A paper coauthored by Ruohua Han, iSchool doctoral candidate, and Linqing Ma (Renmin University of China) has been named one of five finalists for the Best Short Research Paper Award at iConference 2021. The winner will be announced during the conference, which will take place online from March 17-31.
Their paper, "Creating Farmer Worker Records for Facilitating the Provision of Government Services: A Case from Sichuan Province, China," presents an empirical case study of the Sichuan Province government's digital repository for migrant workers' records. According to the researchers, migrant workers make up a large social group in China that faces a complex set of documentation-related challenges, which directly impacts their access to public services and the shaping of their social and organizational identities.
"To respond to these issues, several Chinese local governments have been creating records for migrant workers," said Han. "These activities are currently in an emergent and experimental stage with little empirical research on how they are carried out. Last year, we learned about one of these projects, the government digital repository for migrant worker records established by Sichuan Province. It is the only provincial-level repository for such records in China to date, so we were inspired to conduct an empirical case study of the project."
Han and Ma found that building the repository as part of a larger business system results in improved services to migrant workers. They learned that there are advantages to having the province's human resources and social security department take the lead in this effort and that the role of government support is critical in this particular case with its high labor intensity.
Han's research interests include personal archives/archiving, community archives, and memory studies. She uses qualitative methods to explore people’s ideas and experiences centered around personal archiving and how information professionals can better understand and support such everyday information behavior. Han earned her bachelor's and master's degrees in management science from Renmin University of China.