restricted access The Intermediation of Community and Infrastructure

The concepts of community and infrastructure reverberate throughout the information sciences. As digital information technology becomes ubiquitous in work and everyday life, scholars analyze how communities adapt to, and adapt, information infrastructure. This paper explores this topic through a cross-study of field scientists' changing data practices and of older adults learning technology. The contribution of this comparative study is the concept of an intermediary space. Both studies found individuals, referred to as intermediaries, who enable their communities to speak back to information infrastructure—that is, to have a voice in infrastructural development. In particular, the study noted the roles of those outside positions of power in the design and development of effective information infrastructure. Understanding this intermediary space involves attending to issues related to design and narrative. The implications of these findings include more effectively preparing the information sciences' workforce for these intermediary roles.