The Social, Political, Economic, and Cultural Dimensions of Search Engines

27 January 2008 at 22:26 Leave a comment

The April 2007 edition of the Journal of Computer-Mediated Communication ran a special theme on the Social, Political, Economic, and Cultural Dimensions of Search Engines.

Despite search engines’ central role in how people access information, little social science study has focused on the non-technical dimensions, the search companies or users’ the practices.

As the search industry has consolidated, decisions made by just a few players can have considerable repercussions for what material is realistically within the reach of users. So it is important to look at what factors determine inclusion and exclusion criteria in search results and how users approach them; so as to gain a better understanding of how users’ access to content is being mediated by a handful of commercial services.The first two articles examine people’s search engine uses at the level of responding to results pages.

  • Heuristic and Systematic Use of Search Engines
  • In Google We Trust: Users’ Decisions on Rank, Position, and Relevance

The next cluster of articles considers the larger social context of searching.

  • Searching for Culture—High and Low
  • Learning to Search and Searching to Learn: Income, Education, and Experience Online

The last three articles focus on material covered by search engines, including a look at what decisions influence the content and presentation on these services, a comparison of search engines in different countries, and the possible manipulation of one such tool.

  • Is Relevance Relevant? Market, Science, and War: Discourses of Search Engine Quality
  • Equal Representation by Search Engines? A Comparison of Websites across Countries and Domains
  • Google Bombing from a Time Perspective

Entry filed under: search. Tags: , .

Act on CO2 campaign Progressive disclosure of search options

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