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    Digital hegemonies: the localness of search engine results

    Ballatore, Andrea and Graham, M. and Sen, S. (2017) Digital hegemonies: the localness of search engine results. Annals of the American Association of Geographers 107 (5), pp. 1194-1215. ISSN 2469-4452.

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    Abstract

    Every day, billions of Internet users rely on search engines to find information about places to make decisions about tourism, shopping, and countless other economic activities. In an opaque process, search engines assemble digital content produced in a variety of locations around the world and make it available to large cohorts of consumers. Although these representations of place are increasingly important and consequential, little is known about their characteristics and possible biases. Analysing a corpus of Google search results generated for 188 capital cities, this article investigates the geographic dimension of search results, focusing on searches such as "Lagos" and "Rome" on different localized versions of the engine. This study answers the questions: To what degree is this city-related information locally produced and diverse? Which countries are producing their own representations and which are represented by others? Through a new indicator of localness of search results, we identify the factors that contribute to shape this uneven digital geography, combining several development indicators. The development of the publishing industry and scientific production appears as a fairly strong predictor of localness of results. This empirical knowledge will support efforts to curb the digital divide, promoting a more inclusive, democratic information society.

    Metadata

    Item Type: Article
    Additional Information: This is an Accepted Manuscript of an article published by Taylor & Francis, available online at the link above.
    Keyword(s) / Subject(s): Internet geography, search engines, Google, localness, digital place
    School: Birkbeck Schools and Departments > School of Social Sciences, History and Philosophy > Department of Geography
    Depositing User: Dr Andrea Ballatore
    Date Deposited: 15 Feb 2017 11:20
    Last Modified: 02 May 2018 00:10
    URI: http://eprints.bbk.ac.uk/id/eprint/18127

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