The Web Science Trust

The case of the LHC initiation at CERN, as reported through the WWW

Mihail, Milena (2009) The case of the LHC initiation at CERN, as reported through the WWW. In: Proceedings of the WebSci'09: Society On-Line, 18-20 March 2009, Athens, Greece. (In Press)

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How is information propagated over the many mediums available on the WWW? When and how do unauthoritative influences take over? How can vital information concerning areas of fundamental societal value like helth, science, education, or even basic factual news, be protected from clearly unauthoritative infuences which can do more harm than good? We propose to study the case of how, when and what information was reported in different web forums on and around September 10 2008, about the LHC activation at CERN in Geneva. It is a typical case where the initial, pure, concretely scientific information, was suddenly overtaken by unsubstantiated fears concerning black holes (further annotated with blatantly inappropriate language and comments in forums where innocent teachers and parents were addressing their children to watch "the biggest experiment of the decade"). This propagated back to fairly authoritative news forums, many of which placed the purely scientific information coming from the authoritative sources in second place, for the purposes of increasing "hits". Since the initiation of the LHC is a single quite unique event, and information around it is focused around a short time span, it is particularly suitable for a case study. Data reported in different web forums is recent, reasonaly well archived, and can be traced relatively easily. Of course, there is an additional reason to study this particular case. This was an event webcast live from CERN in 2008, the very same place where Tim Berners-Lee invented the WWW exactly twenty years ago, and precisely in the context of managing information in the LHC era.

Item Type:Conference or Workshop Item (Poster)
Uncontrolled Keywords:Online and Offline Media, Authoritative and Unauthoritative Information, LHC, CERN
Subjects:Web Science Events > Web Science 2009
ID Code:219
Deposited By: W S T Administrator
Deposited On:24 Jan 2009 08:45
Last Modified:25 Oct 2011 16:50

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