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Internet Research Ethics for the Social Age

New Challenges, Cases, and Contexts


Edited By Michael Zimmer and Katharina Kinder-Kurlanda

The continuous evolution of internet and related social media technologies and platforms have opened up vast new means for communication, socialization, expression, and collaboration. They also have provided new resources for researchers seeking to explore, observe, and measure human opinions, activities, and interactions. However, those using the internet and social media for research – and those tasked with facilitating and monitoring ethical research such as ethical review boards – are confronted with a continuously expanding set of ethical dilemmas. Internet Research Ethics for the Social Age: New Challenges, Cases, and Contexts directly engages with these discussions and debates, and stimulates new ways to think about – and work towards resolving – the novel ethical dilemmas we face as internet and social media-based research continues to evolve. The chapters in this book – from an esteemed collection of global scholars and researchers – offer extensive reflection about current internet research ethics and suggest some important reframings of well-known concepts such as justice, privacy, consent, and research validity, as well as providing concrete case studies and emerging research contexts to learn from.

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Chapter Twelve: Museum Ethnography in the Digital Age: Ethical Considerations (Natalia Grincheva)


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Museum Ethnography IN THE Digital Age

Ethical Considerations



In the 21st century it is hard to imagine a museum that does not maintain a visible online presence or sustain a digital collection archive. Virtual museum spaces acquaint online “visitors” with museum collections and provide interactive environments for presentational, educational, entertainment, and communication purposes. Online museum spaces may include interactive digital galleries, virtual three-dimensional museum simulators, museum mobile and web 2.0 applications, blogs as well as social network profiles. Most of them allow audiences to interact with digital museum content or communicate with curators or managers through participation in museum blogs, writing comments, and rating posts in social media spaces. In some cases, online audiences are offered to enjoy more “participative” experiences through collecting, curating, or sharing digital objects in online galleries, purposefully designed to accommodate online participation. These audiences’ activities create unlimited opportunities for museum ethnographers, who in the digital era can conduct their research beyond physical walls of museums. Whereas video and audio recordings are required to collect evidence of visitor behavior in a museum’s physical space, an online environment can provide a perfect recording tool in itself. It instantly traces all of the activities of the users and displays all of the visible records that take form in comments, ratings, posts, uploaded video, audio, text, and image online contributions. ← 187 | 188 →

As a digital museum ethnographer,...

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