David B. Martin


Remembering David B. Martin and his Ethnographic Studies of Crowd Workers

Speaker: Benjamin Hanrahan (Penn State University)

Tuesday, October 31, 2016, 5-6pm

An informal recording of the talk is available online on YouTube.

Talk Abstract

On June 22nd, 2016, the HCOMP community lost a valued member with the unexpected passing of David B. Martin, who spent the greater part of his life studying the practices of people at work. How people collaborate with each other, how they communicate and what they do... all those little mundane things that, put together, constitute the fabric of a social system. David was an ethnographer, inherently interested in the tension between tools, progress and the reality of everyday life. His recent work was focussed on studies of crowdworkers, where he challenged the mainstream approach embedded in microtask platforms of "workers as machines" and suggested the need, based on the evidence of his studies, for fair and established work relationships, even in low skilled work. David's dedication, inspiration, and vision will continue to live on in all of us who were touched by his work.

For additional details: see the Follow the Crowd blog post.

Speaker Biography

While a Research Scientist at Xerox Research Centre Europe, Benjamin Hanrahan worked with David Martin in investigating the practices of workers on the Amazon Mechanical Turk (AMT) crowdsourcing platform. This work described and contrasted the experience of Being a Turker in the United States and India, and outlined the invisibility of their work products and practices to the various stakeholders. Particularly, they refuted the notion that workers on AMT were working for fun, and outlined how AMT served as a safety net. Based on these findings they constructed the TurkBench tool, that aimed to increase the agency of workers by re-rendering the presentation of information and imbalance of functionality on the platform.

Selected Articles

Turking in a Global Labour Market
David Martin, Jacki O.Neill, Neha Gupta, and Benjamin V. Hanrahan. In Proceedings of the 19th ACM CSCW Conference on Computer Supported Cooperative Work & Social Computing, pp. 39-77, 2016

TurkBench: Rendering the Market for Turkers
Benjamin V. Hanrahan, Jutta K. Willamowski, Saiganesh Swaminathan, and David B. Martin. In Proceedings of the 33rd Annual ACM Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems (CHI), pp.1613-1616.

Being a Turker
David Martin, Benjamin V. Hanrahan, Jacki O'Neill, and Neha Gupta. In Proceedings of the 17th ACM CSCW Conference on Computer Supported Cooperative Work & Social Computing, pp. 224-235, 2014.

Turk-Life in India
Neha Gupta, David Martin, Benjamin V. Hanrahan, and Jacki O'Neill. In Proceedings of the 18th ACM GROUP: International Conference on Supporting Group Work, pp. 1-11. 2014.

Understanding Indian Crowdworkers
Neha Gupta, Andy Crabtree, Tom Rodden, David Martin, and Jacki O.Neill. Back to the Future of Organizational Work: Crowdsourcing and Digital Work Marketplaces Workshop at CSCW 2014.

Relationship-based Business Process Crowdsourcing?
Jacki O.Neill and David Martin. In IFIP Conference on Human-Computer Interaction, pp. 429-446, 2013.

Form digitization in BPO: from outsourcing to crowdsourcing?
Jacki O'Neill, Shourya Roy, Antonietta Grasso, and David Martin. In Proceedings of the 31st ACM SIGCHI conference on Human factors in computing systems, pp. 197-206, 2013.