I did some e-journal surfing and found a couple of useful papers today. Results – with abstracts and links – are below. These articles are in subscription-only journals, so they’re easiest to get if your library subscribes.

If your library has a subscription to Japanese Psychology Research, you might be interested in an early article on “Keeping a Diary in Cyberspace”, by Yasuyuki Kawaura, Yoshiro Kawakami and Iyomi Yamashita. It’s one of those surveys that uses 387 or so examples to construct a four point genre typology, which isn’t really my favourite kind of paper, but I’m happy to have found an article discussing Japanese web diaries. I think you’ll be able to read the abstract even without a subscription. I downloaded the PDF, but have only skimmed it and stored it in my “read when writing about blogs” folder.

The ethics of studying weblogs is interesting to me, and this article gets right at it:

Michele White: “Representations or people?” Ethics and Information Technology 4 (3): 249-266, 2002

AbstractMost guidelines and proposals for Internet research ethics are based on regulations for human subjects research. In the related research, Internet material is viewed as animate and described as people. Humanities researchers have rarely been a part of the debate about Internet research ethics and the practices of these scholars have not been taken into consideration when drafting most of the guidelines. This threatens to limit the kinds of Internet research that can be performed ‚Äì critical strategies are particularly discouraged ‚Äì and the ways that researchers and other users understand the Internet. Researchers who use human subjects models have not fully acknowledged computer mediation, the constructed aspects of Internet representations, and the screen. If we view Internet material as cultural production then the models for Internet research would be Art History and Visual Culture, English and Literary Studies, Film and Media Studies, Music and Sound Studies, and Theatre and Performance Studies. A more complete integration of these approaches into Internet Studies ‚Äì either as a sole investigatory strategy or in tandem with other forms of inquiry ‚Äì would change researchers’ ethical questions. It would also show instances in which human subjects guidelines do not apply to complex Internet material. It is imperative to demonstrate that Internet material is not people because this conception makes highly constructed words and images seem natural and stereotyped representations appear to be real.

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