Archaeology of Digital Artifacts in Practice

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Type and Duration

FFF-Förderprojekt, July 2018 until June 2020 (finished)


Chair of Information Systems and Innovation

Main Research

Business Process Management

Field of Research

Digital Innovation


The widespread digitization of data and infrastructure has led to the rise of digital archaeology. We can even be slightly more provocative and infer that everyone with access to the internet can become a digital archaeologist without consciously doing so. We participate in online forums, tweet what we are currently thinking about, and post pictures that exhibit the latest arrangement of our living room. In so doing, we collectively create digital artifacts of our past and present ways of living to communicate with the future observers. Similarly, we can reconstruct the past from the digital traces left by our predecessors. Such reconstruction is concerned not only with the digital contents, but also with the digital infrastructures.
Interpreting the meaning of those digital artifacts is useful for organizations and their leaders. Prior work suggests that artifacts say much about an organization. We can interpret identity, structure, and culture of an organization as well as work processes, and interpersonal relationship, team dynamics, and leadership approaches. Interpreting the meaning of digital artifacts is also useful for design science research (DSR) scholars and IT project stakeholders in practice. Employing archaeological approaches in analyzing digital artifacts can support researchers and organizational stakeholders to understand the decisions made during the design process of digital artifacts and learn from their success and failure.
Artifact analysis in IS tends to focus on testing, evaluation, and user acceptance of technology. We need a more tailored approach to digital artifact analysis and this project addresses this very idea. The main goal of this project is to develop a framework for analyzing digital artifacts in the context of DSR, practical IT projects, and organizational development. In so doing, we draw inspiration from archaeological approaches of artifact analysis, ongoing discourse on digital humanities, and tested approaches of artifact analysis to understand the psychological states of organizations.


  • Agogo, D., & Chandra Kruse, L. (2019). Open Affect-Responsive Systems: Toward Personalized AI to Beat Back the Waves of Technostress. Paper presented at the Advancement of Artificial Intelligence 2019 Spring Symposium, Stanford, CA.

  • Chandra Kruse, L., Seidel, S., & vom Brocke, J. (2019). Design Archaeology: Generating Design Knowledge from Real-World Artifact Design. Paper presented at the 14th International Conference on Design Science Research in Information Systems and Technology, Worcester, MA. (VHB_3: C)

  • Chandra Kruse, L., & Nickerson, J. V. (2018). Portraying Design Essence. Paper presented at the Hawaiian International Conference on Systems Science (HICSS 2018), Big Island, HI, USA. (VHB_3: C)

  • Sjöström, J., Chandra Kruse, L., Haj-Bolouri, A., & Flensburg, P. (2018). Software-embedded evaluation support in Design Science Research. Paper presented at the International Conference on Design Science Research in Information Systems and Technology, Chennai, India. (VHB_3: C)

  • Chandra Kruse, L., & Tumbas, S. (2018). Uncovering the Mystery of Digital Phenomena: Data Aggregator “IN4GOOD”. Presented at the AOM Specialized Conference: Big Data and Managing in a Digital Economy, Surrey, UK.