OII - SDP - 2004 - Blog

Tuesday, July 27, 2004

Coming soon ...

Coming soon ... entries for the following sessions:

27/07/04 Webmetric Analysis [Caldas]
28/07/04 Multi-Method Data Collection [Anderson, Shepherd, Dutton]
29/07/04 The Next Oxford Internet Survey: OxIS and WIP Workshop [Dutton & Rose]
30/07/04 Final Plenary - The Internet Changes Everything [Nelson, Dutton, et al.]

e-Science .. the background [Jeffreys, Woolgar, & Schroeder]

The first presentation for the day was presented by three speakers on e-Science and e-Social Science. They were the Oxford University's Paul Jeffreys, Steve Woolgar, and Ralph Schroeder.

The basis of the presentation surrounded the technical and social aspects of the Enterprise Grid Alliance, Grid Computing, and e-Science. Paul commenced by explaining the underpinnings of e-Sceince, while Ralph discussed applications of grid technologies in social science, followed lastly by Steve's social shaping aspects of new technologies.

Paul Jeffreys

Paul commenced by saying:

eScience will change the way science is done
... before explaining that the Enterprise Grid Alliance was made up by industry conglomerates such as SUN, Oracle, and HP, in addition to Microsoft, IBM, and BA providing Web Services.  Also, a teragrid formed in the  USA provides 20 terabytes of space over 9 sites connected to the grid.  But whats all the fuss? As Paul explains, the grid enables collaboration work at dozens of sites worldwide, with a strong sense of shared presence, via a combination of commodity, audio/video technology for security, discovery, etc.  Thus the grid is:

Middleware, software, and hardware, to share, access, process, communicate, and store huge quantities of data in a secure manner.

Ralph Schroeder

Despite the possibilities of the grid, Ralph finds it interesting to look at the blend of science and social science.  For example, in looking at the differences of the two, conference proceedings are the highest form of academic publishing for science, yet they are worth ‘practically nothing’ in social science (as apposed to academic journal publication).  Moreover, in a recent research project in collaboration, Ralph finds two very prestigious scientists at two institutions did not want to engage in an informal meeting space they way graduate student would.  That is, they did not want to participate in a ‘lessor’ way with the fear of perhaps lessening their academic prestige; they almost needed to be trained to use the facility.

As a proponent of VR, it was not surprising that the rest of Ralph's contribution was about that: virtual environments.  As such, Ralph put forward that virtual environments were good social science research tools that could log the behaviour of human encounters, and explained examples in the work of Blascovich and Garau.  In fact, Ralph says VR aids in studying the condition in which people interact in a new way, via a mixture of different methods.  For example, looking at these virtual encounters and seeing whether the same conditions apply in real encounters; or alternately, taking data from the real world and applying it or visualizing them inside VR.  Hence a 'shading of the two areas'.

So what is special about e-Social Science and its connection with e-Science? Ralph says:

  • The role of technology (instruments) in the advance of (social) science
  • Distributed collaboration and co-visualisation
  • Communication networks in and between the sciences
Finally, Ralph spoke about nanoManipulator Collaboratory (testing via co-located and then non co-located task completion, before ending that social science can be incorporated in the testing/research of science problems.

Steve Woolgar

As the final speaker, Steve commences by outlining with work going on at Science and Technology Studies at Oxford, in that they are:
Investigating the social, historical, and philosophical dimensions of scientific knowledge and technological development.

He discussed what the grid means for social science, social science for the grid, and also social science with the grid.  And in playing on Nimrod's five rules of virtuality (presented on Monday 19th July), Steve presented the same for the grid:
  • The uptake of new techs depend on the social context (what are the specific local conditions of joining or not joining à depends on local circumstance)
  • Fears and risks assoc with new techs are unevenly socially distributed
  • New techs supplement rather than substitute for old tech
  • The more virtual the more real
  • The more global the more local

Monday, July 26, 2004

No sessions blogged today


I drove everyone to Stonehenge and Bath yesterday, and as I was already tetering on the edge of being sick, it finally hit home and timed it for this morning. I slept for 3 hours today though, and feel much better for it.

No sessions blogged today ... though for those who attended, Frank Webster, Bill Dutton, and Rebecca Eynon presented Social Research on the Future of E-learning.

Sunday, July 25, 2004

OII Road Trip to Stonehenge and Bath

15 OII'ers, one bus, two destinations, one driver, and two navigators.  An OII Road Trip to Stonehenge and Bath.

We spent the morning driving from Oxford to Stonehenge today, then to Bath for lunch and some sightseeing around Bath and of course the Roman Baths. 

I had never driven a vehicle as big as the bus we'd hired, though as one of three people who could drive on the correct (left) side of the road, I was the lucky bunny :)

[Go to the full list of photos.]

Saturday, July 24, 2004

Animal Rights March in Oxford

Photos from the Animal Rights March in Oxford, that went by my window not 5 mins ago!

[Photo 1] [Photo 2] [Photo 3] [Photo 4]

Friday, July 23, 2004

The Economics of Open Source [David]

Paul David, Professor of Economics at Stanford University, presented a session this morning on open source economics. Thus the aim of The Economics of Open Source was to overview one of the kinds of problems that basic analysis is involved in within this sphere.

He first spoke about the present, followed by a short historical interlude (e.g. where have open source institutions come from?), and then the future: the long term sustainability in the present policy climate re: things such as IP protection.

Knowledge, to cite David, is:

The capability to interpret data and to turn them into structured data which I would call information.

Communication of knowledge is mediated though the process of generating information.

He explains that research generates information, which in turn builds and uses knowledge, and it is the production of observations of data which needs to be interpreted.  None of this however was a surprise to me.

In line with Ed Steinmueller's presentation on Online Epistemic Communities last Friday, David advises information is not normal private good; they have public good features, such as infinite expansibility, non-rival use, indivisibility, substantial fixed costs of creation, and significant costs of exclusion from access and possession.  Though a quote from Thomas Jefferson’s 1813 letter to Isaac McPherson sums up information rather nicely:

He who receives an idea from me, receives instruction himself without lessening mine; as he who lights his taper at mine, receives light without darkening me.

The Writings of Thomas Jefferson, Koch and Peden eds. 1972. pp. 629-630.

From here, the presentation was challenged due to time contraints (forcing David to quickly skim through a large amount of his presentation) and (for me) the relevence of the information to my interests, therefore I regret I was not able to capture anymore information from the session.

The Accountable Net: Intellectual Property Rights [Palfrey]

John Palfrey, from The Berkman Centre for Internet and Society, and another 2003 OII-SDP alumni, presented a session that was to become an entrée into the broader issues for debate on IP.  In The Accountable Net: Intellectual Property Rights, Palfrey discussed the interplay between law and technology, and norms and markets.

He gave a narrative of legal issues using the famous Napster case as an example, before setting copyright in the context of other IP regimes.  (Napster - means of sharing digital media – in a matter of months, had tens of thousands of users - record industry was not happy and immediately brought loads of legal perspectives to the issue – they went after the network themselves).

Take a look at the Digital Media Project - http://cyber.law.harvard.edu/media/scenarios - that:

identifies several trajectories that could guide the future of music and movies online.  Based on this analysis and subsequent meetings, research on the Digital Media Project is currently exploring five scenarios as the different models vying to shape the development of digital media.

The session then turned into a group discussion on each of five scenarios that could change the shape of digital media, copyright, and IP:

  1. (a) status quo
    (b) status quo + self-help
  2. speedbumps
  3. tech lock down (think long-horm, AMD chips)
  4. alternative comp systems (register, tax, count, pay, catskills)
  5. entertainment co-op (voluntary associations)
  6. Publishing + performace, instead of catskills
  7. Utopian (scrap it all)

All in all, we should ask ourselves (says Palfrey):

By doing what you’re doing, are you causing someone to lose money?

Thursday, July 22, 2004

Community Media [Jankowski]

Searching for specific details on IndyMedia on various search engines around the world, as a case for general academic search strategies, was the basis of a second session by Nick Jankowski.  The session was informal, and led to alot of discussion, therefore I did not take a considerable amount of notes.

Databases: Web Of Science, Lexis Nexis (subscription), Sociological Abstracts; JSTORE, search for topic + PDF in google.com search query

With regard to learning how to better search for material, some suggestions were:

  • Consult a Senior Librarian
  • Learn how to search specific databases
  • Learn what databases are the top ones for your topic/discipline
  • Look at researchers and research institutions in your topic/discipline 

I found Nick's presentation on an exploratory study of IndyMedia websites interesting for an entirely different reason however.  That is, I can consider the way he explored the data when exploring genealogical websites in my PhD. 

  • Qualitative description of websites
          - Editorial policy?
          - Publishing frequency?
          - Table that summaries the features
                  - Multimedia
                  - Interactive
                  - Editorial policy
                  - Special features
  • Quantitative content analysis of websites

Wednesday, July 21, 2004

Ditched OII ... Visitied Ashmoelan

Sarah and I spent some time in the Ashmolean Museum today as we avoided Internet Governance morning.

Bill Dutton, Chris Marsden and others discussed Perspectives on WSIS in the morning, and afterwards, the Quandary of Public Participation in Internet Governance was the topic by John Palfrey.

Tuesday, July 20, 2004

My Presentation at OII

I presented my PhD research this afternoon, which turned out to be a fruitful experience. As a result, I have 'honed' my methodology slightly to include participant observation of a genealogy collaboration website for the Collaborating section of my mixed research, and am now more closely considering the size of my sample vs. the general population for my quant. web-based survey.

The presentations slides are available online, and so is the supporting proposal.

The Virtual Society [Woolgar]

Steve Woolgar, Director of the Virtual Society? Programme, spoke to us today about his programme in Virtual Society? Theoretical Perspectives on the Internet.

Steve mentioned that there is a lot of literature about web theory though there is currently very little about non-constructionist views i.e. what actually happens on/with technology.  I find this especially encouraging, given that this is what I'm trying to do with my PhD (show how a group of users actually use the Internet).

I did not note alot of the content of this session, though one aspect that I found especially useful was Woolgar's Five Rules of Virtuality (details to come when slides available.)  Moreover, the following notes were also of interest: 

  • Technology itself does not determine how its used – it's all determined by the local circumstances of its 'put to use'.
  • Surveillance technologies do not cause particular fears
  • The paperless office never happened – new technology sits beside the old! e.g. people use email though still use paper-based memos, etc.
  • New technology seems to generate more of the activity they were supposed to replace
    e.g. teleworkers end up traveling more as a result of teleworking becuase systems allow them to work more effectively and travel to meet more clients
  • A 'global presence' still means you need to appeal to the local
    e.g. Virtual Manchester website
    e.g. Saying “I'm on the train” when talking on a mobile phone

Monday, July 19, 2004

Securitizing the Internet [Kozlovski]

A very passionate Nimrod Kozlovski came to us today to speak of the Internet and security.  An OII-SDP alumni from 2003, his abstract states the session will:

explore the regulatory and technological framework of the new security model and will offer critical analysis of its effect on the distribution of power in the information environment.

And that it did.

Nimrod began by explaining that the Internet was a security network in the beginning - not meant for the general public, rather the military network - therefore as a system that is TCP/IP-based, the security foundations are not adjustable to the e-commerce and mass-communication of civilian usage.  In fact, the Internet (as originally designed and used today) has no security solution for:
  1. Integrity of messages/information
  2. Confidentiality (quite the opposite – the Internet was built to ensure information was as accessible as possible – contained in many nodes – see point 3.)
  3. Availability (information availability vs. node/server availability
So, how can we securitise the Internet when it is not already built into it? Nimrod tells us how with three strategies for increasing security: technology; social/bsuiness changes; or legal changes.

In the first instance we can change in underlying technological make-up of the Internet, though Nimrod doesn’t see this as a viable option.  Instead, he suggests we build more layers into the technology in order to accommodate security threats, though still would, and I quote, 'gain so-so security’.

Secondly, we can look at social or business changes.  That is, changes in the social practices in Internet consumption (e.g. more trust; exclusion before inclusion; more ‘zone-gate’ communities; usage based on certainty of who you’re interacting with.)

Lastly, we look to three stages of Cybercrime Law for a possible legal framwork to securitise the Internet.  With Cybercrime 1.0, we saw  changing definitions of criminal legislation, e.g. including the stealing of information to cover things that happen in the virtual world.  With Cybercrime 2.0, the law realized that we have procedural and evidentiary issues that are problematic in enforcing cybercrimes: jurisdiction issues due to the global reach of the Internet, i.e. what if something happens online? Which country does it get tried at? What about cross-jurisdiction evidence collection e.g. territories, boundaries?  How do we treat virtual documents in physical prosecution?  Also, anonymous surfing and identities allows detachment from the cyber-crime, thus Nimrod told us the 'true cybercriminals' never see court.  Lastly, Cybercrime 3.0 is the current battlefield that is negotiating security theory and policy choices for a communication medium such as the Internet.

Reconfiguring Access [Dutton]

I was looking forward to this session as it was being presented by Bill Dutton, the Director of the Oxford Institute.  Bill presented the session Reconfiguring Access: Societal Implications of the Internet, largely an overview of findings from the World Internet Project, which began in 2000.

The World Internet Project is essentially a consortium of 15 nations, in which each conducts similar questions for internal and global cross-demographic analysis.  OII's participation consists of the OxIS surveys: a research effort of multi-stage probability samples for England, Scotland, and Wales, considtaing of partipants 14 years and over, face-to-face surveys.  The latest acheived 2,030 respondants and a 66% response rate.

The WiP is currently trying to trying to get participation from more countries, though I was surprised to see that neither Australia nor New Zealand were amongst the conglomerate.

Some interesting results from the study:

  • On the aggregate, experience is one of the major factors in those who purchase online.
  • Dimensions of trust
          - Reliability of information
          - Based on a reliability rating for different ‘kinds’ of internet media 1-10
          - Non-users are most likely to have a lack of confidence in the Internet 
          - More experience = more trust
          - Control for skill could be “Have you ever created a webpage”

          - Privacy at risk? 
          - People can get information about you? 
          - Difficult to assess products?
  • Net as an “experience’ technology
    Higher proximity = higher experience = higher trust (higher learned level of trust?)
          - How many years have you been using the Internet (=longevity)
          - Type of Access? (=type)
          - Hours online (= intensity)
  • Bad e-mail experience indicators
    More proximity = more SPAM (i.e. bad experiences) = less trust 
          - Too much SPAM
          - Likely fraud
          - Virus
          - Obscene, abusive e-mail

Note to self: must get a hold of Bill's book Society on the Line (Dutton et al., 1999).

Sunday, July 18, 2004

Free Day in Oxford

On our first official free day in Oxford, a full day was planned.  In the morning, a walking tour of Oxford, followed by lunch in Christ Church Meadow, then an afternoon of punting on the Thames (or Isis River, what ever you like to call it.)

Photos: http://www.veale.com.au/photos/oxford/index.html

What Every Intelligent Person Should Know About the Internet [Nelson]

Ted Nelson has been decribed as 'energetic, charismatic, and eccentric' and given that I knew 90% of his presentation content surrounding the technological underpinings of the Internet, I hung off every world. I laughed at his comedic and inner-confusion of what to say and what not to say.  I shook my head in disbelief.  Though in all, it was a very entertaining way to end the day.
'The real Internet', says Nelson,  'is not the WWW, nor the applications you see; it is the transport layer'.  Thus he discussed protocols (e.g. TCP/IP) and the history of them; ARPANET; that telephone systems used to be by point-to-point connection - an analogy to packet switching for TCP/IP packets; HTTP, FTP, E-Mail, SMTP, POP3, IMAP; IP v4.0 and v6.0; the browser; who controls the Internet (IETF, Verisign, Icann, IANA, W3C, ITU, ISO, ISOC ORG, WSIS, IAB, IESG, NIST, ECMA, and FTC);
Finally, we were lead through Nelson’s thoughts in thinking up the Internet and hypertext.

Online Epistemic Communities [Steinmueller]

The aim of Friday's second session was to discuss the open source paradigm.  Thus Ed Steinmueller 's Online Epistemic Communities presentation outlined a means of organisation of collaborative work of building communities - not open source software development as the title might suggest - but why people participcate in collaborative activities in open source like behaviour. 
Steinmueller commenced by saying ‘many internet resources are like many kinds of libraries’, which made me happy - I am using this metaphor as one of four structural framework partitions for my PhD research.  More so, the rest of his presentation - the open source paradigm as an emblematic new way of collaborating - is extremely relevent to my investigation of the collaborating activities of online genealogists.

Can participation in the creation and improvement (modification) of information goods create substantial value?

To answer this question,  Steinmueller explained, is that information goods are important as they are:
  • expansible - reproduction does NOT exhaust the original; and
  • non-rivalrous - one persons use of an information good does not dimish the value to others.

He then continued by discussing an overview of open source software as a lead in to the open source paradigm, and that:

Open source software creates an impetus for the creation of ‘virtual communities’ based upon computer-mediated communication (CMC).

The main meat of Steinmueller's presentation however is a model for investigating the callobating interaction of Internet activityies.  Thus he introduced the two part model - Analyzing the Social Structure of Open Source Communities - considtaing of Foundation Theory and Empirical Tasks.  I have summarised the two four-part sections below.

Foundation Theory

  1. Examining the constitution of the ‘authority’
  2. Consider the life cycle of the project, including recruitment and sustainability     
  3. Analyse the advantages and limitations in the method of voluntary collabouration .      
  4. Consider some distinctions, such as that 'open source is bigger than software, though does not apply to the whole world of volunterristic Internet activity'.  Also:
'Free access for the purposes of modification’ is a way to exclude chat rooms, Napster, and USENET.  That is, they are not necessarily expansible and non-rivalrous.  This requires further discussion.

Empirical Tasks

  1. What does the market look like?
  2. What range of actvitities? 
  3. Industrial dynamics 
  4. Taxonomy

At the end of the session, an OII participanted asked Ed about the wifi movement and his thoughts on it with repect to the open source paradigm.   Ed mentione that 'giving away something for free, that others sell for money, may create congestion'.  However, a lack of governance and quality may lead to suggestions of unreliance (no assurance), which may allieviate congestion (cannot depend on it, therefore will only use intermittently).

Enabling Internet Participation [Mansell]

Friday was a mixture of three different sessions, starting with Robin Mansell's Enabling Internet Participation: A Global Challenge.  Currently advising the Department of Trade and Industry's Office of Science and Technology Foresight Project on cybertrust and crime prevention, she presented topics for 'understanding the application and implication of ICTs in areas of identity, system dependability, security, and information assurance'. 
With regard to trust in cyberspace, Mansell presented 6 findings:

  1. Experience: The internet appears to be an experience mechanism with regard to trust
  2. Socio-economic values: Trust varies greatly within this category
  3. Ideas about trust vs actual behavior: survey data is self-reporting, therefore actual behavior needs to be observed - do you know what they really do versus what they say?  Does trust arise because of good behavior, or is good behavior required to create trust?
  4. Behavioral cause and effect: e.g. economic perspective - game theoretical approaches à does a trust b, does b trust c, etc.
  5. Distribution of trust (behavior and liability): 'It's the not amount of trust that matters, it's the distribution of trust'.  Who is responsible?
  6. Tactics to alter trust: e.g. imbuing software agents with certain characteristics - building in conventions.  To give a responsible expectation of trustworthy interaction

She continued with 4 findings for risk in cyberspace,:

  1. Perceptions or experience: Is it self-reporting or based on self-experience?
  2. Social context (effect of technology): Perception of risk depends on the social context e.g. local dimension to Risk perception.  Alternately, it is the effect of the technology, skills, language, access, participation issues
  3. Identity and security factors: Net fosters multiple identities, though project found future requires single identities (to prevent/reduce crime)!! (though this is a very technologically driven notion)
  4. Privacy protection:  Currently, most countries have laws for data collection.  For some communities, privacy as understood by many people was not something they could get censuses on.  What is the distribution of privacy (depending on where they're coming from)?

For network dependability, we must consider the design process, resilience of architecture, professional approach, best practices, and continuous appraisal.  And for identities and authentication: proof of identity (originality), the enrolment process, authentication (identity disclosure), assurance and consistent application, and the provenance and trustworthiness of the information.

In conclusion, Mansell says that new criminal opportunities (such as envenomed as the Internet) may lead to more crime and reduced participation, taking into account, complexity (faults, mischief, crime), and 'conjunction of criminal opportunity' or likely opportunities of criminal activity. 

Friday, July 16, 2004

Friday's 3 sessions

I will be blogging today's 3 sessions over the weekend - check back soon!

Thursday, July 15, 2004

Publishing in Academic Journals [Jankowski]

The first session of the Oxford Internet Institute's Summer Doctoral Programme (OII SDP) was presented by Nick Jankowski, initiator and co-editor of the journal New Media & Society. His presentation, Publishing in Academic Journals: Procedures and Practices, outlined many items for consideration when preparing articles for submission, and dealing with the (possibly negative) result from the editors. One slide presented a bevy of articles that can stem from a PhD thesis: conference papers, journal articles, and book chapters. Additionally, other items could be prepared from such a manuscript: essays, book reviews, review essays, or even research-in-brief articles.

Although much of the session was more information confirmation than learning for me, one item of discussion that peaked my interest was the apparent difference in 'scholarly-ness' of paper-based versus online journals. That is, scholarly journals in terms of their academic, double blind, peer-reviewed process. This never entered into my consideration of journal selection. Are paper-based journals considered more scholarly? It seems they are, for reasons, perhaps, of tradition and publication process, though I am not convinced this is necessarily the case for my discipline.

Equally, I mentioned First Monday as an example of an online journal, though it was immediately removed from consideration. In fact, Nick mentioned that it would be 'crossed-out' by any committee reviewing publications for tenure. I am amazed: First Monday is an international, peer-reviewed online journal, consisting of a 16 strong Editorial Board from varying international academic institutions. So why doesn't Nick consider First Monday as scholarly? I suspect, in taking into consideration Nick's discipline of communications studies, and mine of Internet Studies, the issue is inter-disciplinary. That is, just as a journal is considered scholarly in one discipline, it might not necessarily be so in other.

Moving on to the publication process, Nick offered that it was ok to publish working papers on personal websites before or concurrent to journal submissions, as in his opinion, they cannot be managed and therefore cannot be considered 'pre-publication'. On the aforementioned topic of the blind-review process, it is important for authors to not only remove identifying information from their submission, though to also either:

(a) reword references to their own work e.g. changing "and in my previous study (Veale, 2003)" to "and in a previous study (Veale, 2003)" or

(b) remove identifying details from the citation AND the bibliography e.g. "and in my previous study (Details Removed for Review, 2003)".

Finally, The Iowa Guide, a website presenting scholarly journals of mass communication and related fields was given as a resource for examining the field of possible journals in the field.

Welcome and Background to OII [Nash]

Welcome to the OII! First session this morning was an introduction to the Institute by Vicki Nash: overview of the centre, important people contacts, printing, admin, paperwork, and some general housekeeping.

All OII'ers were subsequently admitted to Oxford's Bodleian Library. Now, at my local council run library, you rock up with ID and proof of address, get your laminated library card, and all is well. Not for this 400+ year old library. A short talk about the libraries history, followed by confirmation by passport as ID, a short pledge to a librarian in full gown (inlcuding that I will 'not kindle fire' in the library!), and a laminated card complete with photo. Also, there is no borrowing, a 17th century legacy from Sir Thomas Bodley himself - all library contents are to remain onsite, thus I am a Bodleian Reader for the duration of my stay at Oxford.

My main task for the Bodleian? To find publications on the history and practice of genealogy: ancient and musty manuscripts that would not be available in Australia. How exciting!

Monday, July 12, 2004


24 hours, one tube ride, four airplane meals, three in-flight movies and four bottles of water later ... I'm here. London. England. And two days away from a bus ride to Oxford.

It has now dawned on me that I will be attending summer school at Oxford University. The Oxford University. A cold hard fact that lovely Heathrow immigration officer Claudia is aware of - information she became privy to during our lengthy 'chat' as she toyed with letting me into England, or sending me packing on another 24 hour flight home. Phew! ... they let me in :)

Fellow OII-er Jean leaves my home town of Brisbane today, to join me and other budding summer schoolers from all corners of the globe. Jean hopes for sun and summer. And I'm about to dissappoint her: its overcast and a very cool 13c. I shall now do my bring-on-the-sun-cause-it's-summer dance ... (and remind you, reader, that I'm very jetlagged).