Reflections on search
Children’s Information – Who Cares? By Maarten Sprenger
Maarten Sprenger wrote an extensive participatory observation and literature review of best practices from the field of information literacy and educational information retrieval by children aged 8 to 12 years. Read online: Children’s Information – Who Cares? By Maarten Sprenger
The Dark Side of Google by Ippolita
The Dark Side of Google by Ippolita was published as #13 in the INC series Theory on Demand, October 2013. Read the book online, download the PDF, or order your copy through print-on-demand.
New Perspectives on Web Search Engine Research
This text serves as a good starting point in studies on online search – it gives an overview of the context of Web Search and search engine related research (by Dirk Lewandowski):
Lewandowski, D. (ed.) New perspectives on web search engine research. Bingley: Emeral Group Publishing, 2012
Web Search Studies: Multidisciplinary Perspectives on Web Search Engines
In a similar fashion, this article by Michael Zimmer tries to organize a meta-discipline of “web search studies”:
Web Search Studies: Multidisciplinary Perspectives on Web Search Engines (2010)
Book: Hillis, Ken; Petit, Michael; Jarrett, Kylie (2013). Google and the Culture of Search. Routledge.
The book Google and the Culture of Search by Ken Hillis, Michael Petit and Kylie Jarrett discusses how, when discussing online search, material forces (business practices and the world of political economy) intersect and overlap with metaphysical forces (the divine and magic). What does this say about the status of – and the role we, as users, attribute to – the greatest search engine, Google, in our ‘culture of search’?
On our research blog you’ll find a review of this book.
Article: Couvering, van. E. (2007) Is relevance Relevant? Market, Science, and War: Discourses of Search Engine Quality
This article by Elizabeth van Couvering presents the results from interview with the producers of search engines, examining their conceptions of search engine quality and the implications of those conceptions. Available at: http://jcmc.indiana.edu/vol12/issue3/vancouvering.html
For other articles by Van Couvering on search engines, see:
Article: Rouvroy, A. (2012). “The end(s) of critique : data-behaviourism vs. due-process.”
Antoinette Rouvroy discusses ‘the end of critique’. In this inquiry about the state of knowledge, power and subjects after the computational turn, she wonders whether it is still possible to practice critical thinking. She argues that we are experiencing a gradual and almost viral generalization of data-mining and profiling, and that this might cause the transversal dimension (essential for critical thinking) to vanish. Available at: http://www.works.bepress.com/antoinette_rouvroy/44
Book: The Googlization of Everything (and Why We Should Worry) by Siva Vaidhyanathan
In the book The Googlization of Everything (and Why We Should Worry) Siva Vaidhyanathan discusses how, even though we have embraced Google, there is also a dark side to our ‘Google fantasies’. Topics include (but are not limited to) an assessment on the Search Giant’s global impact (especially in China) and how it affects the way we think.Vaidhyanathan, S. (2011). The Googlization of Everything (and Why We Should Worry). University of California Press.
Vaidhyanathan was also present at the first SotQ conference. Follow this link to view the report of his talk: https://networkcultures.org/query/2009/11/19/siva-vaidhyanathan-on-googlization-only-the-elite-and-proficient-get-to-opt-out/
Article: The Googlization Question, and the Inculpable Engine, by Richard Rogers
Richard Rogers addresses the problem with Google’s search bias by discussing the question of “how to reinterpret the idea of the gatekeeper, the powerful editor controlling the stories that are fit to print, in light of the link networks determining rankings, and search histories boosting favorite sources in personalized search”
R. Rogers (2009). “The Googlization Question, and the Inculpable Engine,” in K. Becker and F. Stalder (eds.), Deep Search: The Politics of Search Engines beyond Google, Edison, NJ: Transaction, 2009, 173-°©‐184. Available at: http://www.govcom.org/publications/full_list/rogers_inculpable_engine_2009.pdf
Article: Google’s PageRank Algorithm: A Diagram of the Cognitive Capitalism and the Rentier of the Common Intellect (2009) by Matteo Pasquinelli
Matteo Pasquinelli wonders whether we are we renting our collective intelligence to Google. What does that mean and should we do something about this? Available at:http://matteopasquinelli.com/docs/Pasquinelli_PageRank.pdf
Pasquinelli was also present at the first SotQ conference. For a report on his talk go here: https://networkcultures.org/query/2009/11/13/matteo-pasquinelli-from-intellectual-property-to-%E2%80%9Ccognitive-rent%E2%80%9D-in-the-context-of-cognitive-capitalism/
Article: ‘Socio-technical Practices of Providing and Using Online Health Information (2009)’
Astrid Mager has conducted several studies on how search engines are being used and to what extent search engines ‘matter’. In the article ‘Socio-technical Practices of Providing and Using Online Health Information’, for example, she demonstrates how Google has become an obligatory passage point for using online health information. Mager argues that Google’s predominance matters not only in terms of information politics, but also in its epistemological implications.
Mager, A. (2009): Mediated Health. Sociotechnical practices of providing and using online health information, New Media & Society 11/7: 1123-1142. Article is available at: Mediated Health. Sociotechnical practices of providing and using online health information
The Ippolita Collective: ‘The Dark Side of Google’
In 2009 the Ippolita Collective finished the book ‘The Dark Side of Google’. This book provides its readers with a “thorough, serious analysis of what’s behind the Universe of Google and the Metadata Industry”. In an intensive, but animated manner they describe the ‘emergence’ of the Search Giant, after which they constructively criticize its dominance. At the Society of the Query #2 the Ippolita Collective will launch an edited version of their book in hard copy. For now, the earlier version can be downloaded from their website: http://www.ippolita.net/en/dark-side-google-abstract
Search across borders
Article: The Business and Politics of Search Engines: A Comparative Study of Baidu and Google’s Search Results of Internet Events in China
The title of this article by Min Jiang is self-explanatory: this study compares query results from China’s two leading search engines, Baidu and Google. The study focuses on elements such as accessibility, overlap, ranking and bias patterns and uses these to discuss what the sociopolitical implications of the two search engines are.The study is available at: http://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=2027436
Article: Copycats of the Central Himalayas. Learning in the age of information.
In this chapter on plagiarism in the Central Himalayas, Payal Arora addresses her ethnographic research in rural India that includes a discussion on search behavior of youth in a cybercafé.
Arora, P. Copycats of the Central Himalayas. Learning in the age of information. In Stewart Marshall & Wanjira Kinuthia (Eds.), Cases’n’Places: Global cases in educational technology. Information Age Publications (2010). Available at: http://payalarora.com/Publications/Chapter-CasesnPlaces-2009.doc
The workings behind search engines
Book: The Filter Bubble: How the New Personalized Web is Changing What We Read and How We Think
In the book The Filter Bubble: How the New Personalized Web Is Changing What We Read and How We Think (2011) Eli Pariser warns his readers for how filtered results returned by search engines closes us off to new ideas, subjects, and important information. He defines the ‘filter bubble’ as “that personal ecosystem of information that’s been catered by […] algorithms”. Pariser discusses the implication of filter bubbles as well as possible solutions.
Pariser, Eli. The Filter Bubble: What the Internet Is Hiding from You, Penguin Press (New York, May 2011)
Article: Credibility in Web SEarch Engines by Dirk Lewandowski
Dirk Lewandowski has done extensive research on how people use search engines and on the workings behind search engines. He uses his findings to discuss and critique current search engine practices. One of his arguments is that we need an Independent Index of the Web. This argument is partly discussed in the following article on credibility in web search engines:
Lewandowski, Dirk: Credibility in Web Search Engines. In: Apostel, Shawn; Folk, Moe: Online Credibility and Digital Ethos: Evaluating Computer-Mediated Communication. Hershey, PA: IGI Global, 2012 [in press]. Available at: http://www.bui.haw-hamburg.de/fileadmin/user_upload/lewandowski/doc/Credibility_in_Web_Search_Engines_Lewandowski.pdf
Article: Personal Web Searching in the Age of Semantic Capitalism: Diagnosing the Mechanisms of Personalisation
Does the practice of personalization affect the quality of the results returned to us by search engines? Martin Feuz, Matthew Fuller and Felix Stalder have analyzed the mechanisms of personalization in the case of Google web search to assess the current reality of the personalization of search results. Their findings suggest that personalization is not as beneficial to users as it promises to be.
M. Feuz, M. Fuller and F. Stalder (2011). “Personal Web Searching in the Age of Semantic Capitalism: Diagnosing the Mechanisms of Personalisation,” First Monday, 16(2). Available at: http://firstmonday.org/ojs/index.php/fm/article/viewArticle/3344
Martin Feuz was also present at the first SotQ conference. For a report of this presentation, see: https://networkcultures.org/query/2009/11/17/martin-feuz-ch-google-personal-search-%E2%80%93-what-are-we-to-make-of-it/