Fifth International Conference on Social Science Methodology, Cologne, October 3 - 6, 2000

Wednesday, 4th October 2000

ORGANIZER: H. Peter Ohly, Informationszentrum Sozialwissenschaften, Lennestr. 30, D-53113 Bonn; Phone: +49 228 2281142; eMail:


SHORT DESCRIPTION OF THE SESSION: The intention of this session is to show the impact of new media and design aspects for the social sciences. Namely the importance of new media in conjunction with the Internet, 3-dimensional and interactive graphical facilities and the combination of textual statements with graphical design will be considered. Advantages will be discussed that concern better handling of research and retrieval tools, better inspection and interpretation of research results and better public understanding of scientific outcome.



- HP Ohly: Introduction to Information Design and the Social Sciences

- L Krempel: Network and Information Visualization: Communicating Multidimensional Insight

- H Strelow: Art and Design as Communication Strategies (cancelled)

- M Eibl: Information Retrieval Design

- U Pankoke-Babatz, W Prinz: Technical Support for Communities, Social Navigation and Cooperation in the Web

- HJ Krysmanski, K Teubener, N Zurawski: Broadcasting the Web: Interfaces for Science and Mass Media





H. Peter Ohly

Social Science Information Centre, Lennéstr. 30, D-53113 Bonn; Phone: +49-228-2281-142; eMail:

Informationszentrum Sozialwissenschaften, Lennestr. 30, D-53113 Bonn; Phone: +49 228 2281142; eMail:

The scientific usage of the Internet enhances the impact of new media and design aspects for social science information. Namely new media in conjunction with the Internet, 3-dimensional and interactive graphical facilities and the combination of textual statements with graphical design change the working place of researchers and the users of scientific outcome. Advantages are obvious that concern better handling of research and retrieval tools, better inspection and interpretation of research results and better public understanding of scientific outcome. Instead of a division of labour the 'new social scientist' (researcher, teacher or officer) has to integrate knowledge of his applied science with computer sciences and art and design aspects. Some examples will be given.

Keywords: Design, Art, New Media, Internet, Social Research, Information Retrieval, Ergonomics




Lothar Krempel

Max Planck Institute for the Study of Societies, Paulstrasse 3, D-50676 Koeln; Phone: +49 221 2767 158; eMail:

With the development of an international information societylarge amounts of complex data wait to be explored and analyzed, manyof which describe units embedded into larger systems.The combination of both network and information visualization providesefficient means to orient and navigatein large and rich bodiesof empirical information. In our presentation we give an overviewon methods and principles which can be employed to visualizerich relational data and give examples from our research.This includes procedures that allow to order relational informationin a flexible manner and can optimize the resulting placements of thenodesby taking into account additional constraints to enhance the overallreadability of the resulting images.A second step is the transcription of additional information(attributes)into visual signs, signs which when rendered on to the embeddingscan giveinsight into local phenomena while preserving a systemsperspective.The combination of both adds to a multidimensional understanding ofstructures with graphical means.



Heike Strelow

Wiesenau 34, D-60323 Frankfurt am Main, Phone: +49 69 174814, eMail:

For the last 10 years, roughly, contemporary art has been marked by an increasing contextualisation. Questions of aesthetic and content are less and less focused on art immanent topics, but deal more intensely with social problems. Consequently, art aims less at the connoisseurs than at a wider spread public. Art with social intents must therefore also find different forms and strategies of communication. Although art as such is inseparably connected to communication, the awareness of the significance of the receivers of ”art messages” has only gradually developed during the last decades. This goes hand in hand with the development of the new media, particularly the internet, which has increased the possibilities of communication many times over. It is not surprising that many forms and strategies of communication in the art of these last years are based on new media. This especially applies to artists taking up social questions in their work. The phenomenon will be here presented by means of different examples, demonstrating the fact that many artistic works are based on a creative handling of the information cycle. This context also points out the possibilities of co-operation between art and science, starting with the aesthetic shaping of information (design), and leading to common research projects (cultural ecology, for instance).

Keywords: Artists as Activists, Art and Science, Communication,

Internet, Intervention, Social Art, Social Design



Maximilian Eibl

Social Science Information Centre, Dept. Information Transfer Eastern Europe, D-10117 Berlin; Phone: +49 30 30874271; eMail:

This contribution describes a visualization of Information Retrieval (IR) queries. It is constructed in view of Human-Computer-Interface(HCI) and IR requirements and includes the special aspect of media design with its aesthetical aims. The different goals of the integrated fields of research are discussed. Further we describe a cooperation which tries to combine them in spite of many differences in theory and methodology. First empirical results, comparing the developed prototype on the basis ofa social science database with commercially available standard IR systems, hint that by introducing media design to the design process, the resulting interface can be of improved useracceptance.



Uta Pankoke-Babatz, Wolfgang Prinz 

Uta Pankoke-Babatz GMD, Schloss Birlinghoven, D-53754 Sankt Augustin; Phone: +49 2241 142707; eMail:

In this presentation we will introduce technical facilities that support the use of the Internet as a means for cooperative effort, for community building, and for the creation of community knowledge. This should enable the social forces of Internet users to become more effective. We are developingtechnical support for direct and indirect social contact among Internet users. They should benefit from each others' activities and experiences and be able to jointly create community and activity-specific settings within the environment. 

Methods are being developed that support social presence, enabling users to perceive each other on an agreed upon level of disclosure of one's identity. We provide an awareness infrastructure, where the current actor's actions are recorded and notified either in a social context, (i.e. within a predefined group or community) or within an information context, (i.e. in the context of a webpage or shared workspace). Groups and communities are supported in the establishment of shared information spaces through a combination of BSCW with recommender facilities. While browsingthe World Wide Web people may rank pages found or link them into a community workspace. This will be integratedwith facilities to create common terminology and combined with a community knowledge base. These features will enable Internet users to leave traces, commonly create paths through the Web, to jointly constitute attractive meeting places on the Internet, and make the interaction on the Internet a social experience.

Keywords: Community, awareness, social presence, knowledge sharing, shared workspaces, collaborative information retrieval, common vocabulary, events


(German version; project information)

Hans Juergen Krysmanski, Katy Teubener, Nils Zurawski

Nils Zurawski, European Popular Science Information Project at the Institute of Sociology, Scharnhorststr. 121, D-48151 Münster, Phone: +49 251 8325323, eMail:

With Web-TV only in its beginnings, it must be said that traditional TV and the Internet do not go together very well; ie. the Internet very rarely adds value to the actual TV-programme. The principle idea of the ‚European Popular Science Information Project' (EPS) - funded by the European Commission therefore was to explore and develop new ways of incorporating and transferring Internet content into other mass media, such as TV. Cooperating with national producers like SPIEGEL TV and Westdeutscher Rundfunk (WDR) we developed, among other things, storyboarding techniques using the WWW, to help process the gathered information and to eventually develop 'stories' out of the material. So our main emphasis has then been on interface design. EPS has experimented with TV-Internet interfaces, trying to symbolize the Internet, its netlike inter-connected topology and virtuality. These interface experiments might lead to standard environments for various topics and areas of scientific research, The interfaces developed for TV to Internet could then, of course, also be adpated to Internet- Internet (browser interfaces) and Internet-TV, preparing for a multimedia-multidimensional world of windows and text-driven interfaces. This is, we think, the only way to organize and make comprehensible scientific content in the future. It is therefore necessary to think about a 'scientific interface-design', which has successfully been started within the EPS-project and will be developed in the form of courses offered by the project for scientists during this year. Keywords: Internet, Interfaces, impact on media, mass media, science, new media development



Okt 6 2000, Peter Ohly