[Air-L] "Definitive" citation for the concept of digital trace data?

Kevin G Crowston crowston at syr.edu
Mon Oct 5 08:17:12 PDT 2015

An argument for studies of online behaviour is that the systems collect records of what people do and that such digital trace data provide a rich source of evidence for all kinds of studies. I’m trying to trace back that idea but it seems so taken for granted that there’s often not a citation. So I wondered what people consider the definitive citation for that idea, and for the term "trace data” in this context more specifically. 

For example, there’s a 2008 handbook article:

Welser, H. T., Smith, M., Fisher, D., and Gleave, E. 2008. "Distilling Digital Traces: Computational Social Science Approaches to Studying the Internet," in The Sage Handbook of Online Research Methods, N. Fielding, R.M. Lee and G. Blank (eds.). London, England: SAGE Publications, Ltd, pp. 116–141.

But I suspect there are even earlier sources.

Kevin Crowston | Distinguished Professor of Information Science | School of Information Studies

Syracuse University  
348 Hinds Hall
Syracuse, New York 13244
t (315) 443.1676 f 315.443.5806 e crowston at syr.edu  


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