Emerald Group Publishing Limited
Copyright © 1998, MCB UP Limited
I write these words on the eve of my return from the 1998 International Workshop on Innovative Internet Information Systems (IIIS'98) in Pisa. This two-day meeting focused on a number of fascinating aspects of bringing techniques, methodologies, and user-interaction characteristics from the world of information systems to the Internet.
One of the key messages that came out of the discussions was the similar yet different nature of developing information systems for the Internet and how the sheer scale of the Internet has created methodological and system-related challenges. Challenges that go far beyond the basic technology issues that are commonly being dealt with today. But more on that in a forthcoming special issue, where we will present selected, revised papers from the workshop.
This issue of Internet Research is a strong example of the interdisciplinary nature of our field. We have before us a broad representation of the research efforts being advanced around the world. Works are based in sociology, marketing analysis, cognitive science, information theory, and organizational science, all of which revolve around the unifying force that is the Internet.
Each article should really be read twice once on its own merits, and a second time to see how it relates to the other articles. Take, for example, the article by Mols on the effects of the Internet on the banking industry, and Ratnasingam's study on the importance of trust in electronic commerce. Each an important contribution on its own, yet there is even more to be learned from how they complement each other.
On the social research side we have Kingsley and Anderson in an innovative study on the effects of losing Internet access. For those of us who live and breathe Internet in our research, corporate, and personal lives, it may be counterintuitive to consider that there is a significant set of people out there who have stopped using the Internet. This study examines the phenomenon and provides some fascinating insights. The paper by Christensen and Bailey brings us a fresh perspective on a topic that has been the subject of past discussion in the journal how the Internet rates with respect to other, better established sources of information. Their use of task performance analysis in a detailed empirical study will undoubtedly serve as a good point of reference for future research in this area. Here too, the way each of these two papers can undoubtedly influence each other is what makes our work such an interesting endeavor.
Jones and Vijayasarathy combine their marketing and MIS perspectives to present an analysis of consumer behavior comparing the use of print catalogs to Internet-based catalogs. On a more theoretical bent, Maule's work examines the cognitive frameworks that are becoming necessary tools in understanding Internet activity.
But before you delve into the articles at hand, a few words about Internet Research, past, present, and future. Since 1991, the journal has published leading scholarly articles on Internet policy, applications, and technology. For the past two years, John Peters has done an outstanding job as editor, and consistently put together interesting, thought-provoking issues. On behalf of our subscribers, contributors, and the members of the Editorial Advisory Board, I'd like to thank John Peters for doing an outstanding job and building a top notch journal of international standing.
I feel privileged to edit a journal with such a fine history and with such a promising future. To our readers, I want to reiterate our promise to bring to you relevant, timely, well-researched, and extensively refereed articles. The types of papers that will make you think twice about your organization's use of the Internet. Papers that make you take notice of the emerging technologies, applications, and practices that will influence the way the Internet effects social norms, corporate structures, political processes, and personal lives. My goal as editor is to make Internet Research the leading international publication for scholarly work on the technologies, uses, and effects of the Internet but I can only do it with your help. As incoming editor of the journal, I invite you to send me your comments, criticisms, and ideas, as well as your outstanding submissions.