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«Andrés Gregor Zelman The University of Amsterdam 2002 ii Mediated Communication and the Evolving Science System: Mapping the Network Architecture of ...»

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6 The citation filter module performs a similar role to the filter component of the BibExcel program used in Chapter VI: Analysis of Journal Publication. See: http://www.umu.se/inforsk/Bibexcel/ 145 TAT is designed with the rapid expansion of digital information in mind, and is conceptualized to be capable of performing wide-area textual analysis on a variety of different datasets. Its programs are combined to retrieve occurrences of a word, word patterns, and word combinations, and to display the results in an understandable and meaningful way. The TAT is comprised of several sub-modules including a wordlist module, keyword module, and a concordance module. These tasks are easily described as performing the same basic analysis as performed in the two aforementioned chapters. Using the output of the text filter module of the Data Filtering Tool (DFT), the wordlist module reduces text files to mere wordlists and organizes the words by frequency and by alphanumeric rank permitting the analyst to contain the architectural elements of the dataset under analysis. The keyword module enables the comparison of texts to identify networks of keywords, and the concordance module serves to locate the neighbourhood collocates of query words; both aid network analyses. Once analyses have been performed using the TAT, the results can be automatically updated using in the central interface of the program: the Visual Mapping Tool (VMT) – this permits the generation and comparison of visual displays to understand word distribution.

The Citation Analysis Tool (CAT) consists of a bibexcel module7 and a link module.

The bibexcel module would be designed to carry out essentially the same analysis performed upon the SOEIS citation environment. Using the output of the citation filter module of the Data Filtering Tool (DFT), the bibexcel module assists the analysis of bibliographic data by performing combinatory searches over the datasets to generate a range of results concerning the architectural distribution of coauthorships, journal citation patterns, and title words.8 By extension, it is anticipated that similar networks of citation behaviour can be harvested online by examining the hyper-linking between relevant websites. Relevant here is the potential to locate networks of academics, research institutes, or shared research foci. There are currently two existing tools which can be used to locate networks of related internet sites; they are the Net-Locator software and the Issue Atlas Software, the latter being a more refined version of former.9 Accordingly, the link module would be designed to locate the inter-linked relationships between relevant websites (selected via the site ripper module of the WHT). These link typologies could then be compared with traditional citation networks (as found using the bibexcel module), or the textual content of the sites themselves could be downloaded using the site ripper module of the WHT to be compared using the TAT.

Designed in this way, the Media Analysis Toolbox (MAT) is able to incorporate a variety of important features. As identified, there is an increasing need to expand the capacities of current metric programs to provide more possible avenues of research.

The modularized design parameters of the MAT permit the filtering, integration, and analysis of a myriad of accessible datasets from websites, indexes, and archives. In light of the Architecture – Network – System theoretic triad, the research tools 7 The module is also inspired by the BibExcel program used for the Journal Publication Analysis, above, and carries the same name; Bibexcel (literally: Bibmap before Excel) was developed by Professor Olle Persson, from Inforsk, Umeå University, Sweden.

8 The title words could then be analyzed for significance in the TAT.

9 The two programs were developed by the Govcom.Org foundation.

146 modularize a range of different tasks; many of these methodological tasks were manually carried out in course of the analysis described in this dissertation. The combination of tools in the MAT would make similar research into the future far more do-able.

In short, the MAT would enable the researcher to record one’s work (i.e.: the processes and decisions made), as well as publish and thereby share one’s work. By contrast with the programs used in the analysis and later referred to here (BibExcel, WordSmith, and IssueAtlas), the MAT is designed specifically to provide a much more user friendly and visual oriented user interface (via the Visual Mapping Tool) upon which to perform textual, citation, and mailing list analyses. Moreover, every aspect of the program could be modified, in principle, as the needs of the researcher change, and the modular design could be modified and extended through easily added modules. The mapping module would record the decisions of the researcher, so that the researcher could pursue different avenues of research easily, and it would save the results as a visual map through which the entire project could be viewed at a glance and then adjusted as the research matures. Importantly, the program would record not only the logic of the research and the flow of research decisions, but also the flow of data between the modules.

The design of the MAT software package serves as a useful reflection given the type of modelling employed in this study; namely, the Architecture – Network – System theoretical triad. It should be understood that the design of the MAT is provided here as an intellectual enterprise, providing another type of reflection upon the integration of the theoretical positions and empirical analyses pursued in this study. The theoretic triad employed in this study has relevance to the interpretation of results generated through the MAT. Generally speaking, the core tools of the MAT (VMT, WHT, and DFT) provide the raw data for subsequent analyses using the periphery tools (TAT, CAT, and LAT). The results generated from the analyses performed using the periphery tools can be correlated into architectural, network, and system oriented results and can be compared in this way.

Perhaps the best way to conceptualize the MAT program is as a set of building blocks (containing struts, beams, wheels and gears). Once these components are created, the analyst can line up the modules as necessitated by the particular analysis; the individual components can be recombined to ‘n’ different systems once they are working for particular analyses. The operationalized modes of theorizing isolated by the selection of metric techniques from bibliometrics, scientometrics and cybermetrics, in combination with the theoretic triad developed herein has permitted the combination of deep theorizing with empirical analyses. Indeed, among the most challenging aspects of this study was the integration of different theories (both modelling and symbolic) with metric analyses using a range of different software packages (as well as the manual collection and manipulation of data where programs did not exist). The MAT program design helps to integrate these different features into an overall program that is both theoretically informed and empirically viable, thereby bypassing many of the limitations identified in this dissertation. There are no easy solutions to the problematic of adequately addressing and sorting the complexity of media impact and overlap. Clearly, as the Internet grows the demand for this type of research and this class of academic software program will become more salient.

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