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Journal of Computer-Mediated Communication Special Issue on



Guest Editor:
Eszter Hargittai
Northwestern University


Abstracts (optional, but preferred) due: June 1, 2005
Full papers due: Oct 1, 2005
Anticipated publication: Summer or Fall 2006


Search engines are some of the most commonly accessed Web sites online.
Millions of people turn to search engines daily to find information about
news, health concerns, products, government services, their new neighbors,
natural disasters and a myriad of other topics. At the same time, recent
trends suggest that the search engine market is shrinking, with fewer
large players guiding users' online behavior than ever before. Despite the
crucial role that search engines play in how people access information,
little attention has been paid to the social, political, economic, and
cultural dimensions of large-scale search engines.

This special issue will explore the social implications of large-scale
search engines on the Web. It will bring together experts from the fields
of communication, sociology, political science, economics, business, law,
and computer and information sciences to consider what we know about
people's search engine uses and what recent trends suggest for the types
of content that will be most accessible to users in the future.

The following are some questions papers might address: Who uses search
engines and for what purposes? What are the effects of search engine use
on mass- and interpersonal communication? How do users' communication
practices influence search engine functionality? How skilled are various
population groups at the use of search engines? How do search engines
shape identity management and representation online? Are all search
engines created equal? Is all content created equal in the eyes of search
engines? Is there a viable public alternative to the search engine market
dominated by private actors? These are just some of the possible questions
papers in this special issue may address.


Potential authors should submit a preliminary proposal of 500 words by
June 1, 2005 to the issue editor Eszter Hargittai
([log in to unmask]). Those interested in submitting an abstract
are encouraged to contact the special issue editor with questions and
ideas. The proposal should include the central research question, the
theoretical and/or empirical basis for the paper and preliminary findings.

Authors whose proposals are accepted for inclusion will be invited to
submit a full paper of roughly 7,000-10,000 words by October 1, 2005.
Since JCMC is an interdisciplinary journal, authors should plan for papers
that will be accessible to non-specialists, and should make their paper
relevant to this audience. Anticipated publication date for the issue is
Summer or Fall 2006.

Final submissions should be emailed to the special issue editor, Eszter
Hargittai at [log in to unmask]

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