Computer and Internet Use at Home

The latest report from the National Telecommunications and Information Administration, Exploring the Digital Nation: Computer and Internet Use at Home, has just been released (here). Previous reports going back to 1995 can also be accessed from the site, including the historical data files from which the reports are built.

The Department of Commerce’s Economics and Statistics Administration (ESA) and National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) released a report, “Exploring the Digital Nation,” that analyzes broadband Internet adoption in the United States. Overall, approximately seven out of ten households in the United States subscribe to broadband service. The report finds a strong correlation between broadband adoption and socio-economic factors, such as income and education, but says these differences do not explain the entire broadband adoption gap that exists along racial, ethnic, and geographic lines. Even after accounting for socio-economic differences, certain minority and rural households still lag in broadband adoption.

The report analyzes data collected through an Internet Use supplement to the Current Population Survey (CPS) of about 54,300 households conducted by the U.S. Census Bureau in October 2010. Earlier this year, NTIA released initial findings from the survey, showing that while virtually all demographic groups have increased adoption of broadband Internet at home since the prior year, historic disparities among demographic groups remain. This report presents broadband adoption statistics after adjusting for various socio-economic differences.

Internet as Public Commons

The current issue of Daedalus (Volume 140, Issue 4, Fall 2011) is titled: Protecting the Internet as a Public Commons. Explains editor David D. Clark, “This issue is concerned with the experience of using the Internet: how its character shapes the user experience and how our collective online participation raises larger societal and political questions.”


What are the Consequences of Being Disconnected in a Broadband-Connected World?

A Contextual Approach to Privacy Online

Online Trust, Trustworthiness, or Assurance?

Safety in Cyberspace

Doctrine for Cybersecurity

Reconceptualizing the Role of Security User

Resisting Political Fragmentation on the Internet

Who Speaks? Citizen Political Voice on the Internet Commons

Prosocial Behavior on the Net

WikiLeaks and the Protect-ip Act: A New Public-Private Threat to the Internet Commons

The issue is available from Penn Library e-resources

Digital Methods Initiative

Folks interested in research methods for studying the Internet can check out The Digital Methods Initiative, an Amsterdam-based group of new media scholars who have been developing tools and techniques for this increasingly massive undertaking since 1999.

The Digital Methods Initiative is directed by Richard Rogers (who paid the Annenberg School an extended visit last year).

The website is a hub of many of “the tools and scripts that we use to study the web in particular,” as explained in the site’s About section. Such tools and methods

“have been made to extend the research into the blogosphere, online newssphere, discussion lists and forums, folksonomies as well as search engine behavior. These tools include scripts to scrape web, blog, news, image and social bookmarking search engines, as well as simple analytical machines that output data sets as well as graphical visualizations….For example, how to study Internet censorship (by using proxies)? How to study information inclusion and exclusion (by interrogating robot.txt exclusion policies)? How to study surfer pathways (using measures of ‘related sites’)? How to study site reputation (by hyperlink analysis)? How to study a site’s search engine placement over time (by storing and querying within engine results)?Additionally the Digital Methods Initiative provides views on the value of visualization. How to output the results of the analyses (in ranked lists, in cluster graphs, in line graphs, in clouds, on maps)? Which visualizations communicate findings? Which visualizations embed critical ways of seeing?”

You can also add their blog to your reading stream for updates on research, lecture slides, and course announcements.


ASC Library Mobile


Good news for all comm junkies on the go…the Annenberg Library now has its own mobile access page.
Using this site you can check our hours, search Franklin and VCat, use the handy Penn Text article finder, or access Blackboard and RefWorks much more easily from your mobile devices. Just bookmark the site from the link on the Annenberg Library homepage. In addition, there’s a mobile friendly app for EBSCOhosts databases which now not only includes Communication & Mass Media Complete, but also Communication Abstracts. Other mobile friendly databases to search on the train or a park bench are Lexis-Nexis Academic, Scopus, and for health communication folks, Medline Plus. The list of mobile friendly databases will no doubt be growing and I’ll try to keep up with good ones to add. Notice too, that your favorite library blog, Commpilings, does not go unrepresented on the page, so no excuse for not being up on the latest (5) posts!

Internet and Social Media Reliability Resources

Searcher Magazine often provides link lists to their articles that reference resources. Last month they did a piece on the quality of information on the web. You can read the article online via EBSCO Megafile which carries Searcher. In the meantime, here’s the article’s list of links, including (under Rumor Checkers) our own, at the top of the list of course.

Searcher, Magazine for Database Professionals Vol. 19, No. 5 • June 2011


Mobile Media Across Europe

The Internet Advertising Bureau Europe has released a white paper on mobile penetration in Europe. From the Introduction and Methodology of Mobile Media: An IAB Europe White Paper:

Mobile internet advertising spend during 2010 – when advertising revenues generally fell – was worth €710 million, more than double its 2009 total of €279 million. This report, covering 19 European countries, presents detailed research findings behind these figures. It springs from IAB Europe’s mission to prove the value of the market through research and education.

This report is based on a variety of sources that are the most legitimate to use in each local market and bring the potential, audience and usage of the mobile internet. The objective of this report is to provide local marketers with the most accurate mobile data on each European market. In countries where several sources are available, we chose the most recognised one from the local players. We used one source in countries where there is no other data available.

Adam Gopnik on New Books About the Internet

Feature-writer Adam Gopnik proffers an insightful roundup of recent book chatter about the Internet in the February 14 issue of The New Yorker. The piece, How the Internet Gets Inside Us, Gopnik corals the current book-buzz of Internet fretters and speculators into three categories:

“…the Never-Betters, the Better-Nevers, and the Ever-Wasers. The Never-Betters believe that we’re on the brink of a new utopia, where information will be free and democratic, news will be made from the bottom up, love will reign, and cookies will bake themselves. The Better-Nevers think that we would have been better off if the whole thing had never happened, that the world that is coming to an end is superior to the one that is taking its place, and that, at a minimum, books and magazines create private space for minds in ways that twenty-second bursts of information don’t. The Ever-Wasers insist that at any moment in modernity something like this is going on, and that a new way of organizing data and connecting users is always thrilling to some and chilling to others—that something like this is going on is exactly what makes it a modern moment.”

Books mentioned, grouped in the above categories respectively, are:

Cognitive Surplus, by Clay Shirky
Is the Internet Changing the Way You Think?, edited by John Brockman
The Book in the Renaissance, by Andrew Pettegree
The Sixth Language, edited by Robert K. Logan
The Shallows, by Nicholas Carr
Hamlet’s BlackBerry, by William Powers
Alone Together, by Sherry Turkle

Too Much to Know: Managing Scholarly Information Before the Modern Age, by Ann Blair


Pew Report on Generational Differences in Online Activity

Just released, Generations Online in 2009, from Pew Intenet & American Life Project. This report tracks internet use across generations.

From the Report’s Overview:

“…the biggest online trend is that, while the very youngest and oldest cohorts may differ, certain keyinternet uses are becoming more uniformly popular across all age groups. These online activities include seeking health information, purchasing products, making travel reservations, and downloadingpodcasts.Even in areas that are still dominated by Millennials, older generations are making notable gains. While the youngest generations are still significantly more likely to use social network sites, the fastest growth has come from internet users 74 and older: social network site usage for this oldest cohort has quadrupled since 2008, from 4% to 16%.

The primary adult data in this report is based on the findings of a daily tracking survey on Americans’ use of the Internet. The results in this report are based on data from telephone interviews conducted by Princeton Survey Research Associates International between April 29 and May 30, 2010, among a sample of 2,252 adults ages 18 and older, including 744 reached on a cell phone. Interviews were conducted in English.”

ComScore Data Mine

comScore, a leading source of digital market intelligence and most preferred measurement service, has the goods when it comes to internet usage trends. But like Nielsen, comScore data is proprietary. Both release valuable “crumbs” to the public—more general less client-centered data in the form of reports and posts. The place to find such data for comScore is their Data Mine site that boasts “colorful, bite-sized graphical representations of the best discoveries we unearth from our data.”

Recent and/or popular topics include: Smartphone Penetration by Age, Visitor Demographics to, Top 10 Global Markets, Share of Global Internet Audience by Region, Top 10 Ad Networks in U.S., and Orkut, Facebook and Twitter Growth in Brazil. These aren’t really articles or reports but rather abstract length summations that usually include graph and pie chart data, just the sort of info you can’t find when you need it. Notice these releases aren’t limited to the US market.

The site is divided into these categories so far: Advertising, Africa/Middle East, Asia/Pacific, Banking/Finance, Coupon, E-Commerce, Engagement, Europe, Latin America, Mobile, North America, Online Video, Search, Social Networking, and U.S.

You can sign up for email updates or RSS feeds. Or just bookmark the site for future consult.

Digital Future Report

The Center for the Digital Future at USC’s Annenberg School has just released the ninth report of it’s Surveying the Digital Future, The Digital Future Project 2010, “nine years of longitudinal research compris[ing] an absolutely unique data base that completely captures broadband at home, the wireless Internet, on-line media, user-generated content and social networking. As usual, the report continues to track off-line media use, purchasing both off-line and through e-commerce, social and political activity and a wealth of other data.”

You can access summary data at the site or avail yourself of the whole 203- page report in the ASC Library. Among the study’s findings:

* Americans on the Internet — For the first time, the Internet is used by more than 80 percent of Americans — now 82 percent.
* Weekly hours online — The average time online has now reached 19 hours per week. Although more than two-thirds of Americans have gone online for a decade, the largest year-to-year increases in weekly online use have been reported in the two most recent Digital Future studies.
* Gaps in Internet use in age groups — Not surprisingly, Internet use continues to increase as age decreases, with 100 percent of those under age 24 going online. However, a surprisingly high percentage of Americans between 36 and 55 are not Internet users: among respondents age 46 to 55, 19 percent are non-users; among those 36 to 45, 15 percent are non-users.
* Low adoption of new media — Although new media is used by large percentages of Internet users age 24 and under, overall large percentages of Internet users never go online to do instant messaging (50 percent), work on a blog (79 percent), participate in chat rooms (80 percent), or make or receive phone calls (85 percent).
* Does technology make the world a better place — The percentage of users age 16 and older who said that communication technology makes the world a better place has declined to 56 percent of users from its peak of 66 percent in 2002.
* Internet and Political Campaigns — although more than 70 percent of users agree that the Internet is important for political campaigns, only 27 percent of users said that by using the Internet public officials will care more about what people think, and 29 percent said that the Internet can give people more of a say in what government does.
* Buying online — 65 percent of adult Internet users buy online (the same as in 2008), and make an average of 35.2 purchases per year (up from 34.1 per year in 2008).
* Internet impact on traditional retail declines — 61 percent of Internet users said that online purchasing has reduced their buying in traditional retail stores — down from 69 percent in 2008.
* Top 10 online purchases — 59 percent of Internet users said they purchase books or clothes online, followed by gifts (55 percent), travel (53 percent), electronics/appliances (47 percent), videos (46 percent), computers or peripherals (41 percent), software or games (40 percent), CDs (40 percent), and products for hobbies (38 percent).