Daniel S. Griffin

Daniel Griffin

Alumni (PhD 2022)
Alumni (MIMS 2016)


I work to defamiliarize and reimagine web search.


I use interviews and digital ethnography to research conceptions of search engines, web search practices, and their entanglement with societal values. I study search counter-imaginaries: how we talk about, imagine, know, build, and practice different ways of searching.

Two recent publications:
- w/ Emma Lurie in New Media & Society: Search quality complaints and imaginary repair: Control in articulations of Google Search
- w/ Jake Goldenfein in Internet Policy Review: Google Scholar -- Platforming the scholarly economy

Dissertation: Situating Web Searching in Data Engineering: Admissions, Extensions, Repairs, and Ownership

My dissertation research looked at how data engineers think about and use web search in/at/for work. I describe how they successfully make use of web search through legitimating it as appropriate for their work, how search is extended across occupational, professional, and technical components of their work practices (facilitating query formulation and evaluation of search results), and how they repair search failures. I show how individually-held knowledge of the mechanisms of search is not necessary for some successful uses of search and how contextual factors can provide some defense against search automation bias. I also consider how and why the data engineers seek to keep their searching private, how they curiously do not make use of data on their own searches, and the consequences of responsibility for web search being seemingly assigned solely to individuals. 


I co-directed UC Berkeley’s Center for Technology, Society & Policy from July 2017 to August 2019. I finished the Master of Information Management and Systems (MIMS) program at the I School in 2016.

Prior to graduate school I was an intelligence analyst in the U.S. Army. As an undergraduate, I studied philosophy at Whitworth University. In my free time I enjoy trail running.

Last updated:

April 16, 2024