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Doing An Internet Study


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AoIR 2007 presentation

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Doing An Internet Study

  1. 1. Doing an Internet study without e-science in a strong Internet nation Han Woo PARK, PhD Dept. of Communication & Information YeungNam University Republic of Korea (South) Email:, Website:
  2. 2. <ul><li>This is written for a round table, </li></ul><ul><li>“ Internet studies and e-science: New tools and concepts for research”, in annual conference of AoIR (Association of Internet Researchers) in Vancouver Canada, 17-20 October 2007. </li></ul>
  3. 3. Biographical sketches of author <ul><li>Han Woo Park is Assistant Professor at YeungNam University in South Korea. </li></ul><ul><li>His research on the use of new digital technologies in extending social networks has contributed to development of a new research field, Hyperlink Network Analysis , and his research has appeared in several international journals, including New Media & Society and the Journal of Computer-Mediated Communication. </li></ul>
  4. 4. Acknowledgement <ul><li>The author kindly acknowledges support through the Korea Research Foundation Grant (KRF-2004-042-H00004). </li></ul>
  5. 5. <ul><li>I have been a principal investigator in a research project titled “ Analyzing South Korea’s political websphere ” supported through the Korean Research Foundation Grant (KRF-2004-042-H00004) from December 2004 to November 2007. </li></ul>
  6. 6. <ul><li>Let me give some reflections on the four round table questions based on a personal experience with this particular project. </li></ul>
  7. 7. <ul><li>This project is composed of three research package . The first is to compare South Korea’s electoral websphere with other countries. </li></ul><ul><li>This was done as a part of the “ Internet & Election Project ” whose e-science aspect is well introduced in a recent Journal of Compute-Mediated Communication ’s e-science special issue (Jankowski, 2007). </li></ul>
  8. 8. <ul><li>The second is to examine the structure of online relational networking using a set of hyperlink data collected from the official websites (Park, Thelwall, & Kluver, 2005; Park & Thelwall, 2007a forthcoming) </li></ul><ul><li>and personal blogs (Park & Kluver, 2007b forthcoming) of elected politicians , </li></ul><ul><li>i.e., National Assembly members, and citizen blogs having a strong engagement with Korean politicians (Park & Jankowski, 2006). </li></ul>
  9. 9. <ul><li>The third is a cross-national survey of websites produced by Japanese and South Korean politicians by comparing their websites features and hyperlinks </li></ul><ul><li>(Tkach-Kawasaki & Park, 2007). </li></ul>
  10. 10. <ul><li>Through this research project, I have been able to collaborate with several oversea scholars in terms of brainstorming, writing-together, and conferencing. </li></ul><ul><li>However, most of these activities were done through commercial softwares </li></ul><ul><li>(e.g., Skype, MS office, Webdex etc.). </li></ul>
  11. 11. <ul><li>These proprietary programs are neither safe nor confidential enough to do a scientific communication. </li></ul><ul><li>However, public e-science communication tools for instantaneous Q & A, mutual writing/proof-reading, and co-analyzing are rare in nearly all nations including South Korea with strong Internet infrastructure. </li></ul>
  12. 12. <ul><li>There are some embryonic attempts driven by the USA, for example, SNAC </li></ul><ul><li>(Social Networks and Cyberinfrastructure, ). </li></ul>
  13. 13. <ul><li>Therefore, the development of public e-science tools for scholarly communication particularly among humanists and social scientists needs to be perceived as an important policy issue . </li></ul><ul><li>Further, a focus interview with scholars having a strong desire about adopting e-science communication media can be taken as an appropriate approach to policy issues regarding social Internet studies and e-science. </li></ul>
  14. 14. <ul><li>A heavy dependence on commercial application is also true of “link analysis ” that is often referred to as the most promising area where Internet studies and e-science can meet (Ackland et al., 2006; Park & Thelwall, 2003). </li></ul><ul><li>None of non-commercial crawlers is superior to major search engines such as the Yahoo, the Google, and the AltaVista in terms of the coverage of World Wide Web. </li></ul>
  15. 15. <ul><li>Therefore, in order to conduct link analysis, researchers should be aware of (advanced) search engine queries and technical components comprising of a website. </li></ul><ul><li>In relation to this, Nentwich (2003, pp.235~244) provides a good sketch of new skills and roles for scholars and librarians in the e-science age. </li></ul>
  16. 16. <ul><li>Lastly, if I had had an access to virtual collaboratory with massive data storage capacity and advanced research network, it would have greatly enhanced the quality of a cross-national research that examines the different styles and practices of politician websites between South Korea and Japan. </li></ul><ul><li>Its primary method lied in identifying the existence of certain information and engagement characteristics contained in the websites of national assembly members. </li></ul>
  17. 17. <ul><li>This joint project accompanied with downloading and storing entire websites of individual politicians using the Offline Explorer, a paid program that allows you to download certain website and navigate the site offline. </li></ul><ul><li>Due to the limited bandwidth capacity of ordinary Internet network, I was not able to share archived websites with a Japanese partner as a class and vice versa. </li></ul>
  18. 18. <ul><li>Only screen-shots were exchanged via email. Table 1 summarizes the total amount of South Korean politician websites in terms of website size, number of folders, and number of files . </li></ul>
  19. 19. *Table 1) Website sizes of South Korean politician homepages <ul><li>N = 277 </li></ul>Item Website size (byte) No. of folders No. of files Median 269,590,955 84 1,728 Minimum 292,202 7 11 Maximum 4,177,982,280 2,088 11,500
  20. 20. Thanks for your attention ! <ul><li>I nteresting & growing area s </li></ul><ul><li>P romising approach es </li></ul><ul><li>New Media & Society Lab at YeungNam University in South Korea </li></ul><ul><li>* Website : </li></ul><ul><li>* E-mail : </li></ul><ul><li> </li></ul><ul><li>Many thanks to my assistants and collaborators! </li></ul>