Document (#38203)

Author
Li, R.
Title
¬The influence of geospatial factors on democracy : its representation on web interface design
Source
Journal of the Association for Information Science and Technology. 65(2014) no.2, S.313-333
Year
2014
Abstract
Democracy is represented on web interface design (Li, 2010). Wittfogel's (1957) Eastern autocracy states that 2 environmental dimensions, rainfall and sea border, influence the origin of democracy. This study examined Wittfogel's Eastern autocracy theory through statistical analysis of average annual precipitation, land boundaries, latitudes, and annual temperature of 196 countries and territories with their freedom levels defined by Freedom House, to find out the correlations between these geospatial factors and democracy. In addition, this study extended its investigation to web interface design by examining democracy represented on college/university websites in correlations with these geospatial factors. A total of 130 college/university websites selected from 65 countries were coded and examined systematically in linear and multiple regression analyses. This study concluded that democracy correlates positively with annual precipitation and latitude, but negatively with land boundaries and annual temperature. Furthermore, this study indicated that these 4 geospatial variables associate with democracy represented on web interface design, although the associations are not statistically significant. This study also suggested that it is more accurate to predict democracy if the 4 geospatial factors are considered together as dependent variables. By examining Wittfogel's theory of hydraulic civilization on web interface design, this study not only extended its sociological perspective to the information science arena, but also provided a better understanding of the functionality of the Internet in information dissemination and its cultural and sociological aspects.

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