Metawork is information work

Last week, one of the big issues in the Finnish social media landscape was Jenny Lehtinen's piece on the gender inequalities of metawork (fi. metatyö). It tends to be women, in families the mom, who tends to be the one who does most of the coordination, checking of schedules and finding out details for everything that needs to be done. As an example, she writes on how it works to take children to swimming lessons (something a dad might do). The taking them there is only a part of the work. It takes much more time and effort to find out where and when swimming lessons are given, when you should apply to them, to actually submit the applications, checking that children have swimsuits and goggles, all things are packed before departing to the lessons, checking any changes in the schedule, notifying instructors when children cannot participate, checking and paying the fee adn so on.

All of this is metawork, something that has been discussed in the literature quite a long time (Magnusson & Minör 1993Gonzalez & Mark 2004Gerson 2008 and Katleena Kortesuo in Finland, to mention a few) but Lehtinen's take is refreshing in discussing metawork in a domestic non-work context and for pointing out the very real equality/inequality related issues embedded in metawork and its invisibility in contrast to 'real' doing of things. 

From the perspective of an information researcher, another interesting aspect of metawork is that much of the so called metawork is actually information work (on my work on information work, check articles on information work in museums and information work in general). Metawork is to a very large extent a question of seeking, finding, managing and sharing information that supports the work we are doing.

Archaeology and Archaeological Information in the Digital Society shows how the digitization of archaeological information, tools and workflows, and their interplay with both old and new non-digital practices throughout the archaeological information process, affect the outcomes of archaeological work, and in the end, our general understanding of the human past.

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COST-ARKWORK is a network funded by the COST scheme that brings together the multidisciplinary work of researchers of archaeological practices in the field of archaeological knowledge production and use. The aim of the network is to make a major push forward in the current state-of-the-art in knowing how archaeological knowledge is produced, how it is used and how to maximise its positive impact in the society.

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CApturing Paradata for documenTing data creation and Use for the REsearch of the future (CAPTURE) investigates what information about the creation and use of research data that is paradata) is needed and how to capture enough of that information to make the data reusable in the future. 

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