Network of Excellence in Internet Science

Virtual Communities (JRA6)

About this Working Group

The Internet and other areas of ICT have enabled distance relationships to form - from social network sites to large-scale virtual worlds in which people socialize - and have enabled the formation of virtual communities for workplace collaboration, distance education, medical services, and politics, among others. Ultimately, the integration of online social networks with tools for distributed creation of knowledge, interfaced to the real world through network of sensors and rooted in real communities, is expected to create an extended collective awareness which will be the basis for innovative and sustainable actions, at individual and collective levels, in multiple fields (environmental, social, political, etc.), as captured by the recent EU initiative on Platforms for Collective Awareness and Action. This working group aims to distill knowledge and best practices from such efforts and to develop social design methodologies for development and experimentation within virtual communities – including user needs analysis and the impact on technological design choices affecting the future Internet (such as open standards, Quality of Service) - taking into account socio-economic, security and privacy concerns. Outreach to the wider social science community examining virtual communities will include exchange with leading scholars in such conferences as State of Play. Ultimately, Internet Science itself will become both an offline and online virtual community of ICT and social science scholars exchanging best practice (for example through the dissemination and exchange activities that will complement this working group). The group's partners are inter-disciplinary institutions based on the social sciences, from law (UESSEX), socio-economic analysis (IBBT), social science (UNIBO, LSE), anthropology (OXF – Dunbar), and communications studies (TUD, LSE). They are complemented by CNR, TCLR, ULANC, UoA and MLS.

JRA6 Deliverables

Deliverable 6.1: Overview of user needs analysis, plus draft catalogue of design responses to needs analysis

Deliverable 6.2: Catalogue of advanced user cases and final user need analysis

Deliverable 6.3.1: Continuous Cataloguing of dissemination and collaboration with broader social science community

Deliverable 6.3.2: Continuous cataloguing of dissemination and collaboration with broader social science community

Deliverable 6.4.1: 1st Report on integration and excellence building in JRA6

Deliverable 6.4.2: 2nd Report on integration and excellence building in Virtual Communities

Deliverable 6.4.3: 3rd report on integration and excellence building in Virtual Communities