Lindsay Poirier is a cultural anthropologist and doctoral candidate in Science and Technology Studies at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute. Her research focuses on digital expertise, data cultures, and the theorization of digital infrastructure. More specifically, Poirier studies the design of “semiotic infrastructures” – or digital infrastructures that encode data’s syntax, semantics, and relationships to other data. She examines how the designers of semiotic infrastructure learn to bring diverse language ideologies to their work and how such language ideologies implicate how knowledge gets ordered in information systems. She has conducted historical research on approaches to digital knowledge representation in the artificial intelligence community and has conducted fieldwork within both the Semantic Web community and a community of practitioners building data standards for the human services.
Poirier is the lead platform architect for the Platform for Experimental Collaborative Ethnography (PECE) – an open source digital humanities platform, which now supports several international research projects, including The Asthma Files and the Disaster STS Network. She is also a co-chair for the Empirical Humanities Metadata working group within the Research Data Alliance (RDA). Her most recent publications include “Devious Design: Digital Infrastructure Challenges in Experimental Ethnography,” published in the journal Design Issues and “A Turn for the Scruffy: An Ethnographic Study of Semantic Web Architecture,” published in the WebSci’17 Conference Proceedings.