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Online collective action and policy change: shifting contentious politics in policy processes

Internet mediated communication facilitates new forms of involvement in policy making processes for social movements, but also generates contentious politics as such. This is the central issue explored in this article by Andrea Calderaro, Guest Editor (with Anastasia Kavada from the University of Westminster) of the Special issue on “Online Collective action and Policy Change”, and researcher at the European University Institute / Robert Schuman Centre for Advanced Studies.

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Online collective action and policy change: new special issue from Policy and Internet

Digital communication technologies are altering the interface between policy makers and social movements. Anastasia Kavada, Senior Lecturer at the University of Westminster, and Guest Editor (with Andrea Calderaro from the European University Institute) of the Special issue on “Online Collective action and Policy Change”, provides an introduction to the papers published in this issue, noting that the internet constitutes both a tool and an object of activism and policymaking.

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Did Libyan crisis mapping create usable military intelligence?

Policy and Internet author Steve Stottlemyre discusses how users of online social networks took the initiative in collecting and processing data for use in the rebellion against the Qadhafi regime during the Libyan civil war of February-October 2011. He describes how some of the information crowd-sourced by crisis mappers – whether they knew it or not – met the minimum requirements to be considered tactical military intelligence, in accordance with U.S. joint military intelligence doctrine.

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Experiments are the most exciting thing on the UK public policy horizon

OII Professor Helen Margetts discusses how the massive growth in Internet-mediated interactions creates a need for innovative methods to research online activity. Experimental laboratories — where subjects participate in games or information-seeking tasks on networked computers — have been used by experimental economists for some time, but the great expansion in online social and commercial activity means that they have growing utility in sociology and political science.

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Preserving the digital record of major natural disasters: the CEISMIC Canterbury Earthquakes Digital Archive project

We talk to Paul Millar, project leader of the CEISMIC Canterbury Earthquakes Digital Archive project about the role of digital humanities in preserving the digital record of the impact of the earthquake that struck Canterbury, NZ, in February 2011. Huge amounts of important information are lost in the chaos following a major disaster: Paul is leading efforts to record and preserve it as a unique resource for future scholarship.

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Slicing digital data: methodological challenges in computational social science

It is easy to drown in digital data and not know what to do with it. OII Research Fellow Sandra Gonzalez-Bailon discusses some of the methodological challenges faced by social scientists when they try to make sense of the immense wealth of digital data available today. This is a talk given at the conference on new media and the social sciences, organised by the National Centre for Research Methods (29 May 2012).

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