Informing Traces: The Social Practices of Collaborative Informing in the Midwifery Clinic

Informing Traces: The Social Practices of Collaborative Informing in the Midwifery Clinic

Pamela J. McKenzie (The University of Western Ontario, Canada)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-61520-797-8.ch012
OnDemand PDF Download:
No Current Special Offers


The concept of “traces” is useful for understanding the collaborative practices of informing. Readers of documents leave traces of their use, and institutional talk embeds traces of collaborative work, including work done and elsewhere and at other times. This chapter employs a multifaceted qualitative strategy of analytic bracketing to analyze traces in midwives’ and clients’ discussions of clinical results. Results are used to identify and evaluate trends in relation to the current case or to universal norms. Conflicting forms of evidence may need to be negotiated. Barriers may arise when results or sources are inadequate or unavailable. Midwives and women manage these barriers by flexibly assigning the role of information provider in official and unofficial ways. The analysis of traces provides insight into the hows and whats of collaborative work and reveals it to be a complex set of practices that go well beyond the immediately visible contributions of others.
Chapter Preview


Several LIS studies have considered the work of people who gather together over time in formal and informal groups such as departments, communities of practice, task forces, crews, and teams. LIS researchers have attended to the temporal situatedness of information-related activities (Solomon, 1997; Savolainen, 2006) and have considered the development of collaborative projects over time (e.g., Hyldegård, 2006). Traces become useful for participants to situate themselves in the ongoing trajectory of the collaborative endeavour (e.g., Sonnenwald, Maglaughlin, & Whitton, 2004; Hertzum, 2008). They also allow those not physically present to contribute to the business at hand, as people, institutions, and interests may be brought into the conversation through spoken invocation (McKenzie & Oliphant, 2010) or through documentary traces such as the medical record (Davies & McKenzie, 2004).

Complete Chapter List

Search this Book: