Digital Methods

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MIT Press, 2013 - Computers - 274 pages
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In Digital Methods, Richard Rogers proposes a methodologicaloutlook for social and cultural scholarly research on the Web that seeks to move Internet researchbeyond the study of online culture. It is not a toolkit for Internet research, or operatinginstructions for a software package; it deals with broader questions. How can we study social mediato learn something about society rather than about social media use? How can hyperlinks reveal notjust the value of a Web site but the politics of association? Rogers proposes repurposing Web-nativetechniques for research into cultural change and societal conditions. We can learn to reapply such"methods of the medium" as crawling and crowd sourcing, PageRank and similar algorithms,tag clouds and other visualizations; we can learn how they handle hits, likes, tags, date stamps,and other Web-native objects. By "thinking along" with devices and the objects theyhandle, digital research methods can follow the evolving methods of the medium. Rogers uses this newmethodological outlook to examine the findings of inquiries into 9/11 search results, therecognition of climate change skeptics by climate-change-related Web sites, the events surroundingthe Srebrenica massacre according to Dutch, Serbian, Bosnian, and Croatian Wikipedias, presidentialcandidates' social media "friends," and the censorship of the Iranian Web. WithDigital Methods, Rogers introduces a new vision and method for Internet researchand at the same time applies them to the Web's objects of study, from tiny particles (hyperlinks) tolarge masses (social media).


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Situating Digital Methods
Digital Methods
2 The Link and the Politics of Web Space
3 The Website as Archived Object
4 Googlization and the Inculpable Engine
Source Distance and CrossSpherical Analysis
6 National Web Studies
7 Social Media and Postdemographics
8 Wikipedia as Cultural Reference
Big Data Small Data

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About the author (2013)

Richard Rogers is University Professor of New Media and Digital Culture at the University of Amsterdam and the author of Information Politics on the Web (MIT Press).

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