oa South African Journal of Information Management - Study of RAU Information Science students' utilization of peer-to-peer file sharing systems



Although not a novel concept, peer-to-peer computing is associated by many users with file sharing, in particular MP3 music files, but in reality peer-to-peer computing encompasses instant messaging, group collaboration and distributed computing. The social implications of peer-to-peer computing have wide-ranging ramifications for the Internet and its users. This research at the Rand Afrikaans University had as goal to identify student behaviour and utilization patterns when interacting with peer-to-peer systems available on the Internet. The respondents, all being Information Science students, completed a questionnaire that examined aspects such as information communication technology utilization, the frequency and duration of use, type of content downloaded and shared and the social aspects of peer-to-peer file sharing. Although distributed computing has various inherent problems such as copyright and privacy issues, peer-to-peer computing can be seen as a radical new mindset, setting the stage for a decentralized Internet future.


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