Doing internet archaeology to reveal the evolution of the digital economy in the UK

Authors: Emmanouil Tranos*, University of Birmingham
Topics: Economic Geography, Urban Geography, Spatial Analysis & Modeling
Keywords: Digital economy, web archives, text mining
Session Type: Paper
Day: 4/12/2018
Start / End Time: 1:20 PM / 3:00 PM
Room: Bayside A, Sheraton, 4th Floor


This paper aims to map the participation in the digital economy and its evolution in the UK from a geographical standpoint. Most of the existing economic geography literature which dealt with the spatiality of the Internet employed supply-side measures, such as the infrastructural capacity, in order to understand the geography of the digital economy and its potential spatial economic effects. Useful as these approaches might have been, they cannot capture the micro-processes and the characteristics of the individual online behaviour. This paper aims to address this gap by utilising data from the Internet Archive. This is a novel source of big and unstructured data which contains archived web pages from the mid 1990s onward. This paper focuses on a sample of the .do.uk domain, the webpages of which include locational information. Using content analysis we classify these webpages and extract knowledge about the geography of the digital economy. Moreover, the longitudinal dimension of these data enables us to study the evolution of these spatial patterns over the time at a rather detailed spatial scale. The results of this analysis can provide important insights about the spatiality of the digital economy, its evolution and, most importantly, about the economic trajectories of places.

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