Publication statistics

Pub. period:1999-2012
Pub. count:13
Number of co-authors:32


Number of publications with 3 favourite co-authors:

W. Keith Edwards:
Marshini Chetty:
Erika S. Poole:



Productive colleagues

Peter Tolmie's 3 most productive colleagues in number of publications:

Steve Benford:121
Tom Rodden:106
W. Keith Edwards:62

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Peter Tolmie

Has also published under the name of:
"P. Tolmie"


Publications by Peter Tolmie (bibliography)

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Benford, Steve, Tolmie, Peter, Ahmed, Ahmed Y., Crabtree, Andy and Rodden, Tom (2012): Supporting traditional music-making: designing for situated discretion. In: Proceedings of ACM CSCW12 Conference on Computer-Supported Cooperative Work 2012. pp. 127-136.

An ethnographic study of Irish music sessions in pubs elaborates the collaborative work involved in making traditional music. Central to this distinctive achievement is the sequencing of tunes so that they hang together and combine to form discrete "sets", which rely on a shared knowledge of musical repertoires. Our study shows how musicians develop this musical knowledge through the use of digital resources and social networks. It also reveals how musicians construct and make use of various paper props to help bring their knowledge to bear in the actual in vivo course of a session so as to maintain the moral order of making music together in a demonstrably traditional way. The social demands of musical "etiquette" sensitise CSCW to the need to design technologies to support the "situated discretion" that is essential to traditional practices. We elaborate this notion through a discussion of requirements for technologies that bridge between online resources and the collaborative sequencing of tunes during performance.

© All rights reserved Benford et al. and/or ACM Press

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Crabtree, Andy, Mortier, Richard, Rodden, Tom and Tolmie, Peter (2012): Unremarkable networking: the home network as a part of everyday life. In: Proceedings of DIS12 Designing Interactive Systems 2012. pp. 554-563.

This paper extends the focus of current research into home networks. It represents a shift in perspective from the home network as something that is essentially understood as a technological object by the inhabitants of the home, to something that is understood by household members as a sociological object wrapped up in the organisation of their everyday lives. This shift in perspective is significant. It moves the focus of design from developing home network technologies that better support users' management of the home network and the devices that hang off it, to developing home network technologies that support household members' management of everyday life and the social activities that compose it. Through a range of ongoing ethnographic studies we elaborate this turn to the social, and a number of sensitising concerns informing the continued development of home network technologies.

© All rights reserved Crabtree et al. and/or ACM Press

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Mortier, Richard, Rodden, Tom, Tolmie, Peter, Lodge, Tom, Spencer, Robert, Crabtree, Andy, Sventek, Joe and Koliousis, Alexandros (2012): Homework: putting interaction into the infrastructure. In: Proceedings of the 2012 ACM Symposium on User Interface Software and Technology 2012. pp. 197-206.

This paper presents a user driven redesign of the domestic network infrastructure that draws upon a series of ethnographic studies of home networks. We present an infrastructure based around a purpose built access point that has modified the handling of protocols and services to reflect the interactive needs of the home. The developed infrastructure offers a novel measurement framework that allows a broad range of infrastructure information to be easily captured and made available to interactive applications. This is complemented by a diverse set of novel interactive control mechanisms and interfaces for the underlying infrastructure. We also briefly reflect on the technical and user issues arising from deployments.

© All rights reserved Mortier et al. and/or ACM Press

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Crabtree, Andrew, Rodden, Tom, Tolmie, Peter and Button, Graham (2009): Ethnography considered harmful. In: Proceedings of ACM CHI 2009 Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems 2009. pp. 879-888.

We review the current status of ethnography in systems design. We focus particularly on new approaches to and understandings of ethnography that have emerged as the computer has moved out of the workplace. These seek to implement a different order of ethnographic study to that which has largely been employed in design to date. In doing so they reconfigure the relationship ethnography has to systems design, replacing detailed empirical studies of situated action with studies that provide cultural interpretations of action and critiques of the design process itself. We hold these new approaches to and understandings of ethnography in design up to scrutiny, with the purpose of enabling designers to appreciate the differences between new and existing approaches to ethnography in systems design and the practical implications this might have for design.

© All rights reserved Crabtree et al. and/or ACM Press

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Grinter, Rebecca E., Edwards, W. Keith, Chetty, Marshini, Poole, Erika S., Sung, Ja-Young, Yang, Jeonghwa, Crabtree, Andy, Tolmie, Peter, Rodden, Tom, Greenhalgh, Chris and Benford, Steve (2009): The ins and outs of home networking: The case for useful and usable domestic networking. In ACM Transactions on Computer-Human Interaction, 16 (2) p. 8.

Householders are increasingly adopting home networking as a solution to the demands created by the presence of multiple computers, devices, and the desire to access the Internet. However, current network solutions are derived from the world of work (and initially the military) and provide poor support for the needs of the home. We present the key findings to emerge from empirical studies of home networks in the UK and US. The studies reveal two key kinds of work that effective home networking relies upon: one, the technical work of setting up and maintaining the home network, and the other, the collaborative and socially organized work of the home which the network is embedded in and supports. The two are thoroughly intertwined and rely upon one another for their realization, yet neither is adequately supported by current networking technologies and applications. Explication of the "work to make the home network work" opens up the design space for the continued integration of the home network in domestic life and elaboration of future support. Key issues for development include the development of networking facilities that do not require advanced networking knowledge, that are flexible and support the local social order of the home and the evolution of its routines, and which ultimately make the home network visible and accountable to household members.

© All rights reserved Grinter et al. and/or ACM Press

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Tolmie, Peter, Crabtree, Andy, Rodden, Tom and Benford, Steve (2008): "Are you watching this film or what?": interruption and the juggling of cohorts. In: Proceedings of ACM CSCW08 Conference on Computer-Supported Cooperative Work 2008. pp. 257-266.

A proliferation of mobile devices in everyday life has increased the likelihood of technologically mediated interruptions. We examine ethnographic data from an SMS-based pervasive game in order to explicate the situated character of interruption. Ethnomethodological analysis of gameplay in the context of participants' everyday lives shows that interruption handling is shaped by its accountability to the various people or 'cohorts' whose concerns participants need to juggle simultaneously. Findings inform existing approaches to design where certain presuppositions regarding the nature of interruption prevail. Accordingly, we propose an approach to interruption handling that respects the ways in which people orient to and reason about interruptions locally in the conduct of situated action.

© All rights reserved Tolmie et al. and/or ACM Press

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Tolmie, Peter and Crabtree, Andy (2008): Deploying research technology in the home. In: Proceedings of ACM CSCW08 Conference on Computer-Supported Cooperative Work 2008. pp. 639-648.

Deploying research technology in real homes is an important way of uncovering new possibilities for design. We reflect upon the deployment of a simple technological arrangement which might be construed of as a 'breaching experiment' that reveals significant challenges for technology deployment in the home. Of particular issue is the extent to which research deployments resonate with existing infrastructure and disrupt ordinary processes of domestication; the degree of ownership household members exercise over research prototypes and how this constrains domestication; and the nature of research practice and the limits this places on our understanding of domestication.

© All rights reserved Tolmie and Crabtree and/or ACM Press

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Tolmie, Peter, Crabtree, Andy, Rodden, Tom, Greenhalgh, Chris and Benford, Steve (2007): Making the Home Network at Home: Digital Housekeeping. In: Proceedings of the Tenth European Conference on Computer-Supported Cooperative Work 2007. pp. 331-350.

This paper exploits ethnographic findings to build on and elaborate Grinter et al's 2005 study of "the work to make the home network work". We focus particularly on the work involved in setting up and maintaining home networks, which we characterize as 'digital housekeeping'. Our studies reveal that it is through digital housekeeping that the home network is 'made at home' or made into an unremarkable and routine feature of domestic life. The orderly ways in which digital housekeeping 'gets done' elaborate a distinct 'social machinery' that highlights some important implications for the continued development of network technologies for the home. These include a requirement that designers take existing infrastructure into account and pay considerable attention to how future technologies may be incorporated into existing routines. The preoccupation of household members with making the home network transparent and accountable so that it is available to practical reasoning suggests designers should also consider the development of dedicated management interfaces to support digital housekeeping.

© All rights reserved Tolmie et al. and/or Springer

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Crabtree, Andy, O'Neill, Jacki, Tolmie, Peter, Castellani, Stefania, Colombino, Tommaso and Grasso, Antonietta (2006): The practical indispensability of articulation work to immediate and remote help-giving. In: Proceedings of ACM CSCW06 Conference on Computer-Supported Cooperative Work 2006. pp. 219-228.

This paper argues that the design of remote help-giving systems should be grounded in articulation work and the methodical ways in which help-givers and help-seekers coordinate their problem solving activities. We provide examples from ethnographic studies of both immediate and remote help-giving to explicate what we mean by articulation work and to tease out common and characteristic methods involved in help-seeking and the giving of expert advice. We then outline how emerging technologies might best be used to support articulation work in the design and development of systems for remote troubleshooting of devices with embedded computing capabilities.

© All rights reserved Crabtree et al. and/or ACM Press

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O'Neill, J., Grasso, Antonietta, Castellani, S. and Tolmie, Peter (2005): Using Real-Life Troubleshooting Interactions to Inform Self-assistance Design. In: Proceedings of IFIP INTERACT05: Human-Computer Interaction 2005. pp. 377-390.

Technical troubleshooting is a domain that has changed enormously in recent years. Instead of relying on visits from service personnel end users facing technical problems with machinery, for example computers and printers, can now seek assistance from systems that guide them toward an autonomous solution of the problem. Systems that can be offered to them are wide in their range, but typically fall either in the category of Expert Systems or searchable databases that can be queried with keyword searches. Both approaches present advantages and disadvantages in terms of flexibility to address different levels of user expertise and ease of maintenance. However, few studies explicitly address the issue of how best to design for a balance between guidance and user freedom in such systems. In the work reported here an office equipment manufacturer's call centre was studied in order to understand the mechanisms used when human agents guide users toward a resolution. The overall aim here is not to reproduce the agent behaviour in a system, but rather to identify which interactional building blocks such a system should have. These are assessed in relation to the existing online knowledge base resources offered by the same company in order to exemplify the kinds of issues designers need to attend to in this domain.

© All rights reserved O'Neill et al. and/or Springer Verlag

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Diggins, Tim and Tolmie, Peter (2003): The 'adequate' design of ethnographic outputs for practice: some explorations of the characteristics of design resources. In Personal and Ubiquitous Computing, 7 (3) pp. 147-158.

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Tolmie, Peter, Pycock, James, Diggins, Tim, MacLean, Allan and Karsenty, Alain (2002): Unremarkable computing. In: Terveen, Loren (ed.) Proceedings of the ACM CHI 2002 Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems Conference April 20-25, 2002, Minneapolis, Minnesota. pp. 399-406.

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Hughes, John A., O'Brien, Jon, Randall, David, Rodden, Tom, Rouncefield, Mark and Tolmie, Peter (1999): Getting to Know the 'Customer in the Machine'. In: Proceedings of the International ACM SIGGROUP Conference on Supporting Group Work 1999 November 14-17, 1999, Phoenix, Arizona, USA. pp. 30-39.

This paper reflects on the emerging results of a long-standing ethnographic study of everyday work in a large retail Bank. While customers as economic actors have often been overlooked in studies of computer supported work they are generally and necessarily the focus of commercial organisational life. The paper explicates the developing relationship between technology use and these organisational concerns through the notion of 'the customer in the machine.' Features of the contingent and skillful nature of everyday work are documented and used to comment on aspects of working with the 'customer in the machine' or 'virtual customers' within a rapidly changing commercial organisation.

© All rights reserved Hughes et al. and/or ACM Press

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