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Copyright © 1998, MCB UP Limited
Research and reviews
As I edit this section of our journal, it becomes clearer to me how little we actually know about Internet use and how much we assume about the benefits that will derive from these technologies as they confront us in the workplace and in our social and political lives. We assume so much. Many of our assumptions are based on the near-mythic status afforded to the information democracy narrative which has seduced us through the 1990s into believing that "good democracy" is about "good information", that availability equals accessibility and that when information flows freely, knowledge and insight float to the surface and are picked up and used by eager citizens. The emergence of high speed data communications networks has fanned the flame of this rhetoric opening the Pandora's box of research questions which must be resolved as we set the social, information, communication, cultural, policy and technical agendas for ongoing development of the Internet.
We need good research, like the two excellent reports appearing for research in progress in this issue. The first project is being conducted at the University of Canberra in Australia. Geiselhardt presents an ethnographic case study which looks at interactive technologies, globalisation and democratic values. The researcher presents some preliminary findings in her report. The second project reported in this issue of Internet Research comes from the University of Tampere in Finland. Lintilä's research follows the line of other researchers who have attempted to ascertain whether the use of electronic networks is different in different contexts. The researcher extends this common approach to the impact of the Internet by also examining how this use might, in fact, change the context. Plausible changes that electronic networks might cause in the context feature are presented in this report.
Once again, for those researchers who might be thinking about contributing a work in progress report to the Research and Reviews section of this journal, please do not hesitate to contact the editor by e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org or fax: 61 2 9514 2723. All contributors to this section of the journal welcome correspondence from fellow researchers.