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Performance Issues in Digital Information Systems | Electronic journals user survey | Interactive Features of Online Newspapers | Computational anthropology | Information ecologies explained
The January 2000 issue (Volume 1, issue 5) of the Journal of Digital Information has for it's theme: "Performance Issues in Digital Information Systems". This special issue takes as it's starting point the premise that "research on digital information systems has had little to say about efficiency... most research has focused on improving accuracy and functionality rather than performance".
The papers published go in some way towards addressing the reasons for this imbalance. You are required to register (free) to view the journal online.
The Journal of Digital Information publishes papers on the management, presentation and uses of information in digital environments. Access to peer-reviewed papers is currently free but requires registration which ensures delivery of alerts announcing new issues of the journal.
The January 1999 issue includes an article: "Café Jus: an Electronic Journals User Survey", a user study carried out within Loughborough University, UK. The main conclusions were that:
- low-level technical problems are still a deterrent to the use of electronic journals;
- people prefer not to read at length on screen, but printing out is often slow;
- commercial publishers tend to follow the lead of technology rather than consider the convenience of their users;
- at present there is a significant need for user training, exacerbated by the variety of publishers' interfaces and their speed of change;
- free journals using HTML are preferred to commercial journals using PDF for convenience of reading, but they are likely to be regarded as of lower academic quality.
The implications of these results for publishers and for the future of electronic journals are discussed.
The January 2000 issue of First Monday includes: "Interactive Features of Online Newspapers", which asks the question, whether or not financing (profit vs. non-profit), type (pure web-based vs. printed versions) and origin (US vs. international) of online newspapers affect the degree of interactivity at the sites.
The American Anthropological Association has a section dedicated to Computational Anthropology which is concerned with writing and running computer programs which help in representing and understand human cultural and biological processes. This enables investigation of the relationship between culture and biology, the individual and the group (or population), the social and physical environments, and the natural and artificial worlds (artifactual and technological) .
It encompasses cognition, learning, development, selection, and cultural and genetic transmission. Through consideration of the complex adaptive interplay between ideas, cognitions, language, physiology, biology, behaviour, artifacts and nature; it is equally applicable to all the fields of archaeological, physical, biological, social, linguistic, and cultural anthropology.
The group's founder Nick Gessler also runs a site entitled: "Artificial Culture: Experiments in Synthetic Anthropology" which lists a number of related resources amongst which is a section on Computationally Mediated Communities featuring links to sites such as the Electric Communities site and the UCLA Center for the Study of Online Community. The UCLA centre studies how computers and networks alter people's capacity to form groups, organizations, institutions, and how those social formations are able to serve the collective interests of their members. For related information on this site see the topics pages index.
URL: American Anthropological Association http://www.sscnet.ucla.edu/anthro/cas-aaa.html
URL: Nick Gessler mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org
URL: "Artificial Culture: Experiments in Synthetic Anthropology" http://www.sscnet.ucla.edu/anthro/gessler
URL: Electric Communities http://www.communities.com/
URL: UCLA Center for the Study of Online Community http://www.sscnet.ucla.edu/soc/csoc/cinc/
Biota.org, the digital biology project, is pioneering lifelike paradigms for cyberspace.
The May 1999 issue of First Monday is a special issue with excerpts from the publication: "Information Ecologies: Using Technology with Heart", which explores the concept of an information ecology - "a system of people, practices, technologies, and values in a local environment. Like their biological counterparts, information ecologies are diverse, continually evolving, and complex".
URL: First Monday, May 1999 http://firstmonday.org/issues/issue4_5/
URL: journal sign-up http://firstmonday.org/join.html
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