The purpose of this paper is to investigate concepts that are used in depicting future visions of society, as afforded by technology, to map the extent of their use, examine the level of their dominance in different research areas and geographic boundaries, identify potential overlaps, analyse their longitudinal growth, and examine whether any of the identified concepts has assumed an overarching position.
In total, 14 concepts, each of which is used to depict visions of future information infrastructures, were identified. More than 20,000 scholarly documents related to 11 of these concepts (those with 20 or more documents) are analysed by various qualitative/quantitative methods.
The concepts most referred to are semantic web and ubiquitous computing (all years), and internet of things (Year 2013). Publications on some newer concepts (e.g. digital living, real world internet) are minimal. There are variations in the extent of use and preferred concepts based on geographic and disciplinary boundaries. The overlap in the use of these terms is minimal and none of these terms has assumed an overarching umbrella position.
This study is limited to scholarly publications; it would be relevant to also study the pattern of usage in governmental communications and policy documents.
By mapping multiplicity of concepts and the dispersion of discussions, the authors highlight the need for, and facilitate, a broader discussion of related social and societal implications.
This paper is the first to present a collective of these related concepts and map the pattern of their occurrence and growth.
This research has been supported by Region Västra Götaland, and universities of Borås, and of Skövde.
Olson, N., Nolin, J.M. and Nelhans, G. (2015), "Semantic web, ubiquitous computing, or internet of things? A macro-analysis of scholarly publications", Journal of Documentation, Vol. 71 No. 5, pp. 884-916. https://doi.org/10.1108/JD-03-2013-0033
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