profile and contact info
old and incomplete
Web network location software - scenarios of use
original project narrative
instructions of use
developers and advanced users - wiki
social life of issues workshops
design & media research fellowship, Jan van Eyck
preferred placement book
netlocator software
link language
the rogue and rogued video
information society initiative
lay decision support system
issue barometer
web issue index
election issue tracker

director: dr Richard Rogers
rogers <at> govcom.org

about director

About govcom.org

Govcom.org 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.

Brief institutional history

Our first 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 (C3), 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), the Election Issue Tracker for the Pim Fortuyn period and Viagratool, 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 project 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.

The Issue 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). A presentation [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). Rogers homepage 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, informationlab.org.) 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.