[Air-l] Re: new media and shock

Elizabeth Van Couvering e.j.van-couvering at lse.ac.uk
Mon Jul 11 06:30:23 PDT 2005

Hi Stefania,

I am already impressed - 200 websites is a phenomenal amount of  
content.. We have also been struggling with this problem in our  
research community and would be interested to know what you turn up.   
So far, the difficult issues we have discussed have been:

1) freezing/archiving the state of the websites; or more generally  
how one deals with change.  this can range from a very difficult  
problem if the website you are using is database-driven and/or  
constantly updated (like a news website) or it can be more simply a  
problem of how you download and reference what exists.  Participants  
on this list have raised questions about IPR (ie the legality of  
copying), but I think the argument has been forcefully made that this  
can be considered fair use.  If, on the other hand, your website  
contains the archived postings of members of the public and you want  
to analyse their content, you are getting into a whole different  
ethical kettle of fish.

2) documenting the structure of the website (ie its links) as a part  
of its content.  How should this be done? Then in terms of analysis,   
understanding the place of each web page relative to the whole site.   
for example, in most sites the home page gets by far the lion's share  
of the hits.  Is it therefore appropriate to analyse the homepage in  
depth and subsidiary pages in less depth?  I guess only your  
theoretical framework can tell ;-)

3) understanding the visual design of the website with reference to  
its content.

4) understanding the place of the website with regard to the rest of  
the web, ie with link analysis or search term analysis...

I think if you just wanted to scrape text from each page and then run  
it through, say, Atlas.ti to generate word lists or do a more  
traditional content analysis such as is applied to media texts, then  
that could be done.  But I do think some of these other issues might  
arise anyway.


On 11 Jul 2005, at 13:03, <s.vicari at reading.ac.uk>  
<s.vicari at reading.ac.uk> wrote:

> Hi,
> I am working on protest group online communication (thanks to the  
> endless
> list of suggestions on this mailing list, I started using HTtrack!)  
> and I am
> content analysing some 200 websites.
> So far, I have found quite a fragmented literature on content  
> analysis of
> the Web. Would you flag out any specific work?
> Thanks!
> stefania
> Stefania Vicari
> PhD student in Sociology
> University of Reading
> PO Box 218,
> Reading, RG6 6AA,
> United Kingdom.
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Elizabeth Van Couvering
PhD Student
Department of Media & Communications
London School of Economics and Political Science
e.j.van-couvering at lse.ac.uk

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