Remembering My Hat

6th September 2012

Ethnomethodology and record-keeping

Filed under: Uncategorized — rememberingmyhat @ 17:30
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(cc) Nimages DR

(not actually my desk)

I have tidied my desk! I usually do this as a rite-of-passage at the end of a major piece of work, by which stage my desk is about 6 inches deep in papers. This time, I also dealt with the piles of paper that I have lugged through three office moves, many of them dating back to my post-doc job in 2003. I made a policy decision that I will no longer keep paper copies of articles once I have finished using them (with a few exceptions for papers I am always citing and ones that are hard to get hold of electronically).

But I feel a little anxious about ‘losing’ all those references, most of which are not in my Endnote collection. Even though having them in a two-foot pile did not really make them accessible in any meaningful sense. In particular, I don’t want to lose some of the really interesting papers in areas I am no longer researching (but conceivably might in the future). 

So, just a note to my imagined future self, who wants to do something more around record-keeping and/or protocol-based care, in a vaguely ethnomethodological kind of vein:

  • Marc Berg and/or Stefan Timmermans do really good stuff
  • Lucy Suchmann (now at Lancaster, it seems) does too. Not just Xerox, also pilots and other settings
  • Trace (2002) ‘What is recorded is never simply what happened’ 
  • Paul ten Have (1995) overview of medical ethnomethodology
  • and, of course, the grandaddy of the field, Garfinkel’s ‘Good organisational reasons for bad clinical records’

If ethnomethodology is defined as “the study of members’ methods for producing recognizable social order/s” (Rawls, 2000) it is, of course, entirely suitable that I re-encountered these readings while producing a socially recognisable tidy desk.

(cc) reway2007

(Also not my desk)

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