Operationalizing context in context-aware artifacts: Benefits and pitfalls

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


The idea of context-aware artifacts is that computational artifacts are able to recognize the context in which they are being used so that these artifacts are able to adapt their functionality to the respective context. Most work in developing context-aware artifacts appears to be technology-driven by which we mean that often the relation of the artifacts to the underlying concepts of context remain unclear. In this paper, we look at the concept of context in context-aware artifacts from a cognition-oriented perspective and we argue for an explicit distinction between the concept of context that is operationalized and the original usage situation which we understand as a social setting that has been negotiated among peers in the first place. Acknowledging the difference suggests that developers of context-aware artifacts should pay considerable attention to the fact that the context determined by artifacts may differ from what the persons involved in the situation have negotiated. Furthermore, it suggests to critically review operationalizations of context in context-aware artifacts and their impact on how context is conceptualized.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)43-47
Number of pages5
JournalInforming Science
Issue number2
StatePublished - 2002
Externally publishedYes


  • Context
  • Context-aware artifacts
  • Negotiation
  • Situatedness
  • Situation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Library and Information Sciences


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