In Blog

My book Tracing Genres through Organizations is ten years old this month

Posted by: on Oct 2, 2013 | No Comments
Ten years ago, my first book, Tracing Genres through Organizations, was published by MIT Press. It's hard to believe that it's been that long—until I look at the ancient Windows screenshots.

Just a few reminiscences:

  • TGTO is still my most widely cited publication. But when it first came out, I noticed that most of the cites came from the first chapter. MIT Press had put that chapter online for free to publicize the book. Coincidence?
  • I didn't expect TGTO to be accepted by MIT Press. My original plan was to approach the most prestigious press first. Then, along with the rejection letter, I would get some solid reviews that would help me revise it for the next press. To my complete surprise, MIT Press accepted the book and sent me a contract.
  • I signed the contract on September 10, 2001. Needless to say, I didn't get to celebrate much the next day.
  • TGTO was my tenure book. During the tenure process, I sometimes referred to it as Trudging Grimly through Obligations. But despite that, I really enjoyed writing it.
  • TGTO was based on my dissertation. But it represents a complete rethinking. That's because, days after my defense, I read Beyer and Holtzblatt's Contextual Design and realized that I had to step up my game. The next 18 months were spent researching interaction design methodologies, a period that resulted in several side publications in methodology and especially participatory design. In the end, I replaced three chapters entirely and reworked the cases in the remaining chapters.
  • I told someone the other day that I study how people use sticky notes. That's not the whole truth, but it's close enough.