Do we need new methods to do research on digital environments such as the web? Amsterdam-based new media scholars would answer this question with yes. They have been developing methods, techniques and tools since 1999, starting with the Net Locator and, later, the Issue Crawler, which focuses on hyperlink analysis (Govcom.org, 1999, 2001). Since then a set of allied tools and independent modules have been made to extend the research into the blogosphere, online news sphere, discussion lists and forums as well as search engine behavior.
Now they have created the “digital methods initiative”, a contribution to doing research into the “natively digital”. Their aim is to draw the focus away from the user and towards technical elements such as the hyperlink, the thread or the tag. Or how they put it: “the focus is on how methods may change, however slightly or wholesale, owing to the technical specificities of new media.”