At the core of Mapping Global Media Policy lies the Database (DB). The purpose of the DB is to provide knowledge resources to researchers, policy-makers and civil society activists. It is to help stakeholders identify key policy documents, scientific resources, policy institutions and fellow policy activists, and thus to inform and support effective intervention. It will serve, furthermore, as a basis for scientific research in the field of global media policy.
Content generation for the DB will focus, initially, on a small number of clearly identifiable topics and policy processes - so-called Islands which are linked from the right column of this website and which will be expanded consecutively. If you are interested in developing content in a specific policy field and thus create your own "island", please get in touch.
Entry points: Categories
The DB is structured according to four categories: People, Organizational Actors, Policy Documents, Resources. Each category is divided into distinct dimensions that characterize the profile of a person, organization, policy document and resource, and that identify the most relevant policy-related aspects.
Some of these dimensions cut across all categories and thus allow to trace relations between people, organizations, policy documents and resources. Such cross-cutting dimensions include policy themes, a detailed range of topics, engagement with specific policy processes, and the level (on a range between local and global) on which the activities of an institution or the reach of a policy document are situated.
The information gathered in each category is structured according to 3 clusters:
Description: Name/title, type, web location, contact info (for people and organizational actors), dates (birth date, start/end dates, etc.), authors (of policy documents and publications), bio (of people), mission statement (of organizations), abstract (of documents)
Action & Context: Level of policy intervention (from local to global), thematic areas, specific themes (user-generated folksonomy), relation to specific policy processes
Connections & Networking: Direct intra-database connections to other profiles, for example institutional affiliation of a person, co-authors of documents, relations between documents (for example, comments on draft laws), regular collaborations between organizations, members of an organization, etc.
Each profile includes links to other profiles. People are linked to institutions, authors to academic studies, institutions to policy documents, etc., generating a rich web of linkages between categories and profiles.
Covering the full range of global media policy and gathering data on all relevant actors, documents, inputs and outcomes, is a serious challenge. Representing and understanding every drop of water in the vast ocean of global media policy may remain a distant goal, for some time. Therefore, the project will initially focus on 'building islands' -- gathering data and creating maps on specific areas of the wider policy landscape.
An island will typically focus on a clearly defined topic or a discrete policy process. A topic would be a distinct and sufficiently limited issue in global media policy. A policy process would be a debate or negotiation amongst a variety of actors on a particular theme or problem of media and communication policy, limited in time and space, and leading to binding or non-binding rules in the form of laws, conventions, declarations, standards or norms. Some islands may focus on one or several profile(s), such as an institutional actor (with its network relations and its policy output), a set of related policy documents, or a certain type of resources (e.g., summer schools dealing with a certain media issue).
You can search within a specific category for profiles that deal with specific themes, levels, policy processes, or constitute specific profile types. This can be done on the category pages which are accessible through the Categories navigation box in the right column.
Alternatively, you can search across all categories for profiles dealing with a particular theme, level, policy process, or containing a particular keyword. This can be done through the Search function which is accessible via the link 'New Search' in the Search box in the right column.
Finally, you can start from a particular Island and explore its components. You can access all Islands through the link Islands in the box 'Further Entry Points' in the right column. Further, you may start your enquiry from any 'Specific Theme', 'Policy Process', or a specific profile, such as an institution or a policy statement, and explore the links to people, organizations, policy documents and resources that this profile contains.
Taxonomy, Folksonomy and Semantic Web
The project has developed a taxonomy for the policy-related classification of people, organizations, policy documents and resources. It includes a typology for each category, policy levels, policy themes, etc. In addition, the DB permits user-added terms (folksonomy) that can be promoted into the main taxonomy. This concerns, in particular, the dimension 'Topics' which is an open-ended list that is continuously expanded through user input.
Focusing on relations between different objects and profiles, and generating meaning from these relations through visual maps and other analytical tools, the project will relate to current discussions around what is called the 'semantic web' (or 'Web 3.0') and will consider technological tools and developments in this area.