Neue Infrastrukturen für die Messung digitaler Mediennutzung


The digitalization of media landscapes has presented media and communication research with unprecedented challenges in measuring media use. Against this background, this article addresses the question of whether and how two new software tools run by GESIS—WebTrack (for recording and linking browser-based online communication with longitudinal survey data) and an AppKit (for smartphone-based collections of survey and/or digital behavioral data)—can make a sustainable contribution toward the better measurement of media use in the digital age. Both by themselves and in conjunction, the software tools open up new potentials for data collections, because they can capture media use across different online platforms and because they enable more thorough accounts of the dynamics of online media use than prevailing (survey) designs. At the same time, no software can capture each of the various facets of online media use and—importantly—the sustainable development and provision of research software is a complex and resource-intensive long-term endeavor. We address the technical and organizational measures taken by GESIS to provide scholars with sustainable access to the software tools and the associated data collection potentials. This leads to the conclusion that running an integrated data collection infrastructure both creates synergies and requires tailored measures that take into account the diversity of research software.