Nicholas W. Jankowski and Tanja Oblak-Črnič
University of Ljubljana, Faculty of Social Sciences
Office of Professor Oblak-Črnič: FSW C 228
Academic year 2010/11; second semester: 24 February – 9 June 2011
Meeting place: FDV-08; Day and time: Thursday, 12.00-14.00
Version 3: 8 February 2011
NEW MEDIA AND SOCIETY
CONCEPTS, ISSUES, DEVELOPMENTS, RESOURCES
This course examines a broad panorama of theoretical concepts and media developments related to what is generally
known as new media studies. Some of the concepts and issues in this emerging field include: community and identity in a
virtual world, globalization, transformations in public discourse and changing notions of news production and
consumption. These topics are reflective of a range of media developments, including social network sites (e.g.,
Friendster, MySpace), open source software developments (e.g., Mozilla Firefox, wikis), and alternative venues for news
and information (e.g., Indymedia, blogs). Further, the radical reformulation of scholarship and education is explored
through examination of new tool developments (e.g., Zotero), virtual learning environments (e.g., Second Life), and
through consideration of developments related to e-science, cyberinfrastructure, and e-research.
During this seminar students will read and comment on draft chapters of a textbook in preparation: Digital Media:
Concepts & Issues, Research & Resources (Polity Press, forthcoming). Considerable secondary literature will be assigned
that is related to themes in the book. Students will become familiar with a variety of digital communication initiatives such
as social network sites, blogs and online news sources. Seminar sessions will be devoted to new tools for individual and
collaborative scholarship; software will be used for virtual meetings, and for co-authoring, and online publishing. Much of
the course material will be made available on a virtual collaboratory site. Students will be expected to maintain course-
related blogs. Homework assignments will be submitted in the virtual collaboratory; some will be discussed with the aid of
web conferencing software.
This course will be team-taught by two instructors, Nick Jankowski and Tanja Oblak-Črnič, each of whom is responsible for
half of the lectures and assignments in course sessions; see schedule below. The sessions for which Professor Oblak-Črnič
is responsible will be held in the classroom FDV 08. Most of the sessions for which Professor Jankowski is responsible will
be conducted in an online environment and will use various tools for that purpose (e.g., web-based conferencing, online
The course will involve frequent homework assignments, contributions to online discussions, postings to course blogs, and
completion of a final paper, Weekly meetings are scheduled and these will involve both presentations by the instructors
and in-class discussions. These meetings will take place on Thursday afternoons, 12.00-14.00, in classroom FDV-08; see
schedule below for the meeting room for each session. Please note that some of the meetings will not be held in
classroom FDV-08, but will be conducted online and involve synchronous text, audio and video communication. For these
meetings, students will be expected to have access to computers with an Internet connection, preferably by cable rather
than wireless, and audio headsets. Generally, computers in university libraries and classroom are not suitable for such
online meetings (there may be firewalls, poor Internet connections, and no possibility for connecting audio headsets).
Computers at home, with high-speed Internet connections, may be preferable to those in public facilities. Some of the
online communication tools to be used in these online meetings and between the weekly sessions include instant
messaging, Skype, and web conferencing. These tools and the related procedures will be elaborated during the first
sessions of the course. Most of the online meetings will be conducted synchronously, but some course events (e.g.,
discussion forums) will be arranged asynchronously. During the meetings, both those online and face-to-face,
presentations will be given by one of the instructors related to the topics assigned for the week; blog postings, and
assignments will also be discussed during these meetings. See table below for schedule of meetings and locations.
In addition to reading assignments related to new media theory and empirical research, this seminar involves exploration
of a wide array of digital tools for mediated communication, learning, and scholarship. Students will establish blogs for the
purpose of regular reflection on materials read and tools examined. Social network sites (e.g., Facebook, Friendster,
MySpace, Linkedln) will be considered for both social and professional applications; other sharing and exchange sites (e.g.,
YouTube, Flickr, Picasa, Slideshare, Scribd, Jing, Camtasia) will be experimented with; gaming sites will be explored and
students will be encouraged to consider virtual environments (e.g., Second Life, OpenSim) as venues for learning and
exchange. Finally, tools supporting collaborative work and scholarship will be examined and integrated into the course
papers and projects, such as: web conferencing tools (Adobe Connect, Moodle) web annotation tools ( Zotero), virtual
collaboration environments (e.g., wikis, virtual collaboratories, Google Docs, Google Wave, MediaCommons), annotation
and reference management tools (e.g., OneNote, Endnote, RefWorks, Mendeley); aggregation, social bookmarking and
tagging tools (e.g., RSS, delicious, diigo).
Class sessions with Professor Oblak-Črnič will be conducted in Slovene. Sessions with Professor Jankowski will be
conducted in English. Assignments and papers may be prepared in the language of the instructor to whom being
submitted: assignments by Oblak-Črnič may be in Slovene, those by Jankowski in English, and assignments intended for
both instructors should be prepared in English.
This seminar is predicated on active participation and the grading procedure reflects this principle. Contributions to
discussions, both those in-class and online, and weekly written assignments, both blog postings and reflection on
literature, provide opportunity for such participation.
In addition, students will prepare concluding papers on a topic related to new media theory, research, and recent
developments. The paper may be prepared either individually or co-authored with another student. This paper will be
primarily based on a review of scholarly literature, but may also involve personal exploration of online venues and digital
tools. Students may prepare the paper on the topic of their choice, but are encouraged to consider suggestions for topics
noted below. Students are encouraged to integrate this work into other academic requirements such as the final thesis for
a degree. Please note that these papers will not involve formal social science empirical investigation, but will address
topics and research questions in an exploratory fashion, based on a review of relevant literature. Elaboration of this
course activity and suggestions for paper topics will be discussed during the first meetings of the course. The paper is to
be presented in English during the last two sessions of the seminar.
Collaborative learning environment & course collaborative project
As previously mentioned, this course will make use of an online environment for learning and collaboration, the Virtual
Knowledge Studio Collaboratory (Surfgroepen); the course ‘team site’ at this location is called ‘Ljubljana Seminar2011’.
Materials related to the course (e.g., readings, assignments, papers) will be stored and made available in that
collaboratory. Various tools will be used for the sessions scheduled to be held online, both asynchronous communicative
tools like discussion lists and synchronous tools like instant messaging and audio/video platforms (e.g., Elluminate). These
alternative tools will be demonstrated during the initial sessions of the course, some of which are available on the
Surfgroepen site for the seminar.
A personal blog is to be established for this course by each student and serves as a journal with which students are to
reflect on the topics of the course and share ‘discoveries’ regarding new media. Posts may be short and address
a wide range of issues in an equally wide range of styles: opinions, reflections, reviews, and synopses of
readings. These blogs are designed to present ideas in rough, unpolished form and may relate to the weekly
literature assignments and topics. Posts should reflect findings made during Web searches and include the URLs
of sites found. Comments are also expected on a weekly basis to the postings of the other students in the
seminar. Further information on this aspect of the course is contained in a separate document entitled
‘Blogging in an Academic Setting’, which is available in the course collaborator site Ljubljana Seminar 2011.
The seminar paper is an exercise in formal scholarship. The paper should consider explicitly formulated problems and
develop research question(s) that are related to theories/concepts relevant to new media. The paper is to present a
review of relevant literature and may also include relatively informal experiences/observations of relevant online venues
and/or digital tools. The papers may conclude with suggestions for theoretical or conceptual refinement and suggestions
for further, more formal empirical study. The paper should not exceed 7000 words all-in (abstract, text, notes, references
and illustrations). Students are encouraged to utilize hyperlinks in the papers and to consider multimedia components and
Below is a list of possible seminar paper topics for the second paper; this list is illustrative and is not intended to be
restrictive. Topics for the first paper will be assigned by the instructor.
• Second Life as learning environment: What are the issues, problems, and experiences in incorporating Second
Life into university learning situations?
• Blogs as mode for creative expression: How are blogs used in secondary and higher education writing courses,
with what objectives, limitations and successes?
• Collaborative scholarship: What venues and tools are available for distant collaboration among scientists and
scholars; what are the experiences with research groups that have utilized such tools?
• Transformations in academic publishing: How are journals in communications and other disciplines reacting to
the new possibilities for Internet-based multimedia publication, with what problems and accomplishments?
• Online communities: in what manner do virtual communities reflect and relate to ‘real life’ communities?
• Identity exploration and construction: How are game and social networking environments utilized for exploring
self identity? What kind of identity struggles are opening through popular social networks? What does it mean to
have a ‘friend’, a ‘lover’, a ‘mate’ online?
• Digital activism: How and with what problems / successes are new media incorporated into social movement
• Online news & information: what contribution do blogs and other forms of ‘citizen journalism’ make to public
awareness and action? How are traditional media reacting to and incorporating the Internet into their ‘products’?
What tensions does digital journalism bring to journalists and their working practices?
• Digital libraries & resources: How are the objectives and operating procedures of depositories of knowledge and
culture (e.g., research and national libraries, museums) changing in a digital environment?
• Globalization & commercialization: what are the tensions and societal concerns regarding the globalization of
information and the increasingly commercial exploitation of the Web? Is there a need for a “refreshment” of
political economy approaches to the digital industry?
• Digital citizenship and political participation online: in what manner do political institutions invite citizens to take
an active part in policy development; what kind of communication patterns are available online, which help to
enlarge (or limit) the public sphere on the web?
• New media, new audiences and class structure: can we speak of digital elites and digitally excluded classes?
wWhat determines different digital classes online; what motives, uses and tastes exist in online environments?
How are they related to media culture and consumption?
The course grade will be based on a weighting of the following components of the course:
• contributions to class discussions 20%
(blogs, forums, meetings)
• homework assignments 40%
• seminar paper 30%
• presentation seminar paper 10%
Nicholas W. Jankowski is Visiting Fellow at the e-Humanities Group (formerly VKS) of the Royal Netherlands Academy for
Arts and Sciences (KNAW). He has been researching community and new media since the mid-1970s. During this period,
he has co-edited some half-dozen books on community media, research methodology and new media. Two recently
published volumes are: Internet and National Elections: A Comparative Study of Web Campaigning (Routledge, 2007) and
e-Research: Transformation in Scholarly Practice (Routledge, 2009). Jankowski is initiator and co-editor of the journal New
Media & Society. He is founding board member of the European Institute of Communication and Culture (Euricom) and
editor of the Hampton Press book series Euricom Monographs: New Media and Democracy.
Tanja Oblak-Črnič is Professor at the Department of Communication, University of Ljubljana. Her research is focused on e-
democracy, changes of political communication on the Web, interactivity of online media and social dimensions of
Internet use in everyday life. Her publications include: Dialogue and representation: Communication in the electronic
public sphere. Javnost (2002); The lack of interactivity and hypertextuality in online media. Gazette (2005); Slovenian
online campaigning during the 2004 European parliament election. Kluver, R. et al. The Internet and National Elections: A
Comparative Study of Web Campaigning, (Routledge, 2007).
First seminar meeting
The first meeting of the seminar is scheduled on Wednesday, 24 February, 12.00-14.00, FDV-08. Professor Oblak-Črnič will
chair this meeting; Jankowski will prepare a short (max. 20 minutes) slide / video presentation to be played during the
session. Inasmuch as the main objective of the session is introduction of the course and participants, please come
prepared to share experiences with new media and digital tools, and to explore ideas for seminar papers. As preparation,
students will be invited to complete an online survey regarding awareness and use of new media tools and developments.
In addition, students will be asked to consider the following questions in preparation for this meeting:
• What is your academic and professional background; what are your personal learning objectives with regard to
• What experiences have you already had with digital communication environments and online learning tools such
as: social networking sites, peer-to-peer communication, collaborative tools, digital libraries, online literature
resources, and social science databases?
• What tentative ideas do you have for a seminar paper?
Note: the first set of initials after topic indicate instructor primarily responsible for session; a second set of initials
indicates specific contribution by other instructor.
Date location Activity
24 Feb. FDV-08 Meeting 1: Introduction to course, introduction of seminar participants (TO, NJ)
3 Mar. online Meeting 2: Introduction: scholarly study of new media; key concepts (NJ)
10 Mar. FDV-08 Meeting 3: Historical perspectives (TO, NJ)
17 Mar. online Meeting 4: Technology (NJ)
24 Mar. FDV-08 Meeting 5: Identity (TO, NJ)
31 Mar. online Meeting 6: Community (NJ)
7 Apr. online Meeting 7: Governmental policy & regulation, (NJ)
14 Apr. FDV-08 Meeting 8: New media & new politics (TO, NJ)
21 Apr. FDV-08 Meeting 9: News & information, public discourse (TO, NJ)
28 Apr. holiday; no class meeting
5 May online Meeting 10: Creative expression, gaming & entertainment industry (NJ)
12 May online Meeting 11: Commerce, business & digital media (NJ)
19 May online Meeting 12: Education & scholarship (NJ)
26 May online Meeting 13: individual consultations for preparation of papers (TO, NJ)
2 June FDV-08 Meeting 14: Presentations of student papers (NJ, TO)
9 June FDV-08 Meeting 15: Presentations of student papers (TO, NJ)
11 June seminar paper due
Reading assignments include drafts of chapters for the book being prepared by one of the instructors and supplementary
literature, which will be made available on the VKS Collaboratory. Usually two articles of approximately 40-50 pages will
be assigned per week. Below is a preliminary list of weekly readings and supplementary resources; more extensive
bibliographies and resources are available on the course management site maintained at the VKS Collaboratory.
Meetings 1 (24 Feb.)
Introduction to the seminar (TO, NJ)
This meeting provides opportunity for both instructors to present themselves and their perspective on new media
studies. Students are also encouraged to share their backgrounds and interests in new media. The special features of
the seminar are presented and discussion is initiated on topics suitable for seminar papers. Students are expected to
have registered at the course online site (invitations will be sent for this prior to this meeting), to have read the
syllabus for the course, and the document about academic blogging, available on the course site.
Meeting 2, (3 Mar.)
Panorama of an Emerging Field (NJ)
This session sets the stage for the book Digital Media and provides an overview of developments, characteristics and
issues related to digital media. A definition is offered for digital studies and digital media, and comparisons made with
related terms and developments including new media, multimedia and Internet studies. Through this definitional
exercise, the importance and centrality of digitalization is indicated as well as the rationale for a new field of study.
This chapter outlines how the book is organized and its relation to a Web site complementing the text.
The main features and characteristics of digital media are elaborated in this chapter, including the distinction
between: digital and analogue forms of information; the place of computers and electronic networks in digital media;
the notions information highway, information society, interactivity and convergence; reformulations of real life and
virtual, of space and time.
• Digital Media, Chapters 1 & 2
• Nicholas Carr, Is Google making us stupid? What the Internet is doing to our brains. (Atlantic, July/August 2008).
• Benkler, Y. (2006). The wealth of networks: How social production transforms markets and freedom. Available
• Dahlberg, L. & Siapera, E. (2007). Radical democracy and the Internet: Interrogating theory and practice. New
• Gauntlett, D. (2004). Web.Studies, 2nd ed., London: Arnold. Book Web site available here.
Meeting 3, (10 Mar.)
Historical Perspectives (TO, NJ)
The development of digital media and digital forms of communication has been an ongoing process across decades
and has been situated within social, cultural and political contexts as well as technological potentials and constraints.
This complex interplay of contexts, technologies and actors is examined in this session. Major landmarks are
identified and related to social and cultural ramifications regarding media and communication. Some of the key actors
in this process are profiled. The chapter concludes with a sketch of the contemporary landscape of digital media and
communication, from where it came and to where it might be headed.
• Digital Media, Chapter 3
• Peters, B. (2009). And lead us not into thinking the new is new: A bibliographic case for new media history. New
Media & Society, 11(1-2): 13-30.
• Park, D., Jankowski, N., & Jones, S.) (eds.) (forthcoming, 2011). The Long History of New Media: Technology,
Historiography, and Contextualizing Newness. New York: Peter Lang.
• Crawford, S. (1983). The origin and development of a concept: the information society. Bulletin Medical Library
Association, October; 71(4): 380–385. Available here.
• Turow, J., & Tsui, L. (Eds.) (2008). The hyperlinked society; Questioning
connections in the Digital Age. Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press. Available here.
• WWW History Project.
• The Guardian, Internet at 40.
Meeting 4, (17 Mar.)
Technology, as related to digital media, involves the hardware and software of computers, electronic networks,
telephony, information storage and retrieval devices, and other information and communication innovations. The
military origins of the Internet, for example, are noted as are the “browser wars” and the subsequent emergence of
the open source movement. The development and conflicts between rival computer operating systems are profiled as
well as some of the economic struggles of major players. Some of the technologies under consideration for
presentation in this chapter include Web browsers and search engines, mobile telephony, electronic networks, data
and text processing, and data storage devices.
• Digital Media, Chapter 4
Supplementary readings and resources
• Ling, R. & Donner, J. (2009). Mobile communication. Cambridge: Polity.
• Getting the Best out of Cyberspace. The Information Society Library.
• Internet and World Wide Web History.
• Enzer, M. (1994-2006). Glossary of Internet Terms.
Meeting 6, (31 Mar.)
One of the central foci of new media, and by default digital media, relates to the sociological concept community.
Since the early social experiments with computers and the Internet in the 1960s, scholars have been examining online
environments and their detrimental as well as liberating potential. Similarly with community: academics have
debated the possibility of regaining ‘lost’ community through Internet-based constructions and have coined a term
especially for this situation: virtual community. Much empirically-grounded study has been undertaken around the
claims and characteristics of these online communities. This session reviews this work and, at the same time,
introduces the wide range of online communities, encompassing online games and dating sites, specialized discussion
groups and digital cities, learning and work environments. Both geographically-based communities and communities
of interest are included in this review of related literature. The session (and the chapter on which it is based)
concludes with indication of expected developments in online communities and suggestions for further study.
• Digital Media, Chapter 5
• Jankowski, N. W. (2007). Community & identity online. Distance Learning Division, Centre for Mass
Communication Research, University of Leicester.
• Bruckman, A. (2006), "A New Perspective on "Community" and its Implications for Computer-Mediated
Communication Systems," In Proceedings of the 2006 ACM SIGCHI Conference on Human Factors in Computing
Systems, Extended Abstracts (pp. 616-621). Montréal, Québec, 22-27 April, 2006. Available online.
• Video: What defines community?
• Willson, M. A. 2006).Technically together: Rethinking community within techno-society. New York: Peter Lang.
Meeting 5, (24 Mar.)
Identity (TO, NJ)
As with the concept community, the notion of identity has been central in scholarly discourse since arrival of the
Internet and has spurned a wide range of ideas as to how the notion of identity is undergoing transformation. Some
consider online environments as providing opportunity for identity experimentation, liberation and, in the process,
self-realization. Online communities, others argue, provide the bedrock for regaining a quality of life missing from
much of modern society: a sense of collective feeling and appreciation for the other. At the same time, others point
to a potentially dark site to these developments. Online settings seem to permit lack of accountability and
responsibility for actions taken, particularly through ability to engage anonymously. Online relations tend to take on a
fluid and fleeting character and, as such, lose permanence and lasting value – characteristics of the postmodern
condition. These issues are presented in this session and illustrated with social networking sites and other identity-
oriented sites (e.g., personal Web pages, YouTube, Facebook, Friendster). Where applicable, these illustrations are
related to empirically-based studies.
• Digital Media, Chapter 6
• boyd, d. m. & Ellison, N. B. (2007). Social network sites: Definition, history, and scholarship. Journal of Computer-
Mediated Communication, 13(1), article 11, available here. OR:
• Paparachissi, Z. (2009). The virtual geographies of social networks: a comparative analysis of facebook, LinkedIn
and ASmallWorld. New Media & Society, 11(1-2): 199-220.
• Donath, J. S. (date). Identity and deception in the virtual community. In Kollock, P. & Smith M. (Eds.),
Communities in Cyberspace. London: Routledge. Available here.
• Kennedy, H. (2006). Beyond anonymity, or future directions for internet identity research. New Media & Society,
8 (6): 859 - 876.
• Publications by danah boyd.
Meeting 7, (7 Apr.)
Governmental Policy & Regulation (NJ)
A broad range of issues and developments in digital studies are related to governmental policy and regulation. New
terms have been coined (e.g., e-democracy, e-governance, e-voting), new initiatives developed (e.g., Creative
Commons), and new concepts formulated (e.g., copyleft). Policy and regulation of Internet-based content, at the
national and international level, is a booming area of concern and scholarship, and ranges from concern for child
molesting on Internet sites, pornography, terrorist recruitment, copyright infringement, and Internet governance.
This chapter introduces the central issues and innovations related to government policy and regulation of the online
• Digital Media, Chapter 8
• Freedman, D. (2008). The politics of media policy. Cambridge: Polity.
• Itsuko Y. (2006). Cyberlaw. Theory, Culture & Society, 23 (5): 529 - 531.
• Kuipers, G. (2006). The social construction of digital danger: debating, defusing and inflating the moral dangers of
online humor and pornography in the Netherlands and the United States.
New Media & Society, 8 (6): 379 - 400.
Meeting 8, (14 Apr.)
New Media & New Politics (TO, NJ)
One of the early promises of new media pundits was that the way politics took place would be transformed, that
citizens would become politically reengaged, thanks to the potentials of increased knowledge and participation
provided by the Internet. Similarly, politicians would become more responsive to the polity and engage in a form of
public discourse seldom experienced in the traditional political arena. Much has changed during the past two
decades, particularly since popularization of the Web, but much has also remained the same. This session weighs the
evidence on the initial promise of new media bringing about radical change in how politics is conducted, both during
electoral campaigns and during periods of social action.
• Digital Media, Chapter 7
• Bentivegna , S. (2006). Rethinking politics in the world of ICTs. European Journal of Communication, 21 (9): 331 -
• Boler, M. (Ed.), (2008). Digital media and democracy: Tactics in hard times. Cambridge MA: MIT Press.
• Chadwick, A. & Howard, P, N, (Eds.), (2009). Routledge handbook of Internet politics. London: Routledge.
• Foot, K. A. & Schneider, S. M. (2006). Web campaigning. Cambridge MA: MIT Press. Book supplement.
• Kluver, R., Jankowski, N. W., Foot, K. A., & Schneider, S. M. (Eds.), (2007). The Internet and national elections; A
comparative study of Web campaigning. London: Routledge. Book Web site.
• Dahlgren, P. (2009) Media and political engagement. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
Meeting 9, (21 Apr.)
News & Information, Public Discourse (TO, NJ)
Profound changes have taken place among traditional media, newspapers and magazines, radio and television.
Virtually all of these media now have an online presence and many include extensive multimedia fare; newspapers
have become venues for video and broadcasting corporations like the BBC are major depositories of materials, audio-
visual as well as text-based. Most profound is perhaps the very existence of traditional media as known until recently.
Newspapers especially are struggling to survive in an online world of news and information, where bloggers
sometimes seem to scoop traditional media in publishing stories and ‘everyman’ becomes the ‘citizen journalist’ more
trusted and followed than media professionals. This session reviews these changes in media institutions and
multiplicity of voices providing news and information, and contributing to the public sphere.
• Digital Media, Chapter 9
• Bird, S.E. (2009). The future of journalism in the digital environment. Journalism, 10(3): 293-295.
• Jankowski, N. W. (forthcoming, 2011). Citizens, journalists, and user-generated content. In J. Hatcher & B.
Reader (Eds.), The foundations of journalism: A primer for research. London: Sage.
• Bruns, A. (2008). Blogs, Wikipedia, second Life, and beyond: From production to produsage. New York: Peter Lang.
• Gillmor, D. (2004). We the media: Grassroots journalism by the people for the people. New York: O’Reilly Media.
• Goode, L. (2009). Social news, citizen journalism and democracy. New Media & Society.
• Paterson, C. & Domingo, D. (2008). (Eds.), Making online news: The ethnography of new media production. New
York: Peter Lang.
• Rodriguez, C., Kidd, D., & Stein, L. (2009). (Eds.), Making our media: Global initiatives toward a democratic public
sphere. Crisskill, NJ: Hampton Press.
• Tremaynem, M. (2007). (Ed.), Blogging, citizenship and the future of media. New York: Routledge.
Meeting 10, (5 May)
Creative Expression, gaming & entertainment industry (NJ)
The Internet and the Web are often associated with opportunities for expression – personal, artistic and literary. In
some respects, these opportunities are seen as a rebirth of the Enlightenment; the Wikipedia project is perhaps the
main initiative in this area, which is further grounded in idealistic notions of collective engagement. At the same time,
postmodernist notions are prominent in the dissolution of conventional narrative structure through hyperlinking,
providing opportunities for readers to create their own beginning, middle and end to texts, and in that respect to
embrace functions traditionally reserved for authors: readers become, quite literally, authors. This chapter explores
these aspects, the related concepts, and provides illustrations of cyber writing (e.g., cyberpunk, e-zines). Some of the
classics of cyber literature are introduced as well as literary studies on these and other works.
One of the core areas of business, engagement and societal concern is computer and online games. Some online
games have hundreds of thousands of players often engaged simultaneously; some, like Neopets, cater to the very
young; others, like Second Life, are designed mainly for young adults and provide, as the name implies, simulation of
alternate environments and life styles. The development of these games are sketched in this chapter, tracing their
emergence from the early stand alone computer games like Pac-Man, through the period of Multi User Dungeons
(MUDs), to the present generation of multimedia virtual reality arenas. Concerns associated with these developments
are also discussed, including use bordering on addiction and preponderance of violence-oriented and sexist games.
Recent studies exploring the worlds of gamers are presented.
A second important topic addressed in this session is how initially innocuous recreational exchange of materials –
mainly music but also, software, texts and films – led to the emergence of commercial enterprises that challenged the
ownership rights of established industries – software developers, music and film companies, publishing houses. This
struggle between individual right to receive and share information, on the one hand, and intellectual rights of
ownership represented by publishing companies is portrayed in this chapter through presentation of case histories.
• Digital Media, Chapter 10
• Carr, D., Buckingham, D., Burn, A., & Schott, G. (2007). Computer games; Text, narrative and play. Cambridge:
• Corneliussen, H. G. & Walker Rettberg, J. (Eds.), (2008). Digital culture, play, and identity. A World of Warcraft
reader. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press.
• Heider, D. (Ed.), (2008). Living virtually: Researching new worlds. New York: Peter Lang.
• Nielsen, S. E., Smith, J. H., & Tosca, S. P. (2008). Understanding video games: The essential introduction. London:
Meeting 11, (12 May)
Commerce & Industry (NJ)
The commercial importance of the Internet is difficult to underestimate and has been considered comparable to the
industrial era of the 19th
century. At the same time, that importance has been considered a dot-com bubble, bound to
burst – as it, indeed, did in the late 1990s. Market developments in the mid-2000s suggest an economic rebound,
signaled by recent large sum acquisitions. Economic interest in information and communication technologies more
generally, including computer hardware and software, mobile telephony, and the technologies and services
associated with telephony via landlines and cable, constitute the backbone of the Information Age. Some of the
largest computer and Internet-oriented corporations are considered the centerpieces of the global information
economy. These developments are presented in this chapter through a sketch of the evolutionary development of e-
commerce over the past decades. Some of the problems associated with this development are also discussed:
monopoly forming and industrial imperialism, secure online transactions and development of profitable business
models for online enterprises.
• Digital Media, Chapter 11
• Tredinnick, L. (2006). Web 2.0 and Business: A pointer to the intranets of the future? Business Information
Review, 23 (12): 228 - 234.
• Eye tracking research
• Glaser, M. (2007). Your guide to online advertising. Available here.
Meeting 12, (19 May)
Education & Scholarship (NJ)
New courses and degree programs are being introduced with terms like “new media,” “cyberculture,” and “Internet
studies” in the titles and specially tailored research institutions are emerging around the world (e.g., Center for Digital
Media). Although very much in flux, these changes in academia tend to follow the pre-existing contours of institutions
and disciplines, and are, as a consequence, seldom revolutionary in nature. Still, the degree of change remains
substantial: online-only courses are being developed; digital library resources and becoming commonplace, forms of
student engagement and collaboration are multiplying with creation of online environments (e.g., Blackboard).
Alongside these education-oriented developments, scholarship is increasingly dependent on computers and
electronic networks, and academics are embracing new terminology to describe the research enterprise: e-science, e-
research, cyberinfrastructure. This session introduces these transformations, extending them from early initiatives
with Internet studies to more general programs about digital studies. New methodologies and practices for
performing scholarship in virtually all sectors of academia – the natural sciences, social sciences and the humanities –
are affected and some of these are illustrated in this chapter. A few of the more developed research tools (e.g., online
surveys) and approaches to research (e.g. virtual ethnography) are considered, along with some of the problematic
challenges, including ethical considerations in conducting online research and Web archiving problems.
• Digital Media, Chapter 11
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Book Appendices: Digital Resources
This material, arranged in a series of appendices, is practical in nature and provides information helpful in making use
of digital libraries, electronic resources, educational and research institutions on the Web; online sources of data;
resources for collecting, archiving and analyzing data; and online publishing opportunities. Illustrations are provided
of exemplary resources (e.g., Digital Scholarship, Pew Internet & American Life Project). Some of the more prominent
scholarly journals relevant to digital studies are presented and a list is included in Appendix B.
• Appendix A: Educational and research institutions with programs in digital studies;
• Appendix B: Periodicals related to digital studies (online & print-based);
• Appendix C: Special depots of materials for study (e.g., RCCR, databases, study-oriented Web sites).
Meeting 13, (26 May)
Review: concepts & developments, areas for research
Meeting 14, (2 June): Presentation of student projects
Meeting 15, (9 June): Presentation of student projects