Going With the Grain: Development, Knowledge Creation, and Database use at the International Maize and Wheat Improvement Center (CIMMYT)
Burnett, Samuel Gray
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Record keeping is not a static way to document history but rather a way for people in the present to engage with, and be affected by, the past. This is especially true in the case of online databases. Databases store information but their use also encourages the adoption of specific methodologies for apprehending reality because it is through those methodological agreements that the information in the database becomes relevant. In the summer of 2012 I spent four months observing and interviewing wheat researchers and database developers at a major agricultural research center in Mexico as part of my M.A. thesis project. This paper argues that people using the International Wheat Information System (IWIS) database at the International Maize and Wheat Improvement Center (CIMMYT) are involved in a process that documents wheat pedigree information while also enacting a reality based on assumptions about the value of certain types of human pedigree.