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    Understanding Change in Web Search.readings

    May 25th, 2023
    back to Courses: understanding change in web search
    Here are the assigned readings as listed on the initial draft of the syllabus—interspersed with some assignment details.

    M1: Attending

    Re-seeing. So what? Raising questions.

    session 1: intros

    session 2: shaping

    session 3: goals (or: search results)

    session 4: user responsibility (or: literacy & queries)

    session 5: money (or: advertising)

    session 6: voids

    session 7: harms

    M2: Infrastructures, components, & interactions

    How does it work? Understanding the mechanisms and functions.

    session 8: Handoff

    session 9: infrastructures

    session 10: quality control (or: search content moderation)

    session 11: hidden workers (or: search quality raters)

    • readings:
      • Meisner et al. (2022)
      • Google (2022) [read: 2.3 Your Money or Your Life (YMYL) Topics & 4.2 Harmful to Self or Other Individuals & 4.4 Harmfully Misleading Information; search the PDF for [health] and read those items; SKIM the rest]

    session 12:

    reactivity (or: search engine optimization (SEO))

    session 13

    • in-class:
      • workshopping Module 2 assignment
      • exploring Module 3 cases and identifying teams

    session 14: alternative search tools

    • in-class: explorations

    session 15: alternative search tools

    • in-class: explorations

    M3: Case studies in web search for health, healthcare, and medicine

    How do people use search? How search do engines shape searching? How do we use search to inform or shape interventions? Who?

    Students will break into 8 teams to lead 1/2 of a class session for the these four weeks. All readings will be identified prior to Spring Break.

    Readings selected for student-facilitated classes included:

    While students mostly did group activities or group work focused on developing their projects, I did brief presentations. Specifically assigned or examined readings for this module included:

    session 22: imagining and crafting

    • read: Ruha Benjamin “Introduction: Discriminatory Design, Liberating Imagination,” in Captivating Technology: Race, Carceral Technoscience, and Liberatory Imagination in Everyday Life, ed. Ruha Benjamin (Duke University Press, 2019), 1–14, https://doi.org/10.2307/j.ctv11sn78h (open access at https://www.dukeupress.edu/Assets/PubMaterials/978-1-4780-0381-6_601.pdf)

    “Ultimately, my hope is for you, the reader, to imagine and craft the worlds you cannot live without, just as you dismantle the ones we cannot live within.” (p. 14)

    session 23: scripts & articulations

    Presented w/ excerpts from:

    session 24: counternarratives, counter stories, counter-imaginaries

    Presented w/ excerpts from:

    session 25: interpretive flexibility

    Presented w/ reference to:

    session 26: web search and sexism

    A student requested I cover this in more depth.

    Presented w/ excerpts from:

    session 27: project time

    session 28: project time


    Akrich, M. (1992). The de-scription of technical objects. In W. E. Bijker & J. Law (Eds.), Shaping Technology/Building Society (pp. 205–224). MIT Press.

    Augustaitis, L., Merrill, L. A., Gamarel, K. E., & Haimson, O. L. (2021). Online transgender health information seeking: Facilitators, barriers, and future directions. Proceedings of the 2021 Chi Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems. https://doi.org/10.1145/3411764.3445091

    Boyle, P. (2023). Physicians learn to partner with dr. Google. Association of American Medical Colleges; AAMC News & Insights. https://www.aamc.org/news-insights/physicians-learn-partner-dr-google

    Cadwalladr, C. (2016). Google, democracy and the truth about internet search. The Guardian, 4(12). https://www.theguardian.com/technology/2016/dec/04/google-democracy-truth-internet-search-facebook

    Caulfield, M. (2019). Data voids and the google this ploy: Kalergi plan. https://hapgood.us/2019/04/12/data-voids-and-the-google-this-ploy-kalergi-plan/.

    Daly, A., & Scardamaglia, A. (2017). Profiling the australian google consumer: Implications of search engine practices for consumer law and policy. J Consum Policy, 40(3), 299–320. https://doi.org/10.1007/s10603-017-9349-9

    DiResta, R. (2018). The complexity of simply searching for medical advice. https://www.wired.com/story/the-complexity-of-simply-searching-for-medical-advice/

    Ghezzi, P., Bannister, P. G., Casino, G., Catalani, A., Goldman, M., Morley, J., Neunez, M., Prados-Bo, A., Smeesters, P. R., Taddeo, M., Vanzolini, T., & Floridi, L. (2020). Online information of vaccines: Information quality, not only privacy, is an ethical responsibility of search engines. Front. Med., 7, 637. https://doi.org/10.3389/fmed.2020.00400

    Gillespie, T. (2014). The relevance of algorithms (T. Gillespie, P. J. Boczkowski, & K. A. Foot, Eds.; pp. 167–193). The MIT Press. https://doi.org/10.7551/mitpress%2F9780262525374.003.0009

    Gillespie, T. (2017). Algorithmically recognizable: Santorum’s google problem, and google’s santorum problem. Information, Communication & Society, 20(1), 63–80. https://doi.org/10.1080/1369118X.2016.1199721

    Gillespie, T. (2018). Custodians of the internet: Platforms, content moderation, and the hidden decisions that shape social media. Yale University Press. https://yalebooks.yale.edu/book/9780300261431/custodians-of-the-internet/

    Golebiewski, M., & boyd, danah. (2018). Data voids: Where missing data can easily be exploited. Data & Society. https://datasociety.net/library/data-voids-where-missing-data-can-easily-be-exploited/

    Golebiewski, M., & boyd, danah. (2019). Data voids: Where missing data can easily be exploited. Data & Society. https://datasociety.net/library/data-voids/

    Griffin, D., & Lurie, E. (2022). Search quality complaints and imaginary repair: Control in articulations of Google Search. New Media & Society, 0(0), 14614448221136505. https://doi.org/10.1177/14614448221136505

    Haider, J., & Rödl, M. (2023). Google search and the creation of ignorance: The case of the climate crisis. Big Data &Amp; Society, 10(1), 205395172311589. https://doi.org/10.1177/20539517231158997

    Haider, J., & Sundin, O. (2019). Invisible search and online search engines: The ubiquity of search in everyday life. Routledge. https://doi.org/10.4324/9780429448546

    Hassard, E. (2020). Digital redlining of abortion access and women on web. Women on Web; https://www.womenonweb.org/en/page/20285/digital-redlining-of-abortion-access.

    Hendry, D. G., & Efthimiadis, E. N. (2008). Conceptual models for search engines. In A. Spink & M. Zimmer (Eds.), Web search: Multidisciplinary perspectives (pp. 277–307). Springer Berlin Heidelberg. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-540-75829-7_15

    Introna, L. D., & Nissenbaum, H. (2000). Shaping the web: Why the politics of search engines matters. The Information Society, 16(3), 169–185. https://doi.org/10.1080/01972240050133634

    Kreines, F. M., Farr, A., Chervenak, F. A., & Grünebaum, A. (2018). Quality of web-based family-building information for lgbtq individuals. The European Journal of Contraception &Amp; Reproductive Health Care, 23(1), 18–23. https://doi.org/10.1080/13625187.2018.1432036

    Lewandowski, D. (2019). The web is missing an essential part of infrastructure: An open web index. Commun. ACM, 62(4), 24. https://doi.org/10.1145/3312479

    Lewandowski, D., Sünkler, S., & Yagci, N. (2021). The influence of search engine optimization on google’s results: A multi-dimensional approach for detecting seo. 13th Acm Web Science Conference 2021, 12–20. https://doi.org/10.1145/3447535.3462479

    Lurie, E., & Mulligan, D. K. (2021). Searching for representation: A sociotechnical audit of googling for members of U.S. Congress. https://arxiv.org/abs/2109.07012

    Meisner, C., Duffy, B. E., & Ziewitz, M. (2022). The labor of search engine evaluation: Making algorithms more human or humans more algorithmic? New Media & Society, 0(0), 14614448211063860. https://doi.org/10.1177/14614448211063860

    Mulligan, D. K., & Griffin, D. (2018). Rescripting search to respect the right to truth. The Georgetown Law Technology Review, 2(2), 557–584. https://georgetownlawtechreview.org/rescripting-search-to-respect-the-right-to-truth/GLTR-07-2018/

    Mulligan, D. K., & Nissenbaum, H. (2020). The concept of handoff as a model for ethical analysis and design. Oxford University Press. https://doi.org/10.1093/oxfordhb/9780190067397.013.15

    Narayanan, D., & De Cremer, D. (2022). “Google told me so!” On the bent testimony of search engine algorithms. Philos. Technol., 35(2), E4512. https://doi.org/10.1007/s13347-022-00521-7

    Nissenbaum, H. (2011). From preemption to circumvention: If technology regulates, why do we need regulation (and vice versa). Berkeley Tech. LJ, 26, 1367.

    Noble, S. U. (2018). Algorithms of oppression how search engines reinforce racism. New York University Press. https://nyupress.org/9781479837243/algorithms-of-oppression/

    Pinch, T. J., & Bijker, W. E. (1984). The social construction of facts and artefacts: Or how the sociology of science and the sociology of technology might benefit each other. Social Studies of Science, 14(3), 399–441.

    Selbst, A. D., Boyd, D., Friedler, S. A., Venkatasubramanian, S., & Vertesi, J. (2019). Fairness and abstraction in sociotechnical systems. Proceedings of the Conference on Fairness, Accountability, and Transparency, 59–68. https://doi.org/10.1145/3287560.3287598

    Shah, C., & Bender, E. M. (2022, March). Situating search. ACM SIGIR Conference on Human Information Interaction and Retrieval. https://doi.org/10.1145/3498366.3505816

    Simon, F. M., & Camargo, C. Q. (2021). Autopsy of a metaphor: The origins, use and blind spots of the “infodemic”. New Media & Society, 0(0), 14614448211031908. https://doi.org/10.1177/14614448211031908

    Skrubbeltrang, M. M., Grunnet, J., & Tarp, N. T. (2017). #RIPINSTAGRAM: Examining user’s counter-narratives opposing the introduction of algorithmic personalization on instagram. First Monday, 22(4). https://doi.org/10.5210/fm.v22i4.7574

    Sundin, O. (2020). Where is search in information literacy? A theoretical note on infrastructure and community of practice. In Sustainable digital communities (pp. 373–379). Springer International Publishing. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-030-43687-2_29

    Sundin, O., Lewandowski, D., & Haider, J. (2021). Whose relevance? Web search engines as multisided relevance machines. Journal of the Association for Information Science and Technology. https://doi.org/10.1002/asi.24570

    Toepfl, F., Kravets, D., Ryzhova, A., & Beseler, A. (2022). Who are the plotters behind the pandemic? Comparing covid-19 conspiracy theories in google search results across five key target countries of russia’s foreign communication. Information, Communication & Society, 1–19. https://doi.org/10.1080/1369118x.2022.2065213

    Tripodi, F. (2018). Searching for alternative facts: Analyzing scriptural inference in conservative news practices. Data & Society. https://datasociety.net/output/searching-for-alternative-facts/

    Tripodi, F. (2021). Ms. Categorized: Gender, notability, and inequality on wikipedia. New Media & Society, 0(0), 14614448211023772. https://doi.org/10.1177/14614448211023772

    Upadhyay, U., Grossman, D., Ralph, L., & Roberts, S. (n.d.). Using google ads to study abortion access among pregnant people searching online for abortion. ANSIRH; https://www.ansirh.org/research/ongoing/google-ads-abortion-access-study.

    Urman, A., & Makhortykh, M. (2022). “Foreign beauties want to meet you”: The sexualization of women in google’s organic and sponsored text search results. New Media & Society, 0(0), 14614448221099536. https://doi.org/10.1177/14614448221099536

    Vaidhyanathan, S. (2011). The googlization of everything:(And why we should worry). Univ of California Press. https://doi.org/10.1525/9780520948693

    Van Couvering, E. J. (2007). Is relevance relevant? Market, science, and war: Discourses of search engine quality. Journal of Computer-Mediated Communication, 12(3), 866–887. http://doi.org/10.1111/j.1083-6101.2007.00354.x

    Vertesi, J. (2019). From affordances to accomplishments: PowerPoint and excel at NASA. In digitalSTS (pp. 369–392). Princeton University Press. https://doi.org/10.1515/9780691190600-026

    Ziewitz, M. (2019). Rethinking gaming: The ethical work of optimization in web search engines. Social Studies of Science, 49(5), 707–731. https://doi.org/10.1177/0306312719865607