, based on a study investigating these issues in free and/or open-source software (F/OSS) development projects. Although much research has been focused on the retention and motivation of contributors (many of whom are volunteers), maintainer burnout is increasingly being discussed in many communities. What aspects of the role of a maintainer and factors in a project contribute to experiences of burnout? What is the relationship between the relative in/visibility of maintenance work and experiences of burnout? Is there a difference between dropping out, stepping down, and burning out? To get at these questions, we report from a study primarily based on interviews with maintainers from a diverse range of F/OSS projects, as well as qualitative and quantitative analyses of code and communication platforms. “Burnout” is a term used in many different ways, but it works to give voice and legitimacy to a wide range of interpersonal issues that can otherwise be difficult to express for those in such projects. We find feelings of burnout can arise from both the relative invisibility of maintainer work, as well as the high visibility of maintainer roles. In the projects we examined, there can be a substantial amount of work performed behind the scenes, with a lack of appreciation or respect being a core issue for many maintainers. Yet the position of a maintainer can also be a rather public role to play, particularly for widely-used infrastructural projects, which raises the stakes of being a maintainer. In particular, we find that those in maintainer roles are often expected to be responsive to issues and concerns that arise, with few projects having formal mechanisms, policies, practices, or norms that let maintainers take breaks or hand-off responsibility.


Monday October 7, 2019 11:45am - 12:00pm
5AB (2nd Floor)

12:00pm

12:00pm

Labor: Maintainers at Work
Maintenance is work, and any consideration of maintenance and maintainers must put considerations of labor front and center. This panel features advocates, organizers, and scholars who approach labor from a variety of perspectives. They share a passion for a deeper understanding of maintenance work--who performs it, under what conditions, and how it is recognized--as well as an appreciation that more robust forms of organizing and advocacy will lead to better outcomes for maintainers and for society as a whole.


Monday October 7, 2019 12:00pm - 12:45pm
Ballroom

12:00pm

Information Maintenance in Archives
Information Maintenance in Archives: Paper Titles and Abstracts

Ciaran Trace: Delayed while Pending Some Action: The Information Backlog as Deferred Maintenance (Advance Copy PDF Below)

Repositories of historical records form part of the essential information infrastructure for humanities research. In the scholarly communications lifecycle, it is the archive (as place and as collection) that typically functions as the research laboratory, the source of knowledge for the humanities and its sub-disciplines. In this context, maintenance work involves upkeep of the network, the buildings, and the collections under care. In the archive, the collection level maintenance work of the archivist exists in an act of mediation between the creator and the user. Mediation is necessary because archival work is extractive. Documents exist as technical artifacts that are extracted from their creating context. Archivists respond to this circumstance by engaging in restorative work - work to recreate that context for subsequent users of the archive. Embedded in this notion of the archive is the idea of a steady flow of information that resides within and moves through socio-technical systems. While there is exponential growth in the information transferred between the creator and the archive, the information flow between the archive and the user is often leaky – discontinuous and disrupted. In particular, there is a considerable interval between the time collections are acquired, accessioned, processed, and made accessible for research. It is in this space that what archivists euphemistically call ‘the backlog’ comes into existence. What the backlog interrupts is the distribution and consumption end of the knowledge process. As a concept and a reality, the backlog is a critical point of failure in this knowledge infrastructure, carrying with it an ongoing and prevailing sense that ‘deferred maintenance’ has become the norm in the archive.

Shannon Supple: When You Collect Across Time and Space, How Do You Fit the World in Your Pockets?

“[Our] imagination is trapped, like capitalism and industrialism and the human population, in a one-way future consisting only of growth.” — Ursula K. Le Guin, A Non-Euclidean View of California as a Cold Place to Be (1982) Traditional collecting practices in special collections libraries — which tend to hold historical and rare books, archival collections, and other materials with artifactual value or textual evidence — are based on a model of expansion. As human work and thought are recorded, material evidence is accreted, and the library grows. Given the logarithmic explosion of information in the modern age and the varied vessels and captures of that information (analog, digital, or otherwise), growth has become exponential. The imperative to grow has been our mission and how we measure success. So, what happens when special collections libraries reach capacity? How must our missions and practices change? Information is embodied. It includes reformatting, repair, migration, stabilization, preservation, and the basic work of care, as it includes stewardship, description, teaching, interpretation, outreach, and other narrative engagements. Embodiment activates objects in space through the labor of maintenance. Building and caring for collections of material history and culture take the work of many hands, funding, and energy. Can we begin to reckon with the shrinking capacities of our future, in a way that allows resources to be strategically applied to the most essential or useful materials? Given practices of collecting documentation of limited ranges of human endeavor, how can this be representative of our multifarious communities and lived experiences? This talk will advocate for a shift in thinking, policies, and protocols for special collections libraries. It will explore the ethics of over-collecting relative to resources, how to better steward what we already hold, and strategies for reshaping historical collections to better fit our communities, missions, and resources.

Chelsea Gunn and Aisling Quigley: Memorialization as Maintenance

This paper begins by presenting typologies of memorials, both physical and digital, exploring the implications of the socio-cultural environment on the persistence of these commemorative objects and/or sites. Digital memorials, and particularly those which are created, stored, and accessed on the internet, have emerged as a popular mode of commemoration over the past twenty years, and are as diverse and dispersed as their physical predecessors. In this paper, we outline and describe three primary types of online, digital memorials. These include standalone, dedicated memorial websites which, much like memorials built in the physical world, require that visitors navigate directly to them. Secondly, we investigate memorialized social media pages, which integrate memorialization into the online environments where people already gather. Finally, we investigate digital avatars, also described as “augmented eternity,” and which use digital tools to mimic the experience of interacting with a deceased loved one. Online digital memorials are accessible to a larger, more far-reaching community than are physical memorials, which are located in a single, fixed geographic site. However, because they are online, they are inherently much more ephemeral. We explore the factors that contribute to a memorial’s persistence (or lack thereof) and argue that ongoing memorials are a result of maintenance, and specifically, acts of care by individuals, including family members and friends of the deceased and formal stewards, or communities, including networks of family and friends and activist groups.



Monday October 7, 2019 12:00pm - 12:45pm
4ABC (2nd Floor)

12:15pm

Unconference Topic Planning
Moderators
Monday October 7, 2019 12:15pm - 12:45pm
5AB (2nd Floor)

12:45pm

Chuck Marohn Keynote & Lunch (10/7)
Strong America: A Bottom-Up Revolution to Rebuild American Prosperity

In the Strong America presentation, Strong Towns President and Founder Charles L. Marohn, Jr. highlights some of the most powerful stories in his book Strong Towns: A Bottom Up Revolution to Rebuild American Prosperity—and uses those insights to highlight a path to community prosperity that’s as unique as your place.

Using an innovative, hands-on approach, The Strong America presentation begins by showcasing why so many towns in North America are struggling financially despite decades of robust growth, and then invites the audience to “choose their own adventure” from a range of presentation tracks and go deeper into just one area where their unique community can make a change today. Designed to be dynamic and bespoke to each town, the Strong America presentation is part community conversation, part lecture from an expert, and hopefully, the catalyst for your place to become financially stronger.

Monday October 7, 2019 12:45pm - 2:00pm
Ballroom

2:00pm

Lightning Talk Round (10/7)
Lightning Talk Round

Speaker, Titles, and Abstracts

Laura James: Festival of Maintenance: A Celebration of Those who Maintain Different Parts of Our World

A celebration of those who maintain different parts of our world, and how they do it, recognizing the often hidden work done in repair, custodianship, stewardship, tending and caring for the things that matter. The Festival of Maintenance is a non-profit community event, run by volunteers.

Yuan Yi: Female Machine Operators and the Maintenance of the Factory System

Through a case study of Dasheng Cotton Mills, one of the most successful enterprises in Republican China (1912-1949), this paper examines the skill of the allegedly “unskilled” female spinning machine operators, arguing for their significance as the maintainer of the factory system. An archetype of modern industrial workforces, factory workers was once a popular topic among social historians and feminist scholars in the China field, and yet the majority of cotton mill workers have been categorized as “unskilled laborers”, regardless of their work experience. I aim to rectify this neglect in response to a recent call for attention to technology-in-use or, more specifically, the study of maintenance. By focusing on sites where machines were used, repaired, and maintained, we can bring back the often neglected technical experts such as mechanics for a better understanding of the history of technology. However, if we broaden the boundaries of maintenance from the narrowly defined machine work such as lubrication and gear change to any human activities to keep machines and systems properly working, it becomes obvious that the operator’s role as a maintainer was no less important than that of a mechanic. Their primary job was piecing broken threads on the spinning machines, and by doing so they were essentially correcting the inherent imperfection of the machines, which did not come with an automatic mechanism for joining yarn ends. In other words, the spinning machines could never perform their function—to produce long, continuous yarn—without the handwork of experienced operators, which required not only delicate and agile movements but also a technical understanding of the given machines. It was the skill of these workers that maintained the factory system.

Daniel Wilk: Innovations in Maintenance at the Hotel Pennsylvania

This is the centennial year of the Hotel Pennsylvania, once the largest hotel in the world, across Seventh Avenue from Penn Station in New York City. Its hundredth birthday, and no one threw it a party or a parade, not even the hotel itself. The Hotel Pennsylvania is probably the most important hotel of the twentieth century. The great hotels of the nineteenth century, in America and elsewhere, had striven for size, luxury, more hotel “servants” providing an increasingly varied list of services. At the end of that century and into the twentieth, hotelier E. M. Statler brought the service sector into the age of Henry Ford, finding economies of scale that brought down costs and prices, and opened a huge new market in the middle class. Statler found some of his economies of scale in clever design that reduced maintenance labor. Unlike Henry Ford’s assembly line, which squeezed more work out of people at a faster pace, Statler’s innovations tended to create true efficiencies. For plumbers, he developed the Statler plumbing shaft, which ran shafts that encased water and heating pipes straight up and down buildings, stacking bathrooms on top of each other in identical layouts floor by floor, with easy access to the pipes behind the bathroom mirrors. For chambermaids, he designed a line of sheets that had one-inch hems on singles and two-inch hems on doubles, so no labor was lost on un- and re-folding the wrong sheet. In this talk, I will outline Paran Stevens’ innovations in maintenance design, and also talk about my failed attempts to get the Hotel Pennsylvania to celebrate its centennial year with commemorative shower curtains, immersive theater, and The Roots playing Glenn Miller’s hit “Pennsylvania 6-5000” (still the hotel’s phone number) on the Jimmy Fallon show.

Danielle Bovenberg: Keeping Scientific Equipment of Various Ages Running in a Nanotechnology Laboratory

A challenge for equipment technicians working in materials science laboratories is taking care of machines produced in different periods. Nanoscale processing “tools” -- the machines that chipmakers use -- built in the 1980s, 1990s and early 2000s are expensive and robust, and are therefore still widely in use in academic laboratories today (Sperling, 2013). As a consequence, laboratory management in this field is as much about servicing individual pieces of equipment as managing a portfolio of equipment of different technology generations (Gates, Johnson & McDaniel, 2015). For those who maintain this array of tools, challenges posed by old equipment include equipment vendors that have gone out of business, discontinued product lines, unavailable parts, and a dwindling base of maintenance expertise. This paper examines how equipment engineers at one university Nanofabrication facility overcome these obstacles in order to keep old tools running, so that university and industry researchers can continue using them. The paper is based on an ongoing ethnographic study of the laboratory’s 15-person equipment staff. The paper explores how equipment engineers view the “age” of the machines they service, what challenges they experience, and how they seek to overcome these challenges. The paper discusses engineers’ engagement with the second-hand equipment market, the strategic modification of old tools in order to create as much similarity in servicing needs as possible, the stockpiling of parts and duplicate machines, and the specific instructions engineers give to the users of their equipment to circumvent the vulnerabilities of the various machines. The paper also discusses tensions and challenges that remain, despite these efforts.

​David Kalman: Maintenance in Jewish Thought

This paper is an attempt to open a conversation between historians of technology and religious studies on the topic of maintenance, a concept which is new to the former but has long between central to the latter. In this talk, I intend to speak briefly on two key areas that are worthy of further study. As a historian of Judaism, I will focus on Jewish thought in particular. First, there is maintenance in the realm of theology. In many religious traditions, the notion of God as a powerful creator is a central dogma, one which motivates obedience towards the diety. While the notion of God-as-creator is frequently associated with the divine ability to bring new items into being (“Let there be light,” and so on), many religious traditions contain the idea that God’s creativity is expressed in the upkeep of the world itself. I will outline several instances in which the God-as-maintainer concept is expressed and attempt to determine why the idea is stronger at certain times than at others. Second, I will speak about maintenance as a religious value, one which is central for understanding how religious norms evolve in a changing culture. In Judaism, maintenance is frequently associated with “tradition.” Not infrequently, maintenance has led Judaism to preserve technologies long after they had been replaced, in the process transforming those technologies into religious symbols. Witness, for example, the Torah scroll, which has not been the latest in book technology for almost 2000 years. I will explore several ways in which maintenance leads to religious meaning.


Monday October 7, 2019 2:00pm - 2:30pm
Ballroom

2:00pm

Practicing Care: Exploring a Maintenance Schema for Sustainable and Compassionate Academic Library Work
In libraries, there is nothing that does not, at some level, need to be maintained. Physical and virtual collections need to be developed; physical and virtual spaces managed; and instructional services designed, delivered, and sustained. But as social, political, cultural, and technological changes have shifted perceptions about the value of libraries, librarians have often responded with an agenda of innovation to remain relevant and reach an ever expanding user population. However, innovation as a euphemism for “doing more with less,” is not sustainable. Greater attention and care need to be given to maintenance in academic libraries. As a critical response to the obsession with innovation, this panel proposes a schema (comprised of energy, resources, platform, and vision) to make visible the essential role of maintenance in academic libraries. The panelists—librarians at a variety of academic institutions—will use the maintenance schema to analyze the teaching and learning work taking place within academic libraries. Teaching librarians’ capacity to maintain various roles as advocates, coordinators, instructional designers, lifelong learners, and leaders directly affects their ability to support student learning within and across academic, professional, civic, and personal contexts. The lack of attention to maintenance in teaching and learning work in libraries has critical implications for librarians’ identities, advancement, job security, and the potential for burnout. While specifically focused on teaching and learning within libraries, this panel proposes the maintenance schema as a means of recognizing and applying a theory of maintenance for use in other contexts. This presentation draws broadly from the library literature, maintenance studies, information theory, innovation studies, and discussions of burnout to frame and demonstrate the interconnectedness of the maintenance schema.


Monday October 7, 2019 2:00pm - 2:45pm
4ABC (2nd Floor)

2:00pm

Unconference 1 Topic Seed: A Valuable Flaw: Bug Bounty Programs, Software Maintenance, and Infrastructure Labor
In 1995, Netscape launched a then-novel idea: a program that paid users for flaws they discovered in the most recent version of their Netscape Navigator web browser. Over the next two decades, “bug bounty” programs, as they are known, became commonplace: Google, Microsoft, Facebook, Starbucks, the Department of Defense, and hundreds of other organizations now routinely purchase flaws from thousands of individual security researchers across the globe. What was once radical is now typical: Bounty programs are a key way of organizing the work of software maintenance. The market for bugs alternately blurs, complements, and challenges other maintenance models (including open source and proprietary models). This paper offers a critical examination of how the market for bugs (partially) reorders the work of identifying and fixing flaws: It identifies how the invention of the market at once creates new forms of economic, legal, and technical precarity and new spaces for investigation, collaboration, and opportunity; and it analyzes the various social strategies that security researchers use to navigate and create stability within the market. The paper is based on data collected through ethnographic observation and indepth interviews with security researchers and other participants in bug bounty programs. As bounty programs become a de facto way of organizing and managing software maintenance (and are proposed as a balm for other sociotechnical flaws and failings), understanding what the market means for infrastructure labor is vital. This paper reports initial findings from an ongoing research project sponsored by Data & Society Research Institute and the National Science Foundation.


Monday October 7, 2019 2:00pm - 2:45pm
5AB (2nd Floor)

2:00pm

What Do Maintainers Do?
Panel Description: Maintenance and repair are essential and take myriad forms in transportation. The talks on this panel will give us in-depth studies of what transport maintainers do all day.

James Risk: "Innovating Maintenance or Maintaining Innovation?: Policy and Practice in the United States Lighthouse Establishment, 1789 - 1852"

In the ninth official act of Congress, the United States federal government assumed responsibility for maintaining the young nation’s lighthouses, buoys, and public piers. Over the next six decades, the United States Lighthouse Establishment contracted with individuals who possessed mechanical ability, but who at the same time lacked formal education in science and the arts. In the course of their daily activities of maintaining the coastal lights, those individuals made improvements to the lighthouse lamps and developed new technologies to aid in lighting the coast. These advancements were made under the guise of maintenance, leading many to overlook the innovative aspect of the improvements. This also led the United States Lighthouse Establishment’s unstated policy of privileging maintenance over innovation. The Lighthouse Establishment’s practice highlights one of the important debates in the history of maintenance and innovation - one does not exist without the other. The relationship between the two is cyclical. In the case of the United States Lighthouse Establishment, maintenance bred innovation which in turn required additional maintenance. Between 1789 and 1852, the Lighthouse Establishment’s administration politicized this debate. The government favored the thrift of the maintainers while more formally educated engineers criticized the administration for its poor maintenance. The engineers attributed the poor maintenance to the administration’s failure to innovate and keep pace with real technological advances in optical science and ultimately used the argument against maintenance to wrestle control of the Lighthouse Establishment away from the Fifth Auditor and the Treasury Department.

Liska Chan: "Making-do in Manhattan’s Chinatown"

Using Manhattan’s Chinatown as a case study, this paper will build on arguments around making-do, first as described by Michel de Certeau in The Practice of Everyday Life as “tactics,” a form of improvisation, expanding it to include Svetlana Boym’s notion of “diasporic intimacy” (Critical Inquiry 24, 1998) as an expression of care, and Shannon Mattern’s Places Journal (November 2018) article, which explores the value of maintenance as an alternative to, or a form of, innovation. It will show that making-do found in Chinatown places values of invention and adaptation above those which are normative and standard, production over that of consumption, informal over formal, and vernacular and personal over that which is designed and mass produced. On Chinatown’s streets one cannot walk 20-feet without encountering evidence of making-do, where readily-available and cheap devices such as tape, hose, string, and wire are utilized to make barriers, shelters, temporary awnings, splash guards, and walls. Making-do does not adhere to the norms of common practices of urban place-making. One notices it because of its contrast to normative forms, yet it is ubiquitous and a defining feature in Chinatown. A paper that closely examines the aesthetics of making-do in Chinatown is an important first step in unpacking not only how it is a distinct and important practice that shapes everyday life in lower Manhattan, but also how this little studied vernacular is a form of maintenance, a potentially subversive act of inventiveness and ownership, a resistance to assimilation, and an expression of key dynamics in immigrant cultures between identity, enfranchisement, and the claiming of urban space.

Andrian Deoancă: "Worker's Skin"

This paper examines repair technicians’ practical, symbolic, and affective interaction with dirtiness at a state-run depot that services locomotives for Romania’s public passenger rail carrier. Since the fall of state-socialism in 1989, the Romanian Railways Company, a monolithic powerhouse of the centrally planned economy, had undergone a process of vertical separation that safeguarded public rail enterprises from privatization, but also sent them in a deep economic slump. This double-edged process of state encompassment and state divestment inflates the importance of mending aging equipment that public enterprises can not afford to replace, and simultaneously renders workers’ bodies vulnerable to processes of material decay. The poor state of the machines, the ruination of the workshops, and the low-tech, manual, nature of their labor bring technicians routinely in physical contact with grimy, viscous, and abject materials that contaminate their skin. Although getting dirty is part of the job and a symbolic centerpiece of their masculinity, technicians talk about dirtiness in a morally charged idiom of “filth” that casts their degraded labor in terms of embodied disgust and social abjection. Informed by twelve months of participant observation in an electrical locomotive shop at the Bucharest Depot, this paper employs “skin” and “filth” as heuristic devices to explore the contradictions of maintenance labor in a post-socialist context of underfunded public services, crumbling infrastructure, and degraded workers’ identity.

David Ballard: "Maintaining while Improving on the Fly: The US Air Traffic Control System"

The National Airspace System (NAS) is a digital and physical infrastructure that provides a setting in which diverse private and public air transport activities can occur simultaneously. The collection of activities enabled by the NAS –the users of the NAS – is sometimes called the National Air Transportation System. This paper will examine some of the challenges and difficulties faced by an air transportation system comprised of increasing numbers of users with diverse levels of capability. These challenges take place in a dynamic environment, one in which total (commercial) air traffic is growing and at times becoming more concentrated at specific high demand airports. Such changes in system use will bring new challenges to those who operate and maintain the aviation infrastructure. This is especially exemplified in the need to increase the digital capabilities of the aircraft using (especially) the high demand airports, with parallel needs to improve airport and air traffic control technologies and capabilities – an exercise sometimes likened to changing an automobile’s tires while it drives down a highway. Achieving an acceptable level of system safety while serving the needs of NAS users and their customers relies on a large cadre of workers and managers who exhibit a wide array of responsibilities, specializations, and skills. These range from air traffic controllers to airport baggage handlers.

James Longhurst: "Meter Maids are Maintainers: A Research Plan for the History of Disputed City Streets"

If we think of urban streets as socio-technical systems meant to be shared between multiple users (i.e., as a commons), then maintenance of those systems includes not just care for the physical infrastructure, but also day-to-day management of the conflicts between those varied users. Without such daily care, the entire system fails; the commons cannot be shared without management. Why then have the human practitioners (including traffic police and majority-female non-police parking attendants) of this necessary maintenance been mocked, belittled and held powerless over the last century? As a historian of urban and environmental policy, I propose a new research project that links the spirit of the Maintainers with work in mobilities studies, active transportation advocacy, and urban planning. The current system of automobility fails to effectively share urban space between competing users without ill-health, massive social inequity, and fatalities. It takes the perspective of the Maintainers to fully understand why this is so.

Abstracts may be edited due to character limits


Monday October 7, 2019 2:00pm - 3:30pm
6ABC (2nd Floor)

2:30pm

Mowed Over: Community Governance of Public Space
The goal of this workshop is to create a conversation among policy makers, activists and researchers about the different ways communities take on maintenance and stewardship responsibilities for open spaces in cities. Although upwards of 90% of the cost of open space is in maintenance, and only 10% on initial construction, cities struggle to find funding for ongoing care. In recent decades cities have turned to communities and private entities to take on this work. This has been organized through a variety of mechanisms–everything from park advisory councils and friends groups to land trusts, privately operated public places and conservancies. How are those relationships organized, funded and enforced? What are the benefits and pitfalls of shifting maintenance responsibilities from the public to perform key open space functions?  In this workshop we will begin with a brief presentation exploring the nuances of several different approaches to open space maintenance through real life examples from across the country. Then through a small group activity we will create our own community based governance models for an imagined scenario. This activity is designed to facilitate explorations of the relationship between open space maintenance and other sectors such as economic and community development, mental health and education. In the shift to community responsibility we shift from treating open space maintenance as a simple means to an end and begin to see open space maintenance as a means to tackle other problems and provide opportunities (local jobs, sense of place, social cohesion, youth programs, etc). Our hope is  to lay out the possibility for innovation in the open space maintenance sector. It also brings to the fore the millions of community-based volunteers and staff who participate in the maintenance of urban landscape is a daily/weekly practice.

Target Audience

Policy makers, activists and researchers interested in delving into the nuances of the policy tools used to organize communities maintenance of public places.

Key Learning Objectives

Our goal is first to understand the benefits/pitfalls and actors involved in different ways communities take on maintenance and stewardship responsibilities for open spaces in cities. Second, through the hands on exercise, we hope to use the cross-disciplinary opportunity to better understand the relationship between open space maintenance and other sectors as well as exploring new strategies for organizing localized maintenance.

Workshop Structure/Agenda

25 minutes presentation of case studies followed by 25 minutes governance design exercise and report back.


Monday October 7, 2019 2:30pm - 3:30pm
Ballroom

2:45pm

Domains of Information Maintenance
Domains of Information Maintenance

Paper Titles and Abstracts

Chad Weinard: Maintaining the Future of Museums

Museums are caught between maintenance and innovation culture. On one hand, museums are maintainers par excellence. Charged with keeping collections forever, they've developed robust systems and protocols for conserving and preserving objects. And yet, the software and technology systems that would help are woefully out of date. On the other hand, museums have embraced innovation culture to deliver novel experiences in their galleries. Terrified by irrelevance and eager to connect with new audiences, museums invest in short-term technology that drains budgets and contributes little to long-term goals. This paper will refine the case for innovation in museum infrastructure, for recognizing the development of collection data--the long-term, living, changing descriptions, stories and context around objects--as an act of creative maintaining, and for developing experiences that draw from, and feed, innovative museum infrastructures.

Kate Dohe, Erin Pappas, and Celia Emmelhainz: Delay, Distract, Defer: Understanding the Saboteur in the Academic Library

In 1944, the US Office of Strategic Services released the Simple Sabotage Field Manual. Originally intended to aid the WWII-era citizen saboteur in committing small, undetectable acts of sabotage within an enemy organization, the Field Manual developed a second life on social media after its declassification, as its advice to “make faulty decisions, to adopt an uncooperative attitude, and to induce others to follow suit” echoed the pitfalls of modern office work. In the context of academic libraries, seemingly neutral actions that actively work to delay production may include our insistence on following proper channels, creating committees, haggling over precise language, and holding unnecessary meetings. In this paper, we argue that academic libraries find themselves uniquely susceptible to unintentional and willful saboteurs alike. As higher education’s hierarchical culture meets professional norms that stress collaborative decision-making and emotional labor, we create an environment ripe for exploitation by those unhappy with the direction of an organization. As workers charged with the stewardship of information infrastructure, and as individuals who create and implement best practices in digital cultural heritage systems, library saboteurs have the potential to derail and impede the care work essential to information maintenance. This paper explores aspects of the Field Manual that apply to modern organizations, how academic libraries can fall victim to sabotage, and ways that individual librarians and staff can identify and resist the saboteur in the next cubicle--or in their own learned library behavior.

Nathaniel Stanton: Representational Maintenance: Surveying, Representation, and Labor in Archeological Knowledge Production

Archeological practice as traditionally conceived does not suggest that a complex assembly of technical instruments are crucial to its operation. Rather, archeology’s popular visage conjures notions of painstaking excavation among picturesque ruins, with complete artifacts emerging from the earth’s clearly defined strata. Like all scientific activity, archeology is much messier, and fragmentary than its popular figuration suggests. In practice, archeological knowledge production depends on instruments to both detect traces of the past, and capture those traces in memory and reference systems for analysis. These instruments, both material and digital, require maintenance. In the case explored, the Mt. Lykaion excavation and survey project in Arkadia, Greece, extracted archeological materials and information move through an array of articulated information systems. The central platform of this articulated system is a map of the site created by the topographical survey team. This digital representation is a formally accurate model of the site, which situates the topographic space and stratigraphic time of artifacts or features. From the perspective of deambulatory Science Studies model this digital representation is the edifice from which archeologists create, justify, and communicate their knowledge. This paper first offers a procedural account of the construction of this archeological representation from the perspective of the primary instrument involved in its creation, the Total Station. After a practice focused account, this paper will use ethnographic data to explicate the role of survey instruments, labor, and data system maintenance in the production of archeological representation. Ultimately, this paper will seek to critique archeological expertise from the perspective of the sites informational maintainers.


Monday October 7, 2019 2:45pm - 3:30pm
4ABC (2nd Floor)

2:45pm

Unconference 2 Topic Seed: Versions of Versions
The practice of versioning gives us second, third, and n-th chances at solving hard problems. But few maintainers give versioning a first thought. Versions play a rarely-recognized role in today's ever-expanding dependency trees. What are the empirical results of versioning at scale? How can we leverage versions to improve our design, software, and document ecosystems? Will maintainers give versioning a second thought?


Monday October 7, 2019 2:45pm - 3:30pm
5AB (2nd Floor)

3:30pm

Break
Monday October 7, 2019 3:30pm - 3:45pm

3:45pm

3:45pm

Lawyering as Maintenance
The lawyer of the popular imagination may not be a maintainer. But law is a service profession, and the role of many lawyers is to one of keeping trouble from happening rather than intervening after it does. Public defenders may examine the social and legal needs of their clients in order to limit the collateral consequences of criminal charges. In-house counsel might provide legal advice when developing a project to sidestep legal issues, rather than waiting for a lawsuit to drop. Maintenance is the everyday work of lawyers, whether they represent organizations or individuals. And lawyers whose work is preventing problems from happening have to focus on care-work and relationship-building rather than adversarial approaches. Unfortunately, these skills are rarely valued or brought into focus by the legal community, which valorizes the same high stakes proceedings as the popular media. Lawyering as Maintenance will explore how (some) lawyering is maintenance work, and how the carework that defines maintenance lawyering is undervalued by even those within the field. The panel will look at how care is coded by gender and race within the legal profession, and how established practices and hierarchies (such as the billable hour or the focus on appellate work) discourage maintenance. Rather than focusing on one area of law in particular, Lawyering as Maintenance will bring together diverse areas of practice. Public defenders, trademark practitioners, immigration attorneys will reflect upon what they maintain and how care work is integrated into their everyday practices.


Monday October 7, 2019 3:45pm - 4:45pm
Ballroom

3:45pm

Behind the StoryCorps Broadcast: Maintaining Stories in the Archive And On the Air
In this 45-minute workshop we’ll provide a brief overview of StoryCorps, and explore how our highly standardized production and archival practices have been designed to place primacy on care for our participants as people–that is, we do not consider our narrators ‘story subjects to be looted’. We’ll discuss how this approach promotes equality and respect in the archive; honesty and integrity in our broadcast pieces; and ensures the long-term viability of StoryCorps as a national storytelling project. We will play audio clips throughout the workshop, so attendees may walk away with a keen sense of the “sound” of our broadcast, and of our archive. Archivist Maria Santiago will walk participants through StoryCorps’ standards of archival description; how our metadata is generated; where it’s maintained, reviewed, and scraped; and how these practices strive to mitigate biases, un-silence marginalized groups, and provide equal access to representation in the StoryCorps archive on both the micro and macro levels. We’ll also discuss the limitations of metadata: what it can and cannot tell us about an interview’s content. To this end, Maria will share a story about mining our metadata to identify ‘sensitive content’ prior to the launch of our online archive. Producer Camila Kerwin will describe how producers practice care for stories during a famously critical, meticulous editing process. We’ll discuss how the potentially violent process of cutting up audio can bloom into an act of radically championing our participants’ stories–using their own words to tell a story artfully, then providing a national platform through which their truth can be heard. Camila will also discuss other aspects of the StoryCorps production machine, including date pegs, which affect when a story is heard; as well as the annual ritual of choosing which national events, remembrances, and human treasures will be granted one of StoryCorps’ fifty annual pieces.  

Target Audience

Archivists, storytellers, librarians, [meta]data nerds, anybody interested in the art and stakes of storytelling and making meaning of lived experience.

Key Learning Objectives

To examine and problematize the archiving of people’s stories To interrogate the harmony and tension that can arise between artful storytelling and complex experience To shed light on the multifaceted and interdepartmental care required at StoryCorps to honor and preserve people’s stories.

Workshop Structure/Agenda

StoryCorps’ audio archiving and storytelling / radio production practices are necessities of mass production. But we see no paradox in high volume manufacture and genuine respect for our participants. In this workshop we’ll explore how our highly standardized production and archival practices have been designed to place primacy on care for our participants as people–that is, we do not consider our narrators ‘story subjects to be looted’. We’ll discuss how this approach promotes equality and respect in the archive; honesty and integrity in our broadcast pieces; and ensures the long-term viability of StoryCorps as a national storytelling project. Archivist Maria Santiago will walk participants through ‘the lifecycle of the interview,’ discussing StoryCorps’ standards of archival description; how our metadata is generated; where it’s maintained, reviewed, and scraped; and how these practices strive to mitigate biases, un-silence marginalized groups, and provide equal access to representation in the StoryCorps archive on both the micro and macro levels. We’ll also discuss the limitations of metadata: what it can and cannot tell us about an interview’s content. To this end, Maria will share a story about mining our metadata to identify ‘sensitive content’ prior to the launch of our online archive. Producer Camila Kerwin will walk participants through the process and transformations an interview undergoes, from the recording studio to the airwaves. Camila will describe each step of production, emphasizing how producers practice care for stories during a famously critical, meticulous editing process. We’ll discuss how the potentially violent process of cutting up audio can bloom into an act of radically championing our participants’ stories–using their own words to tell a story artfully, then providing a national platform through which their truth can be heard. Camila will also discuss other aspects of the StoryCorps production machine, including date pegs, which affect when a story is heard; as well as the annual ritual of choosing which national events, remembrances, and human treasures will be granted one of StoryCorps’ fifty annual pieces. To fully engage with these concepts, attendants will listen to clips of StoryCorps broadcasts as well as unedited sections not heard on-air. They’ll review anonymized samples of metadata and participate in short exercises that demonstrate the attention and care required to maintain the integrity of our participants’ stories. Exercises may include: listening to unedited sections of tape and sharing out which moments, phrases or words were most striking, then playing the produced piece to see what actually remained in the final piece; “reverse-engineering” a compelling moment of audio to attempt to uncover what question the producer asked to generate that moment; and sharing out which keywords may best ensure the discoverability of a piece of audio for future generations. All exercises will encourage the participation of the group at large, or split into smaller breakout sections. Following the feminist methodology that values discussion rather than talking at our participants, we hope to share a lively discussion with our attendees, and facilitate a supportive atmosphere in which everyone leaves feeling they’ve broadened their horizons -- and perhaps made a friend.


Monday October 7, 2019 3:45pm - 4:45pm
4ABC (2nd Floor)

3:45pm

4:30pm

Software Daily Recap
Moderators
Monday October 7, 2019 4:30pm - 4:45pm
5AB (2nd Floor)

4:45pm

Daily Wrap-Up and Closing Remarks (10/7)
Monday October 7, 2019 4:45pm - 5:30pm
Ballroom
 
Tuesday, October 8
 

8:00am

Breakfast (10/8)
Tuesday October 8, 2019 8:00am - 9:00am
Ballroom

8:00am

Registration Desk Open (10/8)
Tuesday October 8, 2019 8:00am - 5:30pm
Foyer

9:00am

Mel Gregg & Deb Chachra Keynotes, Moderated Discussion
Mel Gregg

Slack, G-Suite, Teams: How the cloud absolves the work of maintenance
 
In the Client Computing Group at Intel, our studies of professionals over the past few years have shown a growing reliance on cloud services. From communication platforms facilitating the virtual water cooler for distributed teams to freemium software packages carried forward from education, users are turning to cloud services for reasons of ease and convenience. Despite critical concern about data privacy and surveillance, consumers by contrast often claim to “love” Google. Seamlessly synching storage capabilities are a helpful addition to the toolkit of professionals who are navigating a fast-paced and often unpredictable work world. This talk shares findings from a selection of studies to prompt some fundamental questions about the changing nature of knowledge work, especially the cognitive burden of maintaining order and access to up-to-date files in an environment of information overload.

Deb Chachra

Caring for People, Maintaining Systems: The Future of Infrastructure

In water-stressed Mexico City, an estimated 30% of the water is lost to leaks in aging, poorly-maintained municipal pipes. Neighborhoods like Iztapalapa, both poor and far from reservoirs, are dependent on water deliveries from pipas, or water trucks, whose erratic schedules may even prevent women from holding jobs outside the home. Many of us take it for granted that we can come home, turn on the lights, fill a pot with clean water from a tap, put it on the stove, take fresh food from the fridge, and soon sit down to dinner. Our networked infrastructures—water, sewage, electricity, natural gas and more—make us, in Paul Graham Raven’s phrase, ‘collective cyborgs’: these systems extend our reach, power, and control far into the landscape around us, not as individuals but as a community. In the domestic realm, they augment or replace daily labor, often gendered labor, so while they underpin the autonomy and agency of all of us, their impact on women’s lives is disproportionate. We are realizing that our infrastructural systems are at an inflection point: we need them to be sustainable, including decarbonizing their energy footprint, but also resilient, particularly in the face of climate change, and equitable, in their role as key contributors to equality of opportunity. But precisely because of our critical and continuous dependence on these systems, they can’t be disrupted, or even neglected: they need to be maintained, even as we reconsider them and build out new systems. Infrastructure is always a palimpsest, never a clean slate. From the year-long electrical outage in Puerto Rico after Hurricane Maria, to biowarfare waged by the deliberate neglect of water and sanitation systems in Syria, the failure to maintain infrastructural systems—one of “society’s small, sacred trusts” (in Tracy Kidder’s words)—can have devastating consequences.


Tuesday October 8, 2019 9:00am - 10:30am
Ballroom

10:30am

Break
Tuesday October 8, 2019 10:30am - 11:00am
Ballroom

11:00am

Impermanence
How buildings age, weather, and decay -- and how we keep them going by cleaning, maintaining, and repairing them -- is rarely addressed in design studios in schools of architecture. What if we were to acknowledge impermanence as an emblematic condition of buildings? Would this shift in perspectives bring to our attention issues we currently overlook? What if we considered what happens to building in and over time? Could exploring different kinds of time and duration (cycles of use, rates of material decay, stylistic currency, diurnal rhythms) enrich the design process as well as the design proposals that result? Would this awareness prompt us to keep daily cleaning, regular maintenance, and periodic repair in mind as we select materials, develop details, and consider finishes?  This paragraph is taken from a recent architectural design studio brief that introduced daily cleaning, regular maintenance, and periodic repair into the mix. In order to give these issues sustained traction within the studio design process, professionals from the campus facilities management department as well as architecture firms participated in the studio. The conversations were surprisingly easy and quite enlightening -- every one, including the students was invested in thinking through and imagining what lay downstream in order to recalibrate or rework their decisions.  The proposed panel discussion builds upon and extends this conversation by problematizing the continuities and disconnects between pedagogy (design instruction), practice (design firms), and maintenance (facilities management). The participants are: Roy Decker of Duvall Decker, an award-winning practice based in Jackson, Mississippi, that also offers on-going maintenance and maintenance planning to their clients; Jamie Ready, a civil engineer who oversees facilities maintenance operations for Georgia Tech; and Sabir Khan, a professor in the College of Design who teaches design to students in architecture, engineering, and industrial design.


Tuesday October 8, 2019 11:00am - 11:45am
Ballroom

11:00am

No Gods, No Masters, and Instead Coalitional, Honest, Kind, Non-Abusive, Anti-Oppressive, Real-Deal, On the Ground, Radical Librarianship
Many of us come to libraries for refuge, yet we end up feeling like perpetrators. In order to do our work, we are given colonizing, controlling, silencing infrastructure sustained by people who enact violence and erasure upon differently-raced, -gendered, -abled, -resourced bodies. It doesn’t have to be this way, however. For things to change, we must leave the safe confines of the orderly library run on innovation by change-agents and instead locate the dark, neglected places in need of repair: the stacks, the OPAC, the reference desk, CEUs for the precariat. Pulling from interconnections across our experiences in technical services and cataloging, understanding automated retrieval systems, offering frontline public services, and working with professional associations and professional development, we will discuss how librarians have and can draw on the rich, long history of radical educational movements or other interconnected practices that have long flourished within communities of color, brewed in working class and anarchist pedagogies, and practiced within activist movements to foster spaces of resistance (within) and in opposition to capitalist superstructures. Privileging local knowledge practices and community empowerment and rooted in a feminist ethics of mutual aid and coalitional politics, we can use the pedestrian tools of our craft to breakdown arbitrary divisions between a person’s value and their position, to protect those who speak truth to power, to replace exploitation with the willingness to trust that people can behave in cooperative and non-abusive ways, and to reject the choice between practicing calcified professional standards and ethics of care. Treating our daily work as a platform for action, for creativity, for care, for radical purpose, for productive dissonance, and for resistance entrenched in history and informed by critical methodologies will allow us to reflect honestly on how we will meet the challenges of our present and future. Because ultimately, we want libraries to work: to work for the communities they are of, for the professionals that maintain them, and to work especially for those for whom they have never quite worked.  


Tuesday October 8, 2019 11:00am - 11:45am
4ABC (2nd Floor)

11:00am

Unconference 4 Topic Seed: OSS as Critical Digital Infrastructure: Legal Technologies and Institutional Design
Our hypothesis is that the legal regime governing the development and use of open source software contributes significantly to the under-supply of critical digital infrastructure maintenance. In our project we seek to develop creative readjustments of ‘legal technologies’ and adapted or novel institutional designs (e.g. entities such as fiduciary trusts, ‘global digital infrastructure maintenance hubs’) in close coordination with interested participants in open source software work.  The project will explore legal devices and institutions to best support open source elements of digital infrastructure, reflexively with rigorous examination of problems of open source software creation, release, and maintenance. This requires close interaction with the digital infrastructure ecosystems and the diverse range of stakeholders, interests and incentives as well as understanding of values and core commitments in the open source communities. The inherently global nature of OSS as digital infrastructure likely necessitates the creation of non-jurisdiction bound “legal technologies” and institutions, which raise special issues of law and governance and pose distinctive opportunities and challenges for the transnational open source software development communities. We would like to use this roundtable to engage with participants at Maintainers III to exchange ideas and to learn about maintenance of different kinds of OSS in practice, especially transnationally. For more information about our work check www.guariniglobal.org and follow us @guariniglobal


Tuesday October 8, 2019 11:00am - 11:45am
5AB (2nd Floor)

11:00am

Transport Inequality Panel
Panel Description: Transportation systems have politics and often connect with and reinforce existing social hierarchies. The papers in this panel will deepen our understanding of transportation and inequality, including topics like race, global health, and the environment.

Paper Abstracts

Alice Goldfarb: "Done, if by Sea: Consequences of the Potential End to the Alaska Marine Highway System"

Alaska governor Mike Dunleavy’s budget proposes discontinuation of the state’s ferry service, known as the Alaska Marine Highway System, a week before Maintainers III. Running from Bellingham, Washington in the south, through Juneau and Homer, and along the coast to Unalaska, further west than parts of Russia, the ferries currently serve 35 communities with varying frequency. In this paper, I will look at the communities which depend on the Alaska Marine Highway System. The governor proposed ferry service cancellation as being financially considerate, with the savings intended to go toward increasing the annual dividend that Alaskans receive from the state’s Permanent Fund. Decisions made based on an average impact can overlook the way those effects actually distribute. For people unable to afford to charter a boat or plane, the ferry is the one available transportation option to 28 of the currently served communities, which are not on the road network. Stores use the regular arrivals as a way to restock, people take the ferry to cities to visit the doctor, and daily routes get children to school. The governor’s rationale, explained with concerns about cost and efficiency, is hardly unique to these intended changes. Privatizing or eliminating services is often a proposal for improving a budget without consideration for the unequal burden it will put on the people whose lives most depend on that service, in this case including people in communities that have been served by the ferry service since before Alaska was a state. I will examine the barriers to access people have to alternatives if the ferry does conclude service. I will also consider the effects from similar changes to ferry service in British Columbia five years ago. The proposal to close the Alaska Marine Highway System is a distinctive example of a common policy approach.

Amanda Phillips de Lucas: "Field Notes on Maintenance and Stewardship of Green Infrastructure"

Over the past decade, green infrastructure (GI), broadly defined as “natural, semi-natural and engineered features that perform multiple ecosystem services”, have emerged as a favored intervention within cities struggling to resolve issues related to storm water pollution, flooding, and degraded environmental quality. These installations, include, but are not limited to, rain gardens, pervious pavements, and green roofs that retain or slow the drainage of water into engineered storm sewer systems. Often GI is described by supporters as providing health or social benefits, including a reduction in urban heat island and increased green space. Thus, GI aims at transformative ends – a technological system both ecologically and socially rehabilitative. Yet, as the popularity of GI expands, cities grapple with familiar infrastructural quandaries related to maintenance, repair, and civic interruptions that emerge upon the introduction of new material forms into the environment. For instance, agencies that fund installations will pay for design and construction, but refuse to award money toward maintenance. Furthermore, in highly segregated cities, such as Baltimore, engineers and planners struggle with equitably distributing installations while also remaining receptive to the concerns and desires of local communities. This presentation will discuss findings from interviews conducted in Baltimore City studying resident perceptions of GI. Drawing from analysis of 60 semi structured interviews, I will discuss how residents across different socio-demographic groups described their thoughts and feelings related to urban land stewardship and the maintenance and care of GI installations. Although research is currently ongoing, we anticipate results being useful for policy makers and practitioners interested in incorporating social data into civic infrastructure planning.

Heidi Morefield: "Killer Roads or a Long, Long Walk: Infrastructure and Healthcare Access in Africa"

When we think about the biggest threats to global health, a few big name infectious diseases tend to come to mind: HIV, TB, malaria. Some more conscientious scholars, noting that “global health” doesn’t just apply to what many think of as the developing world, may also throw heart disease, cancer, or microbial resistance into the mix. It was surprising, therefore, when a global burden of disease study in 2015 concluded that unintentional injuries were the third largest killer worldwide, just after heart disease and stroke. Road traffic accidents make up the bulk of these deaths, particularly on the African continent. At the same time, lack of access to health care facilities—often due to a lack of roads—causes millions of preventable deaths each year on the continent. In a world where global health solutions typically focus on the distribution of drugs, vaccines, or devices like water filters, few people pay attention to the maintenance of infrastructure like roads, power grids, and water systems. Yet most other interventions depend on their availability. Focusing on data and cases on the condition of roads in Africa, I posit that a lack of investment in infrastructure is a greater threat by far to world health than causes that receive far more attention and donor funding. Drawing from archival sources, journalistic accounts, WHO data, and personal experience, this paper showcases the inequity inherent in a healthcare landscape inaccessible to all those without and off-road ready vehicle.

Alisa Slaughter, Jessica Ivette Sevilla Ruiz Esparza, and Benjamin Lachelt: "Power, place, and trees: urban maintenance practices in San Bernardino and Mexicali" (Advance Copy PDF Below)

Trees and public art are considered unambiguous assets in most contexts, but in reality, neither are ever neutral. They make a demand (for care and maintenance) and send a complex set of signals about the identity, value and role of a neighborhood, a city, or a forest. We propose to look at two locations - Mexicali, Baja California, and San Bernardino, California - with particular attention to parks and pedestrian-level streetscapes, to discuss official, hybrid (“public/private partnership”), arts-based, and unofficial maintenance practices. Both cities are in arid, hot climates, both are automobile- rather than pedestrian-oriented, and unlike other cities in the region, they lack consolidated gastronomic sectors, coastal tourist zones, or “vibrant” urban life. Their lack of robust marks of distinction or collective representative symbols make them “gray” destinations that struggle to establish or maintain dignified public spaces. Parks and pedestrian spaces may provide shade and places to sit, walk, eat, socialize, and develop a sense of connection to particular natural and social environments, but in both Mexicali and San Bernardino, they are often unloved or neglected, with attention and funds diverted to top-down, sanitized, or privatized non-solutions. In response, communities may recognize opportunities to take part in the transformation of their cities, starting with reclaiming their right to public space and to a healthy environment, finding support in biophilic maintenance practices.



Tuesday October 8, 2019 11:00am - 12:30pm
6ABC (2nd Floor)

11:45am

Architecture
Paper Titles and Abstracts

Keojin Jin

When approaching building design, architects consider only the elements of the present time. However, like humans, each building has a unique, undetermined life span. Despite the efforts of governments to quantify and generalize the life spans of structures, it is in fact a complex task to determine the expected duration of a building’s life span, as many factors impact its resulting life span. The type of construction methods that were established to meet the steep increases in urban populations during the post war period resulted in a decreased life expectancy for buildings. As the growth reach its limits, methods that were designed to keep pace with growth periods create collisions within the changing environments. This tension is especially pronounced in structures designed quickly to meet an urgent population need, but with minimal forethought given to the building’s duration and the ensuing environmental ramification at the end of its brief lifespan. Replacing these structure is expensive: if we continue the present convention of developing new cities with method of construction that only meets its short term needs, we will be both financially and ecologically bankrupt due to the high environmental toll of such short-life span buildings. Therefore, developing a proactive set of city planning which takes account of its long-term impact of increasing the duration the building’s life span from its early city planning stage will be a critical strategy for preventing the ensuing crisis of large scale building obsolescence as urban areas progress proceeds through the future era of growth stabilization. For better articulation of the ecological impact of the short-term obsolescence of the typology driven mainly by distributor driven by economic/ political motives, this study performs emergy (spelled with an “m”) synthesis study of the Jam-sil district development plan in Seoul.

Vyta Baselice: Concrete Breakdown: Maintaining the Material of Permanence

The Portland Cement Association, the concrete industry's principal trade organization, marketed its product since the early decades of the twentieth century with the motto, “Concrete for Permanence.” It imagined that since this new medium was manufactured using scientific principles, including their application in distribution, merchandising, standardization, engineering, and even sack handling, concrete environments would not have to be maintained. We now know this advertising was terribly misleading as concrete infrastructure in the United States and abroad continues to crumble and demand extensive investment. Using several historical case studies, this paper examines the concrete industry's changing attitudes toward maintenance throughout the long twentieth century and its contemporary takes on the longevity of its material. 


Tuesday October 8, 2019 11:45am - 12:30pm
Ballroom

11:45am

Information Infrastructures
Information Infrastructures

Paper Titles and Abstracts

Jen Liu: Internet of Dirt: Maintaining Agricultural IoT Systems

In recent years, Internet of Things (IoT) infrastructures have expanded into the field of agriculture. Some of the applications for IoT in this context includes precision agriculture, livestock monitoring, and smart greenhouses. While these systems are designed in specific ways to fit their environment, they may degrade and fail in unexpected ways that require replacement and repair. In this presentation, I will present initial research on the maintenance of IoT infrastructures in the context of farms in the upstate New York region. This research includes examining the interactions between farmers, technicians, IoT infrastructures, and the environment as a way to understand how these systems are maintained across different field sites in rural and agricultural contexts. The findings from this research identifies mismatches between practices at the field sites and current design directions of IoT infrastructures as a way to question the development of IoT systems for agriculture at local, regional, and global scales.

Rory Solomon: Unpacking a Mesh Install Kit: An Object Lesson in Community Network Maintenance

Since the FCC repeal of net neutrality policy in the November 2017, there has been a surge of interest across the United States in community networks, projects in which frustrated customers and citizens come together in various formations to find ways of provisioning internet for themselves. Such projects typically develop using mesh networks: a class of communications infrastructure unfolded through direct, physical, peer-to-peer links, championed for their localism, resiliency, and ability to circumvent the control of an authoritarian regime or unpopular corporate service provider. For the past two years I have conducted ethnographic fieldwork following a group of technology activists working to build an urban community mesh network in a large northeastern metropolis. Through participant observation I have attended meetings, debated project goals and guidelines, and climbed rooftops throughout the city to install and maintain the antennae that comprise this city-wide wireless network. The network spreads when interested individuals make a join request, prompting a visit to their home by volunteers who provide long range WiFi hardware, and connect it to a nearby node. During these visits, complicated social epistemologies are negotiated by which volunteers attempt to articulate the project not as a commercial commodity, but rather as a commons, the care for which all members own a shared responsibility. Distributing this labor has become a crucial concern as the resource demands of maintenance have recently surpassed those of new installations. With this talk I unpack the install kit of a typical project volunteer. Heavy spools of ethernet cable, an electric drill purchased oneself, a WiFi router paid for from project funds, a wiring kit gifted from the project founder after one’s third install, and a cart to carry it all across town: together these and other objects illustrate interwoven dynamics of voluntarism, informal policy, public/private partnerships, collective affect, and camaraderie that go in to sustaining this community infrastructure.

Daniel Greene: Turnkey Internet: Commercial Real Estate and the Maintenance of Information Infrastructure

At the physical core of the newest sectors of the economy is one of the oldest: The noble landlord. This paper maps the real estate market for globe-spanning, critical internet infrastructure: Tier 1 backbone, Internet Exchange Points, carrier hotels, and data centers. Particularly in the US, the firms building and managing this core infrastructure are not organized as traditional ‘tech’ companies, much less as utilities or nonprofits. Rather they are real estate investment trusts (REITs) backed by private equity and in search of the ideal locations on which they can grow their facilities and solicit business from major purveyors of internet traffic (e.g., telecommunications) and major content providers (e.g., the search and social media giants, but also large firms in finance and health). They see their mission--as a recent IRS ruling confirmed--as leasing a particular kind of space for a very specific class of tenants. Their competition is not Microsoft or Facebook, but other REITs who specialize in other sorts of spaces--whether that’s storage units or malls. Following the privatization of the NSFNET backbone, the firms I call ‘internet landlords’ cemented a new model of rentiership into the most important physical infrastructure of the information economy. These enigmatic figures often started their careers in commercial real estate (e.g., malls, offices), and took that business model onto the internet. Today, their renting decisions undergird the transmission, internetworking, and storage of everything from Netflix binges to medical records. In both urban and rural settings, this dynamic reshapes the physical and economic landscape of the industrial era, and traps internet infrastructure in feedback loops that jeopardize secure communications, universal service, and safe neighborhoods.


Tuesday October 8, 2019 11:45am - 12:30pm
4ABC (2nd Floor)

11:45am

Unconference 5 Topic Seed: Open Source as Liturgy
Discussion of the impact of practices on the open source culture and it's values. What are our current practices (meetups, conferences, releases) and how have they shaped us for good/bad? What new practices can we create?


Tuesday October 8, 2019 11:45am - 12:30pm
5AB (2nd Floor)

12:30pm

Lunch (10/8)
Tuesday October 8, 2019 12:30pm - 1:45pm
Ballroom

1:45pm

Lightning Talk Round (10/8)
Lightning Talk Round

Speakers, Titles, and Abstracts

Angelyn Chandler: Historic Districts: A call for equity

Hudson, New York, was established in 1783, as a whaling port. The form of the city is a grid of five blocks north to south, by nine blocks stretching east from the Hudson River. Despite removing blocks of historic fabric in the working class section of town during a period of urban renewal in the 1970s, Hudson is more-or-less an eighteenth and nineteenth-century city architecturally. Hudson has six historic districts, all of which exclude the urban renewal area and other historically intact sections in the working class areas—generally the north side of town--due to “deficiencies in architectural integrity and distinction”. The north side—roughly one quarter of the city--may not consist of high architecture, but underneath the alterations and dilapidation is a fabric that tells the story of the working class of Hudson. Because this area was left out of the historic districting, the homes there are not eligible for state historic tax credits which could significantly lower the cost of renovation and maintenance. This exclusion ensures that only the fabric—and the history--of the wealthier areas survives. When this exclusion has been challenged by homeowners and preservationists, renters who fear gentrification have shut the challengers down. By limiting access to financial and technical resources for maintenance and renovation to only those properties within a historic district, Hudson’s historic districting prioritizes the fabric of the wealthier neighborhoods and makes that of the rest of the city sacrificial. Maintenance thus becomes a political weapon to reinforce a particular cultural identity. But we can no longer tell only one story: the buildings of all of us should be valued and maintained.

Brandon Benevento: Representing Maintenance: Upkeep as Critical Reading and Writing Practice

Representation of maintenance offers authors writing practice that allows plotting of social/systemic criticism via direct representation of individuals working in specific settings. A recent illustration: HBO’s Succession, depicting a Fox-like media empire, begins with a maid scrubbing the founder’s urine from a rug after he mistakes the location of a bathroom. Using maintenance, the scene immediately establishes criticism of wealth. Weightier examples abound. Richard Wright uses maintenance jobs in Native Son to reveal black labor, far from the factory, as a systemic base. Across the political spectrum, Sloan Wilson’s The Man in the Gray Flannel Suit puts a nanny into the foreground only to make her wage demands a source of victimization of the white male protagonist, just another thing the breadwinner must keep up with. The reverse side of the writing-practice argument is that examining maintenance in texts provides critic's a powerful reading tool for illuminating political, social, racial, sexual and economic commitments and confusions. While facilitating detailed, intersectional readings based upon minute depictions of work, the greatest value of maintenance as an analytic device is simplicity. In accessible fashion, maintenance yields a few direct questions: Who and what maintains? Who and what is maintained? In terms of the practice of maintenance studies, “Maintenance,” as analytic tool (as much as a bundle of types of work) helps navigate a major tension in my own research and thinking. Maintenance registers as deeply undervalued and exploited and yet as fulfilling, interconnecting, creative, work. While I have little in the way of “solving” this bind, applying such dual-sidedness as an analytic concept has a lot to offer studies of literature, culture and labor. More importantly, it helps articulate actual positive and negative qualities of work, even in mixed up form.

Matt Battles: The Careful Archipelago: Performing Maintenance in the Penguin Exhibit

We talk of performing maintenance; how do we confront its performativity? I bring this question to bear on my own experience as a maintainer during six months I spent volunteering with the penguin crew at the New England Aquarium—where care is enacted, among birds as bodies and communities, under conditions of notable theatricality. An interdependence is woven in the exhibit's waters, a performance of what Donna Haraway (2003) calls "significant otherness," in which care-ful human labors unfold in relation to nonhuman flourishing. This enactment of care stands apart from the Aquarium's interpretive program, which emphasizes ecology and exotic marine otherness. The exhibit is framed with placards that tell of evolution and reproduction, of populations threatened by climate change; wall-mounted maps indicate the far-flung islands where colonies perch. But the archipelago that Aquarium penguins occupy is stranger than any mapped there: an ecological niche framed and enacted—scrubbed clean—by the performance of maintenance. My talk for the Maintainers conference will tease out and frame this enjambment of interpretation and the performance of care, with special attention to the public mise-en-scene of maintenance.

Varun Adibhatla: The Guild of Leaks, Cracks, and Holes

The guild is an invitation to create a community of art, evidence, kinship, and practice around an ethos of Maintenance to share with, entertain, and inform a world preoccupied with moving fast and breaking things in the public realm. This lighting talking introduces the guild's aspirational coat of arms.

Justin Shapiro: Decent, Safe, and Sanitary? Kenilworth Courts and the Envirotechnical Failures of Public Housing in Washington, D.C. (Advance Copy PDF Below)

Throughout his career, John Ihlder sought “decent, safe, and sanitary” housing for the poorest residents of the District of Columbia. During his tenure as head of the National Capital Housing Authority he oversaw the establishment and growth of Washington’s public housing program. Despite his vision, ultimately Washington’s public housing agency was unable to deliver such beneficial housing to its poorest residents. This discussion details one particular case study, that of Kenilworth Courts. By doing so, I will highlight the envirotechnical forces that determined the negative public health outcomes at Kenilworth Courts.

Abstracts may be edited due to character limits



Tuesday October 8, 2019 1:45pm - 2:15pm
Ballroom

1:45pm

Software Curation: Intersection of Policy and Practice
Software curation/preservation is a growing field of practice, with organizations and initiatives that are emerging to form an ecosystem. One key feature of organizational ecosystems is that human actors can develop norms, values, and intentional networks to regulate competition for the greater good -- in our case, the preservation of software. Through moderated, roundtable discussion this panel will explore the following: Where do law and information policy intersect with evolving software curation practice? What current advocacy activities are taking place to support software curation, not only in the U.S., but the global community of software curation practitioners? What are the challenges facing software curation practitioners in terms of changing local organizational policy to encompass sharing and reuse of software between organizations? How do we build capacity to do software curation within organizations? What are the long-term maintenance and sustainability implications of community-owned infrastructure that enables long-term access to software?


Tuesday October 8, 2019 1:45pm - 2:30pm
4ABC (2nd Floor)

1:45pm

Unconference 6 Topic Seed: Building a Bridge to a Legacy Application - How Hard Can that Be?
My team was asked to build an integration with an old legacy application which had no programming API whatsoever, and we were so excited. How did we tackle that challenge? Did we succeed? What happened next? Come and listen to find out. And I promise the ending will surprise and/or depress you.


Tuesday October 8, 2019 1:45pm - 2:30pm
5AB (2nd Floor)

1:45pm

Maintenance and Smart Cities
This panel will examine the roles of and conversations around maintenance in smart cities

Pamela Robinson: “State of Good Repair: Does it have a Future in the Smart City?”

The State of Good Repair is a dominant infrastructure benchmark for North American infrastructure management. This maintenance standard is used to guide municipal capital budgeting investments so that infrastructure is: able to perform its designed function; does not pose a known, unacceptable safety risk; and its lifecycle investments have been met or recovered (FTA 2016). The State of Good Repair (SoGR) standard has long been applied to Toronto transit and other infrastructure projects with one of its originator’s, David Gunn, holding the Chief General Manager of the Toronto Transit Commission 1995-1999. The City of Toronto still uses the SoGR in its capital budget process as evidenced in myriad 2019 budget reports to Council. But Toronto is now home to a large smart city experiments – Sidewalk Lab’s Quayside. Will this standard be continue to guide capital investments in the smart city? This paper takes the form of a blog post that will explore the extent to which the State of Good Repair approach to infrastructure development manifests itself, or not, in the draft Master Innovation and Development Plan (MIDP) for Quayside from Sidewalk Toronto. There are few smart city projects that have received as much media attention as this one but the majority of the focus thus far has been on privacy, surveillance, citizen resistance (e.g. #blocksidewalk) and private sector influence over public service provision. The MIDP will be the first real look into the business model for this project so it will provide an interesting opportunity to contrast Silicon Valley’s “move fast and break things” approach to test-bed urbanism with Toronto’s longstanding affection for SoGR. This blog post will explore the aforementioned elements of SoGR and help map the vision for the Quayside project onto the broader landscape of maintainer thinking and practice.

Kevin Rogan: “Care Against Growth: Making the Ephemeral Physical in Toronto's Smart City” (Advance Copy PDF Below)

Sidewalk Labs presents its smart city project in the Toronto docklands as a catalyst for “urban revolution”. There are several widely discussed aspects of this so-called “revolution”—the relationship between the city and technological progress, the extraction of data from citizens, and the ecological aspects of urban smartness, to name a few. I seek to investigate yet another tendency lurking inside Sidewalk’s proposals: to diminish the role of urban maintenance and labor. A number of Sidewalk's ‘public sphere’ innovations betray this hidden bias. These technologies either try to make labor disappear—for example, moving courier and delivery services underground into service tunnels custom built for this purpose—or to make labor into a diminished machine part of the city's functioning. This tendency appears most overtly in Sidewalk’s widely lauded use of ‘smart pavers’ for roads and public surfaces; despite their touted benefits of responsiveness and ‘plug and play’ features, they also are designed to be easily and quickly swapped out if broken. I argue that this design feature was not introduced to make things easier, but instead to reduce the minimally necessary amount of upkeep in their proposed physical-digital system, thus reducing the work of repair to mechanic process. This is fitting for a would-be administrator that thinks of the world in machinic terms. Against this technochauvinistic ideology, I propose that cities are messy systems, but not organic; they are concatenations of lived social knowledge. A celebration of caring and careful maintenance must be foregrounded.

Alexandra Crosby: “Can a Smart City be Slow and Small? Using Permaculture Principles to Maintain Space, Knowledge, and Neighbourhood?”

Can a Smart City be Slow and Small: Using Permaculture principles to maintain space, knowledge, and neighbourhood This paper throws together two seemingly opposing ideas, permaculture and smart cities, by looking at a collective maintenance experiment in a neighbourhood of Sydney, Australia. ‘Frontyard’, established in 2015, is located on Cadigal-Wangal land in Marrickville, a suburb at the frontier of some of Australia’s most ambitious urban development. The organisation is named for its uncharacteristically wild and shady entrance, now a hammock grove. Deeper in the property is an unassuming 1950s building with a large workshop room, two creative residency spaces, and a library, full of books, zines, exhibition catalogues mostly recomissioned from the national arts collection. In the library is also a large, Risograph Duplicator and a shared work desk. Out the back are four large productive garden beds with leafy greens, herbs, and strawberries. The Frontyard organisation (decision making, accounting, and archiving) is guided by permaculture principles, particularly principle no.9 ‘use small and slow solutions’. Frontyard also chooses, uses and maintains a wide range of digital technologies to connect to community and ‘sister spaces’ all over the world. Self proclaimed ‘janitors’, Frontyard organisers simultaneously maintain the property, and a range of systems for sharing knowledge. In doing so, Frontyard is modeling a preferred urban future where the metaphor of the smart city could refer to care, repair, inclusion and discovery.

Carole Voulgaris: "Autonomous Vehicles: Maintaining Inequality?"

Much has been made of the potential for connected and autonomous vehicles’ (CAVs’) potential to improve users’ quality of life by reducing the frustration and inefficiency associated with traffic congestion. Traffic congestion is a function of the ratio of the number of vehicles using a roadway (volume) and the maximum number of vehicles that the roadway can accommodate (capacity). Vehicle connectivity and autonomy could indeed reduce congestion by enabling fleets of vehicles to coordinate their movements more efficiently, thereby increasing the effective capacity of a roadway. However, since CAV users —freed from the task of vehicle operation— could use their travel time for more pleasant or productive activities, automation would also increase travelers’ tolerance for traffic congestion, increasing the demand for motorized travel and likely returning congestion to (and even beyond) levels experienced prior to the introduction of CAVs. The negative effects of vehicular congestion extend beyond vehicle users’ lost time to other harms shared with non-users, such as pollution exposure, climate change, and hostile land development patterns. By increasing travelers’ tolerance for congestion, CAVs have the potential to shift the burden of congestion-related harms from vehicle users to non-users. Since vehicle ownership is highly correlated with income —and this relationship may be even stronger for CAVs— this would represent a benefit to higher-income households at the expense of lower-income households. Well-designed roadway user fees, policies to facilitate ride sharing, and pairing of electric vehicle technology with AV technology could contribute toward a more just distribution of the benefits and harms of CAVs.



Tuesday October 8, 2019 1:45pm - 3:15pm
6ABC (2nd Floor)

2:15pm

'Making do’ to Sewing-up Protest: A Hands-on Mending Workshop
Mending, a critical skill of garment maintenance, has a long history and multiple cultural associations ranging from the practicality of thrift, gendered domestic labor, and preservation of artifacts, to assertion of individuality and symbol of protest.  This workshop brings together perspectives on mending from history, museum practice, and contemporary social movements along with a guided hands-on session, and asks the maintainers community to reflect on the contemporary relationship between people and their clothing:  How can practices of maintenance promote agency within the lifecycle of clothing, from its production to “end of life”, and what broader implications exist for our communities? Participants in this session are invited to bring their own items of clothing in need of mending with them to the workshop, which will conclude with instruction in mending and darning techniques, with time to mend clothing together.

Target Audience

People engaged in the fields of textiles, fashion, conservation, materials history, STS, craft enthusiasts, menders - anyone who washes, cares for, or wears clothes!

Key Learning Objectives

-Reflect upon the lifecycle of one’s own clothing
-Understand contemporary mending practices within a longer historical frame
-Discuss one’s own clothing maintenance practices
-Analyze the role of current fashion industries in one’s own clothing maintenance or mending practices
-Apply mending practices to a personal item

Workshop Structure/Agenda

The first half of this workshop will consist of a presentation on the social relevance of modern mending, punctuated throughout by activities where attendees will have the chance to reflect on and discuss their own clothing maintenance practices in groups with others. At the end of the workshop, attendees will be invited to mend a piece of their own clothing in community with each other.


Tuesday October 8, 2019 2:15pm - 3:15pm
Ballroom

2:30pm

Maintaining Information in/with Software
Maintaining Information in/with Software

Paper Titles and Abstracts

Este Pope: Shutting it Down: Questioning Maintenance of Institutional Repositories (Advance Copy PDF Below)

What happens when an institution loses interest or confidence in the promises of open access and wants to scrap the institutional repository? This paper will address questions about the permanence of open access institutional repositories, when limited resources are available to maintain such systems, and local repositories must compete in a complex scholarly publishing landscape. Faced with questions from administrators about the value of investing staff time in the maintenance of an open access repository, library staff must question assumptions, consider multiple perspectives, and articulate the value of the work. The paper will acknowledge and question the connection of an institutional repository to the library mission of stewarding and curating knowledge. Perspectives will be shared regarding the invisibility of the expertise and the value of surfacing the maintenance work required to create and preserve digital repositories in libraries. The core principle of open access, the practice of weeding digital collections, and an ethics of care in building and breaking digital systems will be considered, weaving in examples and thoughts from practitioners and scholars. Practices of maintenance work more broadly and the notions of repair and sustainability will be considered in the context of institutional repositories.

Ruth Tillman: Maintenance, Labor, and the "Classic Catalog" (Advance Copy PDF Below)

After bringing their card catalogs online in the 90s, many libraries have maintained these decades-old interfaces even as they adopt new systems focused on the discovery and use of subscription materials such as single journal articles. Though antiquated in design, such "classic catalogs" remain popular with librarians and faculty. As libraries move into a third generation of catalogs and discovery systems, those charged with leading the effort are choosing to rethink the classic catalog or do away with it entirely. This paper visits the history of library catalogs on the web, examining the necessary maintenance introduced by each generation. It concludes with an assessment of the difficult decisions around labor and maintenance faced by those hoping to improve access to their materials.

Alex Gil: Two Case Studies in Minimal Computing

Minimal Computing in digital humanities started as a conversation among practitioners who were concerned about the maximalist tendencies of those who dream of projects, but don't have the skills to implement them themselves. This broad tendency still creates the illusion that participation in the practices of digital scholarship require large grants to hire those who would implement these dreams, turning the trend into an issue of inclusion and equity. In this talk I would talk about two prototypes that we designed at Columbia University Libraries and the Group for Experimental Methods in Humanistic Inquiry to address the trend and hopefully reverse it. The first prototype, Ed, addresses the genre of digital editions; The second, Wax, addresses the genre of digital cultural or scholarly exhibits. I will walk through the design process, and the ambitious number of concerns these prototypes address.



Tuesday October 8, 2019 2:30pm - 3:15pm
4ABC (2nd Floor)

2:30pm

Unconference 7 Topic Seed: Designing APIs for Humans: Developer Experience (DX), User Experience (UX,) and the Social Practices of Software Maintenance
Designing APIs for Humans: Developer Experience (DX), User Experience (UX,) and the Social Practices of Software Maintenance. With the proliferation of API platforms both in the private and public sectors, governments and corporations are increasingly investing in improving how Developers experience APIs. In this roundtable, participants will share their experiences using human-centered approaches to designing and deploying APIs. We will collectively question to what extent DX contributes to solidify the social practices necessary to design, build and maintain durable and reliable codebases.
We’ll loosely organize the conversation around key questions/themes: Why DX and not UX? What are some central differences/similarities?Is DX conducive to maintenance and repair of an API platform? What types of social relations does DX promote (patron/client, collaboration, partnerships, communities, others)? What are the strengths/limits of DX in making open data accessible? What are the unintended consequences of formalizing and professionalizing DX?

Here are some questions to think about ahead of our conversation.
(Roundtable Questions Also Attached in PDF Below)

We will share experiences working in DX. 
  • Come prepared to share your own experience working in DX.
    • What’s your background and current role? 
    • What has surprised you about working in DX?  
  • If you do not work in DX:
    • What’s your background and current role? 
    • Why are you interested in DX?

Why DX and not UX?
  • From your perspective, what are the main differences between DX and UX?
  • Can you think of an example that illustrates those differences.

DX, Maintenance, Repair 
  • What role does DX play in maintenance and repair? 
  • In your work, have you used DX practices to ensure the maintenance and repair of a codebase? If so, how? 
  • What types of relationships does DX foster among developers? Are these relationships conducive to maintenance? Can you think of an example to illustrate your answer? 
  • What are the unintended consequences for maintenance of formalizing and professionalizing DX? Can you provide an example? 

Public-sector DX, Corporate DX 
  • Does DX in the public and private sectors differ? If so, how? And what are the implications for codebase maintenance? Can you provide an example?  
  • What are the strengths/limits of DX in making open data accessible?



Tuesday October 8, 2019 2:30pm - 3:15pm
5AB (2nd Floor)

3:15pm

Break
Tuesday October 8, 2019 3:15pm - 3:30pm

3:30pm

Unruly Bodies of Code in Time
While many scholars of media and information systems argue for a materialist approach to the study of software, the temporal dimension of this materiality – how software ages, decays, obsolesces – is often left unconsidered as something that impacts practices of software work. Many have turned to historical software objects and have developed methods to read forensically, archaeologically, or genealogically such ephemeral forms of media. But little consideration for how coders and software developers deal with and read code as a historical object. In arguing for a materialist approach to software, there is a tendency to take for granted that the engineer or software developer working with code as a medium, has an inherent appreciation for the material specificities of code, its malleability as well as its obduracy. Yet in my ethnographic work with engineers and software professionals I see how moves to materialize or dematerialize software play a role in power relations, legitimizing or valuing certain kinds of software work over others, or even pathologizing particular attachments to code. As a formal construct, software is treated as immaterial and therefore impervious to decay, sometimes even imagined to be able to forever extend the life of hardware as it obsolesces. But in other, almost ritualized, moments, its materiality is called out.  Media scholars often turn to an archaeological or genealogical method to draw out the material specificity of software objects – this is in part because historical contingencies reveal the material nature of the digital in ways that newer systems do not. This appears to be true among software practitioners as well: as software ages, its materiality becomes more visible and felt within the organization. The more “historical” code is, the more it shifts from being “lines of code” to a “body of code” that has been traversed by many coders, touched by many hands, and becomes both feminized and pathologized for its unruliness. This paper discusses how software as an aged body of code is talked about by practioners working with code. What affective attachments are formed to code, how is old code valued or devalued? And what does this tell us about the broader disciplinary regime in which code as well as coding subject(ivities) are made?


Tuesday October 8, 2019 3:30pm - 4:00pm
5AB (2nd Floor)

3:30pm

Standards and Accessibility
Standards and Accessibility

Paper Titles and Abstracts

Greg Bloom: "Where can I go to get help?": Open Referral's intervention in the community resource directory anti-commons

At the first Maintainers conference, I presented a critique of 'the community resource data anti-commons,' and proposed a set of interventions that can re-establish community resource directory information as a public good. In summary: information about health, human, and social services is disaggregated (across jurisdictions, agencies, public and private sectors, etc) and decays rapidly (as funding, staffing, and programs change), which means considerable labor is required to maintain accurate directories of the resources that are available to people in need. The organizations that invest in such labor at significant scale tend to consider the resulting data to be their commodity (often unlike the many more people and organizations that maintain ad hoc, volunteer, small-scale directories) – which results in a tragic anti-commons in which many people and organizations need this information, and many expend energy to collect and provide it, yet expanding supply fails to effectively meet demand. The Open Referral Initiative designed a strategy to address this collective action problem – through the development of open standards and infrastructure for resource data exchange. Five years later, our data specifications have been approved by the industry association, the Alliance of Information and Referral Systems, and increasing numbers of organizations are using Open Referral to structure their tools for sharing and publishing resource directory information. This presentation will summarize how we achieved the development of an open standard, what has worked and what has not, where things need to go next, and what we can learn from a sustained effort at market correction through network organizing and open source development.

Kristy Darby: Growing Up is Hard to Do: Library of Congress Sustainable Digital Formats Website Turns 15

The Library of Congress’s Sustainability of Digital Formats website (“Formats”) celebrates its 15th year in 2019. Formats, as it is known at the Library, is one of the premiere resources in the world for in-depth information about digital file formats. Authoring the format description documents, which comprise the greater part of the resource, requires an extreme dedication to detail, extensive research, major time investment, and a very focused energy. While Formats is widely used by other projects, institutions, and registries, it is not guaranteed unconditional and ongoing support. No staff members work full-time on its production and maintenance; a few of us do this work along with our other duties and assignments. Formats is not glamorous, shiny, or new. We liken our work as that of a stage manager – not the highly visible star of the show, but the essential behind-the-scenes support that informs institutional guidance and empowers others to build on our work. A 15-year-old resource requires continued interest, a willingness to adapt to new trends and emerging formats, and commitment. We are continually expanding content categories in response to current scholarship and data. However, we continue to step back and review 15 years of work, knowing that we must review, edit, update, and sometimes make big changes to maintain the quality and significance of Formats. We are excited to continue work on Formats, maintaining 15 years of effort and expertise and growing in years to come.

Julie Hochgesang and Emily Shaw: Maintaining the Stories of the Deaf Communities at Gallaudet

American Sign Language (ASL), the language of the American Deaf communities, is about two hundred years old. But no widespread written language to represent ASL has ever been developed. This means there is no direct textual representation of the stories that have been told. But as soon as video cameras were invented, ASL stories have been filmed. Vast video resources beginning in the early 1900s that showcase multiple discourse genres produced by Deaf people from all over North America are available at Gallaudet. But they’re scattered and inaccessible. We detail efforts of an emerging project, Gallaudet University Documentation of ASL (GUDA), to digitally centralize and organize existing ASL video collections at Gallaudet University. That is, we are trying to maintain the stories that have been told at Gallaudet since the advent of filming in the early 1900s by drawing upon best practices of digital archives and language documentation to provide more direct representation of ASL stories. Although the challenges of representing a language with no written form continues, best practices of signed language documentation provide solutions that enable accessible representation of ASL through digitally shared resources that can be time-aligned to primary data using annotation software (ELAN, 2018) along with the ASL Signbank (Hochgesang et al, 2018). The underrepresentation of sign languages in general has led to repeated misunderstandings of the project and devaluing by stakeholders and funders. However, it is through the description and subsequent uses of this unique collection that the community value will become apparent. It is the primary aim of this project to compile and maintain a representative, accessible and lasting ASL resource for, by, and with the Deaf ASL community furthering the ideal of representation through documentation. GUDA then is the representation of ASL stories through combining ASL videos and data archiving protocols.


Tuesday October 8, 2019 3:30pm - 4:15pm
4ABC (2nd Floor)

3:30pm

Right to Repair and The Circular Economy
The twin abilities to repair and recycle products are deeply intertwined: unrepairable products are often also unrecyclable. In this panel, we’ll consider the role of Right-to-Repair and recycling practices in environmental sustainability and the Circular Economy. We’ll here from Right-to-Repair advocates, waste management leaders, and grassroots community workers holding Repair Cafes and building tool libraries to help and teach others to care for their goods. Ultimately, we’ll work to answer the question: how do we create a more repairable, recyclable, and sustainable future?


Tuesday October 8, 2019 3:30pm - 5:00pm
Ballroom

3:30pm

Maintaining Public Transit for All: Addressing Bias in Safety and Access
In this panel, discussions will focus on issues surrounding safety in transport infrastructures for all user groups––whose safety is accounted and planned for in our transport systems, who is left out or made unsafe by practices and policies, and how do contradictory needs play out?


Tuesday October 8, 2019 3:30pm - 5:00pm
6ABC (2nd Floor)

4:00pm

Bad Maintenance
I want to begin with the original reason for the incorporation of cryptography into our computers and computer networks: control for large institutions (state and corporate), and against adversary institutions and individuals. This has been clear since the inception of computer security. In the first large scale studies of how to implement distributed and adaptive computer networks, Paul Baran wrote in the early 1960s how cryptography would make the institutions organized by these networks impervious to contestation: no eavesdropping, no hacks, and thus, a far greater ability to implement their objectives without negotiation. Baran looms large in much humanistic theory, in which his technical work is taken as a founding text for a distributed society built on the network architectures he specified—but few academics are clear that this distributed system was always to be cryptographic, and always for dominant institutions. (Digital Rights Management (DRM) technologies are one conspicuous example.)

Cryptographic systems, then, are meant to increase control and to reduce slack : the inefficiencies, errors, and oversights that reduce system efficacy. Maintenance scholarship has typically focused on maintenance in the roles of social good. However maintenance is also central to systems that we do not wish to be perfectly maintained: those which would violate social norms if they functioned at high efficacy, and systems implicated in the national security posture of US adversaries. The latter case is more conspicuous in the rise of cyber conflict, and the competitive, sub-conflict ‘grey zone’ which sees the rise of a new doctrine, typified by US Cyber Command’s formal doctrine of persistent engagement of the enemy in cyberspace. Political and economic security in cyberspace, in other words, is not simply the result of an absence of cyberattacks, but the ability to maintain an appropriate security posture (which, in CYBERCOM doctrine, also involves active engagement).

In my talk I will explain how the security requirements of the Domain Name System (DNS) and its Security Extensions (DNSSEC) can be understood as sociotechnical maintenance. Understanding the role of maintenance in DNS and DNSSEC can, in turn, help us reassess maintenance as more (or less) than a social good, as a practice that can produce good or bad consequences for a given social group. 


Tuesday October 8, 2019 4:00pm - 4:30pm
5AB (2nd Floor)

4:15pm

Interrogating the Ethic of Care in Information Maintenance
The info-maintainers grew from an ad-hoc group of enthusiasts. We first collaborated on an article in which we contend that information maintenance must be infused with an ethic of care. Framed as a potluck, the paper is akin to a virtual table where everyone who identifies as an info-maintainer is welcome. In creating this feast of unanticipated opportunity, however, more questions may have emerged than were answered. We knew at the outset, for instance, that as a “small, privileged, and predominantly white, middle-class, US-based group” primarily operating in universities, libraries, and cultural heritage organizations, we were missing crucial viewpoints.   In particular, we did not adequately grapple with the nuances of how maintenance and care practices are situated in power structures—and how power imbalances can affect how different groups enact different aspects of care. Issues of diversity, equity, and inclusion are also germane to information maintenance and should be probed for a deeper understanding, especially in light of our commitment to an ethic of care.   In this session, we will discuss these challenges and identify possibilities for expanding and exploring them further. For example, we tackle the historical aspects of care frameworks in the information professions,  how misguided care ethicists disregard the agency of people toward whom they direct care, attempting to manage their lives, much as they manage and maintain information. Mark Parsons will introduce the paper, and then four panelists from diverse backgrounds, who are leaders in information maintenance, will discuss topics in need of more critical thinking and analysis. Our goal is to help identify key next steps for all info-maintainers to consider in building an ethic of care.


Tuesday October 8, 2019 4:15pm - 5:00pm
4ABC (2nd Floor)

4:30pm

Unconference Recap
Moderators
Tuesday October 8, 2019 4:30pm - 5:00pm
5AB (2nd Floor)
 
Wednesday, October 9
 

8:15am

Breakfast (10/9)
Wednesday October 9, 2019 8:15am - 9:00am
Ballroom

8:15am

Registration Desk Open (10/9)
Wednesday October 9, 2019 8:15am - 2:30pm
Foyer

9:00am

9:30am

Software Reports Out
Wednesday October 9, 2019 9:30am - 10:00am
Ballroom

10:00am

Transport Reports Out (10/9)
Wednesday October 9, 2019 10:00am - 10:30am
Ballroom

10:30am

General Reports Out
Wednesday October 9, 2019 10:30am - 11:00am
Ballroom

11:00am

Closing Remarks (10/9)
Wednesday October 9, 2019 11:00am - 11:15am
Ballroom

11:15am

Lunch (10/9)
Wednesday October 9, 2019 11:15am - 12:15pm
Ballroom

12:15pm