Cranford History

Social Informatics

Social Informatics and Information  – All around Cranford

This Digital Library was created as part of graduate coursework in information science.   The project librarian has particular interest in the area of Social Informatics and has found many connections in the areas of Information Seeking, Oral History, Digital Preservation Tools, Community Informatics,  Reference Services, Personal Information Management and Social Informatics in the course of building this Digital Library –

This page attempts provides a brief overview of a few concepts related to Social Informatics  with  relevance to the Cranford and Local History Librarianship.

Brenda Dervin, of Ohio State University, has studied the topic of Sense making , which simply stated is the process by which people give meaning to experience.  Dervin’s work, references the concept of a bridge in information seeking.  Cranford, a community built on the banks of the Rahway River – has many bridges connecting neighborhoods.  Local History Librarianship, bridges times, people, cultures and tools, as the information seeker travels ever deeper into the collection of information and artifacts related to his or her community.

Dervin’s original hand-drawn sketch of the Sense Making Bridge is depicted in this image:

Retrieved from Wikipedia – April 22, 2012 –


According to the Rob Kling Center for Social Informatics – at Indiana University Bloomington:

“Social Informatics (SI) refers to the body of research and study that examines social aspects of computerization, including the roles of information technology in social and organizational change, the uses of information technologies in social contexts, and the ways that the social organization of information technologies is influenced by social forces and social practices.”

Examples of technology and in particular information and communications technology transitions that directly relate to Cranford’s historical context:

  1. Water powered Mill- Technology at the heart of community development.
  2. Evolving Use  – Mills, Manufacturing, Country Estates, Parks, Train Lines, Super Highways – The Garden State Parkway.
  3. Information Superhighway – Moving historical information from hard to use archives to online available and free tools.


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