Wednesday, 27 April 2011

(re) configuring the web user in the digital economy

Tinati, R., Pope, C., Halford, S. and Carr, L. (2010) (re) configuring the web user in the digital economy. In: Digital Futures 2010: Digital Economy All Hands Meeting, 11-12 October 2010, Nottingham, UK.

The role of ‘the user’ is critical to the development of Web Science, a discipline that seeks to promote a multi-disciplinary understanding of the Web with regards to its evolution and its future. In this paper, we address the formulation of ‘the user’ has in computer science and social science. Our aim is to explore how we might bring these different perspectives closer together to enhance our understanding of users, and hence to improve our ability to innovate new kinds of Web environment and, ultimately, a Web-enhanced society. At one level we can see the Web as simply a computer system ‘writ large’ such that an improved understanding of the user would be beneficial to technologists and sociologists alike. However, we suggest that the scale, scope and impact of the Web mean that we need to consider a new approach to understanding its users and usage.

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