New ASCA PhD Candidate: Introduction to my research

Short introduction to my research in the ASCA newsletter #119, October 2009. Amsterdam School for Cultural Analysis, University of Amsterdam

Anne Helmond, Software‐Engine relations in the Social Web (Docent‐Promovendus, Promotor: Richard Rogers)

The research contributes to the emerging field of software studies as a branch within media studies. Software is an understudied object within media studies, yet it shapes our current media use, production and distribution. As software is increasingly moving from the desktop to the web it becomes part of a larger network where search engines play an important role. My research has found that search engines establish tight relationships with blog software, which alter both the medium and the practice of blogging. Acknowledging the important role of the engines on the web by further theorizing software‐engine relations will definitely add to the field of software studies. Therefore, I propose, to study software and engines in conjunction rather than separately and I will especially look into this new phenomenon of software‐engine relations. The question is whether it is possible to demarcate an area of study that deals with these software‐engine relations. By rethinking the role of search engines as part of the software platforms that constitute the social web it aims to contribute to a new way to study the web.

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