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Information, Communication & Society

This page of resources has been chosen on an arbitrary basis by the website editor. Each website has been visited and assessed.

Links - General

CIRA, the Community Informatics Research and Applications Unit "has been established by the University of Teesside to provide a forum for the analysis and development of informatics applications. CIRA is a multidisciplinary unit where social scientists, computer scientists, software engineers, business consultants and designers can combine their respective specialties on particular research projects".

The Oxford Internet Institute (OII) is a major new research centre based at the University of Oxford in England. The OII aims "to become the world's leading multi-disciplinary academic centre focused on furthering understanding of the economic, political, institutional, scientific, legal and other social factors shaping the Internet and its implications for society".

Ctheory is an international magazine/journal of theory, technology and culture. Connection can be a little time consuming and the style of the articles is sometimes a little self-conscious. However, the range of topics covered is wide with an emphasis on media and culture in general rather than just the Net and related technologies. There is an option to receive Ctheory through email if you wish.

CMC Magazine (1994-1999) was a publication devoted to Computer Mediated Communication that provides coverage on a wide range of topics from disabled people's access to the Internet through to the formation of relationships on-line. The site is well indexed by date and has the attraction of the full text of all the articles being on-line in HTML format.

The Economic and Social Research Council 'Virtual Society' research programme is concerned with whether fundamental shifts taking place in how people behave, organise themselves and interact as result of electronic technologies. A multi-million pound research programme involving a range of universities and British academics is investigating the impact of ICTs on British society. At present, the website is not very extensive, but it is envisaged that it will develop into a resource offering a range of material.

Geekgirl is an Australian feminist magazine concerned with the Internet and related technologies. Do not let the faintly camp presentation put you off, as the site is of interest to those with a concern about the position of women and other groups who are partially or wholly excluded from the ICTs. You might want to avoid this if you are easily offended.

An Interview with William Gibson has the text and sound files from an interview he did in 1994. You can read and hear his views on such things as Cyberspace and the commercialisation of the Internet.

The Sprawl is a collaborative hypermedia environment distributed over several Silicon Graphics media servers in Honolulu -USA, Sapporo - Japan, and Sydney - Australia by SenseMedia Netcasting of Santa Cruz, California. The Sprawl is a virtual community where users chat, create web pages and extend the cyberscape in an unrestricted manner, creating a huge and sprawling virtual reality.

High Noon on the Electronic Frontier, edited by Peter Ludlow, was published by the MIT press in 1996 and the editor has been kind enough to put almost all of it on-line. A large collection of essays ranging in scope from self and community on-line through to privacy and property rights, regulation, legal questions and academic freedom in the age of ICTs are available, including work by Reid Steere and Rheingold (see below for their webpages).

Hollywood.Com is the place to go for links to film websites and the Hollywood studios. For those of you wondering what this has to do with Information, Communication and Society, the site has been included because it contains dozens of links representative of the cutting edge in web design and the delivery of multimedia over the Internet. If your not convinced the future has arrived, use this site as a base from which to visit the studios and, in particular, the websites devoted to blockbusters. You will need a  fast  multimedia computer to get the most out of these movie sites as well as a Java compatible browser, a movie player and sometimes other plug-ins such as Shockwave.

The Hypermedia Research Centre at the University of Westminster offers some papers on the Internet and Society on its site, as well as details of the MA in hypermedia. The site's features include "Work the digital economy; Play creativity with hypermedia; Politics citizens in cyberspace; History and the process of modernity; Cyberbollocks: trashing memetics and the Cyborg cult; Interviews answering hard questions; Manifestos self-evident truths nettime; the European perspective; Cybersociology: social science research magazine and 'Telepolis' (cyber.theory from Germany - apparently).

Internet2 (I2) "is a collaborative effort to develop advanced Internet technology and applications vital to the research and education missions of higher education. Over 150 U.S. universities, working together with partners in industry and government, are leading the Internet2 project. Internet2 is working to enable applications, such as telemedicine, digital libraries and virtual laboratories that are not possible with the technology underlying today's Internet".

The Next Generation Internet (NGI) Project "For one thing, I ask Congress to step up support for building the next generation Internet. It's getting kind of clogged, you know. And the next generation Internet will operate at speeds up to a thousand times faster than today." This is what Bill Clinton said in his 1998 state of the union address. This site contains a wide range of information on the technology and timetable.

The Internet Society is the group of individuals and organisations concerned with the promotion and maintenance of the Internet "individual and organizational members are bound by a common stake in maintaining the viability and global scaling of the Internet. They comprise the companies, government agencies, and foundations that have created the Internet and its technologies as well as innovative new entrepreneurial organizations contributing to maintain that dynamic". Like the WWW itself the concerns are predominantly American, but you might find their site interesting.

The International Journal of Human-Computer Studies "publishes original research over the whole spectrum of work on both the theory and practice of human-computer interaction and the human-machine interface. The journal covers the boundaries between computing and artificial intelligence, psychology, linguistics, mathematics, engineering, and social organization". The website is not extensive, but it will enable you to get a feel for the journal. If you are a British academic with access to BIDS, you will be able to get access to the full text of articles from this journal. Others may be able to get access via the Idealibrary.com service.

The Journal of Computer Mediated Communication is a peer reviewed academic journal dealing with all aspects of Computer Mediated Communication (CMC). Past issues have focussed on such subject areas as Networks and Netplay, Virtual Environments and studying the Net. The site offers the attraction of articles being available on line and free of charge. All of those working in the field are likely to find at least something of interest.

MIT Media Laboratory whether your interest is in Digital Life, News in the Future, Things that Think or the Toys of Tomorrow, this is one of the key research centres when it comes to the impact of ICTs on our lives. A range of material is available and the site is worth a visit.

The Media Communications Study Site (MCS) "is a British-based gateway to Web resources useful in the academic study of media and communication. It was established in Spring 1995 and is being developed by Dr Daniel Chandler, lecturer in Media Theory at the Department of Education in the University of Wales, Aberystwyth (UWA). It is 'British-based' firstly in that it is produced in Wales and secondly in that it is intended to give priority to issues of interest to both British scholars in the field and to others who are interested in media in the UK". There is a range of material here, including the full text of some papers.

Dale Spender, the leading feminist writer who wrote about the exclusion of women from ICTs in her recent book Nattering on the Net has her own webpages.

The UK online centres are designed to ensure access to the Internet for any British citizen who wishes to have it. The aim is to provide local centres from which the Internet can be accessed, rather than to provide access at home for every citizen, although there are also programmes in place to help low income families secure low cost Internet access at home. This programme is centred on the "Internet Café on the High St, in a public library, in a college, in a community centre, a village hall or anywhere available to the public". An objective set in 2000 to provide 6,000 such centres by 2002 was achieved at the end of 2002.

The US Distance Learning Association "The association's purpose is to promote the development and application of distance learning for education and training. The constituents we serve include education, higher education, continuing education, corporate training, and military and government training. Toward this purpose the United States Distance Learning Association convened a National Policy Forum in July 1991 to develop and publish a set of National Policy Recommendations that have been the basis of legislative and administrative proposals in education and telecommunications policy." Not that brilliant a site in that its rather light on content, but the links are useful.

W3C or the World Wide Web Consortium (which has Tim Berners-Lee, the British inventor of the Web as its Director) is an organisation which promotes the adoption of universal standards in HTML to ensure that the web is as accessible as possible. Much of it is quite technical, but you may find the issues around access to websites interesting as they do have implications for issues around universal access to, and exclusion from, the web. There is also some information about innovation, such as voice controlled browsers and software downloads.

Wired is the magazine for Internet optimists the world over, concerning itself with all aspects of the new ICTs and networks with an unshakeable faith in their capacity not only to change the world, but to change it for the better. As well as access to the magazine, there is also a news service and the hotbot search engine (which is one of the better ones) on site.

Links - Electronic Communities

Communities Online Forum is an organisation designed to promote the use of ICTs for community development in the UK. A range of resources are available on the site, which is focussed on practical help rather than research and analysis and provides links to various electronic communities.

Google Groups (formerly dejanews and deja) is a web based, indexed, archive of nearly all the discussions that take place on the newsgroups on Usenet. You can look up a particular subject and read all the posts on it and you can also read all the posts made by a particular individual, which may interest those of you with a concern about privacy and the Net.

IBM has undertaken and sponsored some research into social inclusion and the Internet which is available from this page. The report of the National Working Party on Social Inclusion called the 'Net Result' focussing on social exclusion and access to technology and the Internet is available in both a HTML summary and as a free download in .pdf format, amongst some other resources.

The Lost Library of MOO is a site that is concerned with the use and impact of Multi-User Domains (or Dungeons) which allow groups of people to interact with one another in a text-based virtual reality. If you are not familiar with the language, concepts and behaviour patterns of people using such services, you will find it disorientating. Visit Elizabeth Reid Sheere's pages first if new to the subject.

Rheingold.com is the site of the guru of the electronic society, whether you regard him as a visionary or as unrealistic in his expectations, you can read all about him and his work here. The full text of The Virtual Community is available on-line as HTML pages.

The WELL has its own web page as well, though there is not a great deal of information here, there is some general material, you will need your credit card handy if you want to join in.

Bibliography on Chat Communication is a German site which lists a range of resources on computer mediated communication.  Available in English and a range of other languages.

Netscan is a research project focusing on on-line communities hosted on Microsoft's research site . There are various resources here, ranging from a 'clippings' section on related material, through to the Netscan newsgroup service which monitors newsgroup activity in Usenet and allows you to search for new groups and activity in the areas that concern you. Be warned that the statistics are not always 100 per cent reliable.

Links - Economy, Society and the new ICTs

IBM's e-business pages are the place to go if you want to know how Domino's Pizza geared up to the Internet. Case studies, advice and the hard sell are all available.

www.ukonlineforbusiness.gov.uk is the British Government's website for small businesses operated by the Department of Trade and Industry. It is described as "the DTI's UK online for business provides small businesses with impartial advice on using Information and Communications Technologies" and offers a wide range of resources and support for businesses as well as a quick guide to UK policies to encourage and develop ecommerce.

The European Union has become increasingly concerned with the role of the Internet and its importance to commerce, a search of their server may prove useful if you are interested in European views of the impact of ICTs. The site is comprehensive and fast, but it is also very large and you may find you need a bit of patience with the search engine before it generates what you want. The site is available in a number of EU languages, the link given is to the English pages. If you are interested in the views of global organisations on the Internet, visit the OECD pages (below).

The International Data Corporation undertakes research into electronic commerce at a global level and makes available some information, abstracts and data on its site. A good place to get a feel for the subject, but if you want detailed information, look elsewhere as the full reports are not on-line and they are very expensive to purchase.

Journal of Electronic Publishing. This on-line journal is concerned with the mechanics of publishing material on the Web as well as with electronic commerce and on-line publication and issues around copyright. The site seems well organised and carries full copies of some of the papers. As well as being of some interest more generally, it will be of particular interest to those interested in the economics of making material available on line.

The Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) has been holding conferences about the impact of ICTs and concerning itself with their implications for the past few years. A range of material is available on the site, including free downloads of documents (in Adobe Acrobat format). If you want to know about the Internet and e-business, this is a good place to start. In addition, there is material on the impact of ICTs on economies and societies.

Politics2day A Dutch site maintained by a journalist that presents itself as a sort of "off beat" political news source with lots of facts and figures (and behind the scenes info) on the Dutch parliament. You will need to speak Dutch to get anything very much out of it.

Vanderbilt University's eLab, founded in 1994 is a US research centre dedicated to the study of the Internet with a particular focus on ecommerce and ebusiness.

Hal R. Varian is Dean of the School of Information Management and Systems at the University of California at Berkeley and runs a website with a range of resources on the Informational economy. There are papers and resources on e-commerce, e-publishing and on a host of other topics around using the Internet and WWW for buying and selling. The site appears to be regularly maintained and is worth a visit if you are interested in this area.

Links - Regulation and Democracy

The Blue Ribbon Campaign has a site devoted to the promotion and preservation of free speech on the Internet. The focus is entirely American and if you are not familiar with the debates in the States you may find it a little difficult to follow. Visit the US Government server Fedworld to help set the context.

Cyberspace Law Abstracts is an American site that offers access to the abstracts in this quite recently established refereed journal. The concern appears to be solely with legal issues on the Internet and WWW and as well as giving you access to the abstracts from the journal, it also provides the full text of articles in Abode Acrobat or .pdf format.

Internet Watch is "an independent organisation to implement the proposals jointly agreed by the government, the police, the two major UK service provider trade associations, ISPA and LINX. Science and Technology Minister Ian Taylor welcomed the proposals as "a major industry-led initiative to reassure the public and business that the Internet can be a safe and secure place to work, learn and play." An attempt to regulate something that cannot be regulated? Visit and judge for yourself.

The Journal of Information, Law and Technology is a British based refereed journal dealing with these issues. The site offers abstracts and the full text of articles. The site is of general interest to those concerned with legal issues and the regulation of cyberspace.

The Teledemocracy Action News and Network - the web site of the Global Democracy Movement. "We are primarily dedicated to the creative use of electronic media in all forms that directly empower citizens to have meaningful input into the political system". These pages offer a range of material on this subject and they also offer some quite elaborate multimedia, for which you will need a fast connection.

The Web Journal of Current Legal Issues is an Internet only British journal based at Newcastle which is academic in focus and refereed. There is a range of material on the site, which has old fashioned presentation but is reliable and quite quick. Since it is Internet only, the full text of each submission is always available.

Links - egovernment

The Office of the E-Envoy is the website of the English Government's new agency designed to promote egovernment and Electronic Service Delivery across the whole of English local and national government.  There is an objective to make all government services available electronically by 2005 in England and the details of policy, various policy documents in Word and .pdf format are available here.

The ukonline portal is one of the first experiments in egovernment in the UK.  This "portal" is designed to provide the citizen with one point of contact for a whole range of government services that can be accessed electronically.

NHS Direct is an example of direct service delivery over the Internet.  A telephone based enquiry service, part of the British National Health Service, has been established to try to reduce unnecessary use of doctor's time and improve efficiency in the universal free health service provided in the UK.  This is the online version of the telephone enquiry service.

IBM's egovernment pages, are devoted to the promotion and development of egovernment and give examples of IBM's work in this field.

The egovernment plan for California, from 1999, can be found here, for those who might be interested.

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