What is a text?What can be used?<br />Vs. a (private) utterance<br />Does it matter who collected, and how?<br />Oct 20, 2...
Current discussion on Air-L about whether blogs are “texts”, thus completely outside purview of  IRBs<br />Oct 20, 2010<br...
What is a text?<br />Presumption that any publication online is fair game for collection and use in research, so long as n...
Complications<br />Not all “publications” online are equal<br />Blogging is often a broadcast medium<br />Status updates /...
Is this an open text?<br />A parent starts a blog for the local PTA, and the comments include remarks intended for that li...
What can be used?<br />Presumption that anything publicly accessible by any means is fair game<br />Oct 20, 2010<br />Ethi...
Complications<br />Just because something is accessible to a researcher doesn’t mean the owner meant it to be scraped, har...
Should these be used?<br />A public blog, now deleted from Blogger, is freely accessible via Internet Archive<br />A Twitt...
Case 1: Pete Warden Facebook DB<br />Independent engineer devises way to scrape public Facebook accounts<br />Doesn’t acce...
Case 1: Pete Warden Facebook DB<br />Is method of scraping, without even logging into Facebook, acceptable? <br />Did user...
Case 2: Library of Congress to Archive Public Twitter Streams<br />LOC and Twitter strike agreement to have all public twe...
Case 2: Library of Congress to Archive Public Twitter Streams<br />What personal information will also be included?<br />N...
What is a text?What can be used?<br />Vs. a (private) utterance<br />Does it matter who collected, and how?<br />Oct 20, 2...
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What Is A Text? What Can Be Used?

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Presentation by Michael Zimmer at the Internet Research Ethics preconference workshop on 10/20/2010. Part of Internet Research 11.0, the 11th annual conference of the Association of Internet Researchers (AoIR).

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Transcript of "What Is A Text? What Can Be Used?"

  1. 1. What is a text?What can be used?<br />Vs. a (private) utterance<br />Does it matter who collected, and how?<br />Oct 20, 2010<br />Ethics and Internet Research Commons: Building a sustainable future<br />
  2. 2. Current discussion on Air-L about whether blogs are “texts”, thus completely outside purview of IRBs<br />Oct 20, 2010<br />Ethics and Internet Research Commons: Building a sustainable future<br />The act of publication is to make public a set of ideas, and at that point it becomes an artifact--a text--game for analysis without the concern of human subject research ethics (in my opinion). <br />Again, if the authors attempt to password-protect their work, that's an IRB-worthy issue, but otherwise, even if it's about a "personal matter," the act of publication is a public thing...thus no IRB needed.<br />(source redacted)<br />
  3. 3. What is a text?<br />Presumption that any publication online is fair game for collection and use in research, so long as no proactive attempt was made to restrict access<br />Oct 20, 2010<br />Ethics and Internet Research Commons: Building a sustainable future<br />
  4. 4. Complications<br />Not all “publications” online are equal<br />Blogging is often a broadcast medium<br />Status updates / tweets have more of an imagined audience, even if public<br />Items are re-blogged, re-tweeted, typically without consent/control by source<br />Password-protection should not be the gold standard<br />Not everyone is technically literate<br />Presumption of limited visibility<br />Oct 20, 2010<br />Ethics and Internet Research Commons: Building a sustainable future<br />
  5. 5. Is this an open text?<br />A parent starts a blog for the local PTA, and the comments include remarks intended for that limited context & audience<br />An 18 year old starts a LiveJournal with personal content; anyone with an account can view it<br />A Twitter feed which includes re-tweets from identifiable accounts, unsure whether original tweets were open or restricted<br />Oct 20, 2010<br />Ethics and Internet Research Commons: Building a sustainable future<br />
  6. 6. What can be used?<br />Presumption that anything publicly accessible by any means is fair game<br />Oct 20, 2010<br />Ethics and Internet Research Commons: Building a sustainable future<br />
  7. 7. Complications<br />Just because something is accessible to a researcher doesn’t mean the owner meant it to be scraped, harvested, mined<br />Owner might have presumption of obscurity<br />Owner might not recognize power of crawlers and scrapers<br />Oct 20, 2010<br />Ethics and Internet Research Commons: Building a sustainable future<br />
  8. 8. Should these be used?<br />A public blog, now deleted from Blogger, is freely accessible via Internet Archive<br />A Twitter stream, long abandoned, with only 5 followers<br />Facebook profile data, from account started in 2007 with no recent activity, but with information forced to be public based on platform changes<br />Oct 20, 2010<br />Ethics and Internet Research Commons: Building a sustainable future<br />
  9. 9. Case 1: Pete Warden Facebook DB<br />Independent engineer devises way to scrape public Facebook accounts<br />Doesn’t access from within Facebook, thus (presumably) avoids violation of Facebook’s TOS<br />Harvests public profile information from 215 million accounts<br />Plans to release to public, without any de-identification<br />Oct 20, 2010<br />Ethics and Internet Research Commons: Building a sustainable future<br />
  10. 10. Case 1: Pete Warden Facebook DB<br />Is method of scraping, without even logging into Facebook, acceptable? <br />Did users envision this type of access and harvesting when making profile information public?<br />Can researchers use this data? What would an IRB say?<br />Oct 20, 2010<br />Ethics and Internet Research Commons: Building a sustainable future<br />
  11. 11. Case 2: Library of Congress to Archive Public Twitter Streams<br />LOC and Twitter strike agreement to have all public tweets archived<br />After a 6-month delay, all public tweets are sent to LOC<br />Non-commercial use only; not publicly available or available for bulk download<br />But will create “analytic tools”<br />Oct 20, 2010<br />Ethics and Internet Research Commons: Building a sustainable future<br />
  12. 12. Case 2: Library of Congress to Archive Public Twitter Streams<br />What personal information will also be included?<br />Name and bio?<br />Geo-locational data for each tweet?<br />My private tweets, that have been retweeted in public stream, are included<br />No opt-out.<br />Can researchers use this data? What would an IRB say?<br />Oct 20, 2010<br />Ethics and Internet Research Commons: Building a sustainable future<br />
  13. 13. What is a text?What can be used?<br />Vs. a (private) utterance<br />Does it matter who collected, and how?<br />Oct 20, 2010<br />Ethics and Internet Research Commons: Building a sustainable future<br />
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