Tuesday, February 08, 2005

cyberculture, communication, and LIS (just a tiny bit, I promise. I couldn't resist)

As you might guess from the title, I'm actually an invader-student from Greg's other department up Park St, and one of the first things that struck me about Bell's article was the easy comparisons I could make to his discussion of some of the challenges of the internet to some of the literature in LIS, specifically related to the open source movement and academic scholarship.

But that was only the initial thing that caught my attention - Bell's reference to cyberspace being a discrete, distinct world of its own (with its own mode of operation, customs, etc?). With the internet being ubiquitous as a research tool in this day and age, it's certainly something that people in the "information" field should examine, as well as those in communication.

But the question is...can we really consider the Internet to be its own discrete world, as cyberethnographers seem to want us to do? While there are certainly a group of protocols related to the Internet that are unique to the medium...does this really make cyberspace something entirely separate?

(Of course, I could be interpreting too literally here...if so, then their definition of world is also something that should be examined.)

1 comment:

Chris said...

I'm studying ethnographic research methods in another class this semester and today we were talking about protecting the anonymity of research subjects and how this applies in cyberspace, particularly to discussion postings by anonymous participants. I think this goes to your question of whether cyberspace is its own discrete world. If someone is anonymous in cyberspace, what is the extent of that anonymity? Does that "person" claiming authorship of a text message on discussion board exist only in cyberspace or is that just a screename for a "real" person somewhere who we really ought to be concerned with? Which space is more real?