Web Theory: An Introduction

Web Theory: An Introduction

Web Theory: An Introduction

Web Theory: An Introduction


Web Theory is a comprehensive and critical introduction to the theories of the internet and the world wide web. Robert Burnett and P. David Marshall examine the key debates which surround internet culture, from issues of globalisation, political economy and regulation, to ideas about communication, identity and aesthetics. Web Theory explore the shifts in society, culture and the media which have been brought about by the growth of the world wide web. It identifies significant readings, web sites and hypertext archive sources which illustrate the critical discussion about the internet and it mediates these discussions, indicating key positions within each debate and pointing the reader to key texts. Web Theory includes:*Chapters showing how specific media have been affected by the internet*Boxed case studies and examples*References, an extensive bibliography and a list of web sites*A glossary of key terms with important words highlighted in the text*A Web Theory timeline which details important events*A comprehensive and regularly updated website at www.webtheory.nu with inks and support material


at the dawn of the new millennium the shift to digital communication is breaking down the barriers between traditional media industries and the telecommunications sector. the shift to digital transmission of all forms of data has been increasing at an accelerated rate for several years now. in the very near future almost all forms of data and information could conceivably be produced and stored in digital bits. This shift is redefining the way music, film, radio, television, newspapers and books are produced, manufactured, distributed and consumed. Distinctions between 'old media' appear to be eroding as different forms of 'new media' evolve. the name of the game goes by the buzzword convergence, the blending of the media, telecommunications and computer industries, and the coming together of all forms of mediated communication in digital form.

There is an abundance of speculation and claims that the Internet will replace traditional media and that 'old' media, are dinosaurs on their way to extinction, soon to be replaced with new Web based delivery systems. a proper reading of the history of communication technology tells us a different story. the introduction of new media have rarely caused the elimination of existing media, although audiences and consequently their revenue bases do often shift.

The 1990s saw the rise of the Internet (variously described as the Infobahn, the Information Highway, the Net, the Matrix, or the Web), mostly due to the establishment of the World Wide Web (WWW) as the user friendly multimedia portion of the Internet. the Web part of the Internet, which is the focus of this book, enabled access to increasing amounts of information and data and new possibilities for interaction.

In recent years the number of people with Internet access has increased exponentially. in addition to 'surfing' the Web, many users of the Internet are interacting with others synchronously via Internet Relay Chat (irc,

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