David Ribes, associate professor in Human Centered Design & Engineering, is launching a multi-year ethnographic investigation of how data are integrated across heterogeneous stakeholders concerned with Alaskan salmon in order to understand the challenges, benefits, and costs of data integration and sharing.
Alaskan salmon are increasingly threatened by global and local pressures. The diverse stakeholders concerned with salmon (including government, industry, science, etc.) collect data to support their unique goals, using a variety of collection methods and tools. However, the diverse data streams create a challenge when gathering information on the state of Alaskan salmon as a whole.
The National Center for Ecological Analysis, with support from the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation, has already begun integrating the salmon knowledge to build a better understanding on the current salmon system. Ribes, with doctoral students Sarah Inman and Charlie Hahn, will conduct ethnographic and archival studies with participants of the data integration effort to discover where challenges in data integration lie, and what opportunities it may uncover.
Ribes is excited to be given this opportunity by the Moore Foundation, saying “data integration efforts are becoming more important across all fields of science, state and industry. This case will help us understand what is at stake in these kinds of efforts: what do we gain and lose from integration, what does the work of integrating look like, and how are diverse stakeholders positioned to benefit (or not!) from participating.”