April 07, 2010

The creative reconstruction of the Internet

One of the things we'd like to do is occasionally feature some of our academic work behind this blog. Both to review topics in more depth and also to provide folks with references to cite. :-)

The article below is focused on the role of search engines (particularly Google) in ranking and sorting the Internet; a critical "black box" of our experience on the Internet which determines what we see and what we miss. If this link doesn't work for you, email me for a copy.

Zook, M. and M. Graham. (2007). The Creative Reconstruction of the Internet. GeoForum. Vol. 38(6). 1322-1343.

Abstract: The Internet has often been portrayed as the ultimate leveler of information where existing hierarchies of power and privilege are undermined by meritocracy. Some websites and functions are, however, more equal than others. In particular, search engines such as Google have been a key means to construct meaning out of disorder. The recent incorporation of spatial elements into the Google indexing raises fresh and geographically relevant concerns. This article focuses on the construction, access and use of Google derived rankings to deploy geo-referenced information in the physical environment and the way this melding of code and place affects how people interact with place. Using the theoretical concept of DigiPlace this article analyzes how Google Maps and Google Earth are structured and shape what appears (and what does not) in cyberspace and DigiPlace.


  1. I don't think I ever viewed the internet as a great "leveler" of class and function. It is more of a wall to scribble on. It has more in common with graffiti and other non-approved forms of communication.

  2. The internet is a very important tool for information. You just need to know where to look for it.

  3. The internet will continue to evolve throughout our lives. It's a living entity, and one that has the power to define us. It's up to us to find the power and define it, rather than it defining us.

    Cool article though.



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