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Research and reviews
In this issue of Internet Research, the Research and reviews section offers research in progress reports from the University of Maryland, the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and the University of Illinois at Chicago.
The proposition that the Internet is an information technology is widely accepted. As such, the benefits of access to the Internet are easily argued. The status of information in modern societies is apparent in the rhetoric of information economy, information society and the knowledge age. People need information. But they also need affiliation and affirmation. This comes in the form of discursive information environments like listservs, electronic discussion groups and online conferences which help to characterise the Internet as a communication technology. Hence, Internet researchers are interested in communication behaviour as well as information behaviour on the Internet. Marilyn Domas White from the University of Maryland combines both. Her research is examining the communication behaviour of participants on consumer-oriented, health-related electronic discussion groups. The researcher aims to place this behaviour into the overall context of behaviours that relate to information gathering about diseases or medical conditions.
The research being conducted by Yin Zang at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign focuses our attention on the way scholarship is being transformed by the Internet. Certainly, over a period of time, the Internet has been promoted as the new publishing paradigm offering new and improved media for the transactions of scholarship, the creation of new knowledge and the archiving of disciplinary knowledgebases. Yin Zang takes one aspect of this in an attempt to evaluate the impact of e-sources on formal scholarly communication in the area of library and information (LIS) since 1990. This research will also interpret and identify the factors that play roles in the current practice of scholarly use of e-sources.
In a way, the research being conducted by John Walsh from the University of Illinois at Chicago incorporates both themes (communication and scholarship). This research is looking at how communication activity varies across a number of scientific disciplines and, in particular, how the Internet has been incorporated into the work of scientists. The researcher is examining four hypotheses founded in the literature that propose a relationship between computer mediated communication and scientific work in the fields of experimental biology, mathematics, physics, sociology.
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 don't 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.