is an Amsterdam-based foundation dedicated
to creating and hosting political tools on
the Web. Much of the work involves mapping
issue networks on
the Web, using the Issue
Crawler software, where one now may auto-request an account.
Govcom.org is also a conceptual URL that indicates
three major actor
groups involved in debates on social issues:
.gov's, .com's and .org's.
project was entitled "Web Geographies,"
a collaboration in 1998 and 1999 between Science
Dynamics at the University of Amsterdam, and
the Active Media Group at Computer Related
Design, Royal College of Art, London. The
second project was called, "Net Archaeologies,
Web Geographies, and Active Networking,"
the Jan van Eyck Academy Design & Media
Research Fellowship 1999-2000. The results
of the Fellowship are published in the Preferred
Placement book. The 2000-2001 work was
entitled "Live Issue Atlas on the Web,"
a research, issue network cartography and
software project with OneWorld International,
London, funded by the Soros Internet Program,
New York. A series of workshops,
entitled "The Social Life of Issues,"
was held at the Center for Culture and Communication
Budapest, Hungary. Software project collaborators
included Recognos (Cluj-Napoca), Anderemedia.nl
(Amsterdam) and, later, Aguidel.com
(Paris). "Info-politics" software
and research projects, completed in 2001-2003
with support from the Dutch Government's Information
Society Initiative (Infodrome), included the
Web Issue Index of Civil Society (infoid.org),
Issue Tracker for the Pim Fortuyn period
the lay decision support system. "Political
Instruments" is a set of info-graphic
essays, published in 2002 by Infodrome, Amsterdam.
In 2003-2004 Govcom.org hosted a series of
workshops, entitled "The
News about Networks," funded by the
Ford Foundation. In 2004 Govcom.org put out
Issue Mappings 1 & 2. The two 9-piece
map sets chronicle our work. In
2005 another (11mb) set
of graphics was made for the World Summit
on the Information Society (Tunis round).
A book by Richard Rogers, Information
Politics on the Web (MIT Press, 2004),
also came out and is available.
It won the 2005 best information science book
award from ASIS&T.
See also a Govcom.org
list which chronicles the work until 2004.
Articles up to 2008 are
here, and current maps and info-graphics are here.
The Issue Crawler Back-End Movie
was made for the ZKM exhibition curated by
Bruno Latour and Peter Weibel, "Making
Things Public: Atmospheres of Democracy,"
Center for Arts and Media, Karlsruhe, Germany,
8 March - 3 October 2005. The Issue
Ticker (aka Web Issue Index) also was
working on a large touch screen.
It ran at the Finance Art exhibition
at La Casa Encendida, Madrid, Spain, until
23 September 2006.
Scraper, a piece of software that performs
comparative analysis of blogs and news was never properly finished, although the work grows with the Issue Crawler allied tool set. A kind of introductory
piece to the Issue Scraper is here.
We also worked on the "Social
Life of Conservation," "Mapping
the Ideational Space of the Palestinian-Israeli
conflict" (with Strategic Studies, University
of Cambridge, UK) and "Circumnavigating
Internet Censorship" (with the Open Net
Initiative at the University of Toronto).
[28mb] we made for the What
the Hack camp in the Netherlands (Summer,
2005) shows some of this work. The Issuegeographer,
which takes issuecrawler outputs, looks up
whois.net registrational location (not server
location), and plots actor location to geographical
map. It is undesigned at tools.issuecrawler.net.
We have built it into issuecrawler.net.
In 2006 we finished a tranche of work
on Internet Censorship (with the Citizen Lab
at the University of Toronto and the OpenNet
Initiative). We made graphics for the Psiphon
software launch. In 2007 we explored celebrity
endorsement (graphic) of social issues, including
the movie, "A Thousand Dinners A Night:
Amongst the Issue Celebritie," shown
at Montevideo in Amsterdam. What happens to
the issue after it's endorsed by celebrities? (See exhibition story.)
Among the other projects is the Issue Dramaturg, looking into the ongoing drama of search engine space. We charted what appears to be the first documented de-indexing of a site from Google.
Most recently Govcom.org has been engaged in the Digital Methods Initiative -- research strategies for the study of natively digital objects.
Govcom.org director: dr.
Richard Rogers, rogers
<at> govcom.org (all correspondence).
at the University of Amsterdam.
Among the principal affiliates
are Noortje Marres (University of Amsterdam)
as well as Andrei Mogoutov (aguidel.com),
Marieke van Dijk and Auke Touwslager (anderemedia.nl).
(See also Auke Touwslager's interesting blog,
Our system developers are Koen Martens and
Erik Borra (sonologic.nl)
and analyst is Anat Ben-David. Zachary Devereaux
(Ryerson / York Universities) and Astrid Mager
(University of Vienna) work with us, too,
as does Karel Brascamp, who has developed
the Issue Ticker. Previously we collaborated
with Andres Zelman (formerly of the University
of Amsterdam), Catherine Somze (govcom.org
workshop producer), David Heath and Suzi Wells
(OneWorld International, London), Recognos
(Cluj-Napoca) as well as Stephanie Hankey,
Ian Morris and Alex Bruce Wilkie (formerly
of Computer Related Design, Royal College
of Art and the Design & Media Research
Fellowship, Jan van Eyck).
The Foundation's project
list includes other affiliates.