Research Interests

Computer-supported cooperative work (CSCW), human-computer interaction (HCI), social computing, collaboration in Wikipedia, computing in the home.

Research Activities

Some recent publications:

  Thornton, K. and D. W. McDonald (2012) Tagging Wikipedia: Collaboratively Creating a Category System. Proceedings of the 2012 ACM Conference on Supporting Group Work (GROUP’12).
  McDonald, D. W., S. Gokhman and M. Zachry (2012) Building for Social Translucence: A Domain Analysis and Prototype System. Proceedings of the 2012 ACM Conference on Computer Supported Cooperative Work (CSCW’12).

A list of publications, many with links to full text, is available on my publications page. A more complete list of publications is available on my CV

Wikipedia Research

Our study of Wikipedia is aimed at desgining systems that support large scale collaborative action. Our design approach is motivated by social translucence as a soci-technical perspective that can facilitate better sense making of the activities and roles that individuals and groups play in large scale systems. We study Wikipedia because it is a successful example of large scale groupware.

Online Health Community

I have a couple on-going projects in the area of online health communities. In one project with Andrea Hartzler and Wanda Pratt, we are designing and developing a peer-mentor matching system to help individuals find better peer health expertise. Another project with Eric Hekler and Erika Poole is studying how different styles of participation in the online community of LoseIt.com result in different weight loss outcomes.

Digital Living Research

I have some prior work studying how people are adjusting to an ever increasing digital lifestyle. One project project examined how individuals and families organize and manage their growing digital media collections. Another project examined how people solve the problems that they encounter with their home networks and networked devices.

Workshop Organizing

I'm currently on the hot seat to organize the 2013 Social Computational Systems PI and Community Meeting. The meeting will be held in Seattle, WA June 28-29, with a Doctoral Symposium on June 27th.

I worked with Geraldine Fitzpatrick to co-organize the CSCW Doctoral Colloquium for CSCW 2013 in San Antonio, February 23-27, 2013.

I had a minor part in organizing the "Brainstorming Design for Health: Helping Patients Utilize Patient-Generated Information on the Web" workshop at CSCW 2012. The workshop was organized around a set of brainsorming and design prototyping activities.

I helped organize the Approaching "Amature" workshop at GROUP 2009. There were a great set of position papers from the workshop.

The Designing for Families workshop was a success at CSCW 2008. There were some great discussions and some resolve for a special issue or some other approach to publish the results of the workshop.

The IT@Home: Unraveling Complexities of Networked Devices in the Home was a success at CHI 2006. The workshop considered a number of interesting issues in everyday home technology. I co-organized this workshop with Bill Schilit and Sara Bly.

The CSCW'04 Workshop on Social Networks with Danyel Fisher and Shelly Farnham is a follow up to the successful ECSCW'03 Social Network Workshop with Danyel Fisher.

HCI Remixed Project

Remixed has been out for several years. We have reports of people adopting the book in seminars and reading courses as a supplement to their normal set of conference and journal readings. Let us know if you want some ideas on how to make this work.

  Erickson, Thomas and David W. McDonald (eds.) HCI Remixed: Essays on Works that have Influenced the HCI Community. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press. 2008

CSCW 2008 Conference

I was co-chair for the CSCW 2008 conference. While the conference is now over, you can see the website for the conference program and the CSCW 2008 conference proceedings are available in the ACM Digital Library.