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Review: Cyberidentities at war: The Moluccan conflict on the Internet

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Budka, P. 2015. Review of Bräuchler, B. Cyberidentities at war: The Moluccan conflict on the Internet. New York & Oxford: Berghahn, 2013. American Anthropologist, 117/1: 179-180.

Birgit Bräuchler’s book Cyberidentities at War was originally published in German in 2005. It is the result of her dissertation research on the Moluccan conflict and how it took place in cyberspace—the social space constituted by Internet-related practices. The English edition of this volume not only brings one of the few long-term ethnographic accounts of an online conflict to an international audience but also includes a new epilogue that briefly discusses what happened to the actors analyzed in the book and current developments in anthropological Internet research, particularly in respect to social movements and religions. In the early 2000s, a detailed anthropological inquiry into conflicts in relation to Internet technologies was still missing. By providing such an anthropological account and by conducting online ethnographic research, Bräuchler broke new ground and contributed to the then-emerging field of cyberanthropology.

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Paper: Indigenous futures and digital infrastructures

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Budka, P. 2014. Indigenous futures and digital infrastructures: How First Nation communities connect themselves in Northwestern Ontario. Paper at “13th Biennial Conference of the European Association of Social Anthropologists (EASA)”, Tallinn, Estonia: Tallinn University, 31 July – 3 August.

Introduction

“Now […] if the Aboriginal People could […], retain their tradition, take the technology and go that way in the future. That would be good.”
(Community Development Coordinator and Educational Director, Bearskin Lake First Nation, 2007)

For my first field trip to Northwestern Ontario in 2006, I decided to take the train from Toronto to Sioux Lookout instead of flying. This ride with “the Canadian”, which connects Toronto and Vancouver, took me about 26 hours and demonstrated very vividly the vastness of Ontario. At some point, I could not believe that I have been spending more than an entire day on a train without even leaving the province. But finally I arrived at Sioux Lookout, Northwestern Ontario’s transportation hub, where I would be working with the Keewaytinook Okimakanak Kuhkenah Network (KO-KNET), one of the world’s leading indigenous internet organization.

After my first day at the office, KO-KNET’s coordinator told me that he wants to show me something. So we jumped in his car and drove to the outskirts of the town where he stopped in front of a big satellite dish. Only through this dish, he explained, the remote First Nation communities in the North can be connected to the internet. I was pretty impressed, but had no concrete idea how this really works. So while the satellite dish was physically visible to me, the underlying infrastructure was not. During my stay, I learned more about the technical aspects of internet networks and connectivity, about hubs, switches and cables, and about towers and loops. And I learned that internet via satellite might look impressive, but is actually the last resort and the most expensive way to establish internet connectivity. I also began to realize how important organizational partnerships and collaborative projects are and what important role social relationships across institutional boundaries play. In short: I learned about the infrastructure which is actually necessary to finance, provide and maintain internet access and use. Infrastructure, KO-KNET’s coordinator told me “really defines what you can do and what you can’t do” (KO-KNET coordinator 2007). And this has fundamental consequences for the futures of the region’s indigenous people.

Within this paper I am going to discuss digital infrastructures and technologies in the geographical and sociocultural contexts of indigenous Northwestern Ontario. By introducing the case of KO-KNET I analyse (1) how internet infrastructures act as facilitators of social relationships and (2) how First Nations people actively make their (digital) futures by taking control over the creation, distribution and uses of information and communication technologies (ICT), such as broadband internet. This study is part of a digital media anthropology project that was conducted for five years, including ethnographic fieldwork in Northwestern Ontario and in online environments.

In media and visual anthropology, anthropologists are, among other things of course, interested in how indigenous, disfranchised and marginalized people have started to talk back to structures of power that neglect their political, cultural and economic needs and interests by producing and distributing their own media technologies (e.g., Ginsburg 1991, 2002b, Michaels 1994, Prins 2002, Turner 1992, 2002). To “underscore the sense of both political agency and cultural intervention that people bring to these efforts”, Faye Ginsburg (2002a: 8, 1997) refers to these media practices as “cultural activism”. “Indigenized” media technologies are providing indigenous people with possibilities to make their voices heard, to network and connect, to distribute information, to revitalize culture and language, and to become politically engaged and active (Ginsburg 2002a, 2002b). Particularly digital media technologies offer a lot of these possibilities to marginalized people (e.g., Landzelius 2006a).

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Article: Social media in remote First Nation communities

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Molyneaux, H., O’Donnell, S., Kakekaspan, C., Walmark, B., Budka, P., Gibson, K. 2014. Social media in remote First Nation communities. Canadian Journal of Communication, 39(2): 275-288.

Abstract

Community resilience in First Nations includes ties to people both inside and outside the community, intergenerational communication, the sharing of stories, and family and community connectedness. This study, based on a survey of Internet users in the Sioux Lookout region of Northwestern Ontario, explores the link between social networking sites and community resilience. The region is home to some of the most isolated First Nation (indigenous)communities in Canada. Cultural and familial links between these communities are strong, yet until recent use of the Internet, maintaining regular communications to strengthen cultural ties was challenging. This study examines the links between travel and communication online, the ways in which social media are used to preserve culture and maintain communication, and the implications of social networking for community resilience.

La résilience communautaire chez les Premières Nations se base sur les rapports à autrui tant au sein de la communauté qu’au-delà de celle-ci, la communication intergénérationnelle, le partage d’histoires et la solidarité familiale et communautaire. Cet article se fonde sur un sondage d’utilisateurs d’Internet dans la région Sioux Lookout du Nord-ouest de l’Ontario pour explorer les rapports entre les sites de réseautage social et la résilience communautaire. La région Sioux Lookout compte certaines des communautés autochtones les plus isolées au Canada. Les affinités culturelles et familiales entre ces communautés sont fortes, et pourtant, avant l’utilisation récente d’Internet, le maintien de communications régulières pour resserrer les liens culturels n’était pas facile. Cette étude examine les rapports entre voyages et communication en ligne, les manières dont on utilise les médias sociaux pour préserver la culture et assurer les communications, et l’impact du réseautage social sur la résilience communautaire.

Notes: Open access & anthropology

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Open Access (OA): freier Zugang zu wiss. Material
Goldener / Grüner Weg
alternatives Publikations- & Geschäftsmodell
2017-2021: ~50% OA Publikationen (Lewis 2012) http://crl.acrl.org/content/73/5/493

AutorInnen: + Verbreitung
LeserInnen: + Zugang
Bibliotheken: + Ersparnis
Gesellschaft: + Einsicht/Verständnis
http://de.wikipedia.org/wiki/Open_access
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=L5rVH1KGBCY
http://www.doaj.org/
http://www.fwf.ac.at/de/public_Relations/oai/

HAU-Journal of Ethnographic Theory (seit 2011)
international, peer-reviewed, open-access (CC-Lizenz), online
ethnography as the prime heuristic & in the forefront of anthropology
http://www.haujournal.org

HAU-N.E.T., Network of Ethnographic Theory
international network of research centres & anthropology departments to support journal HAU
alternative to existing subscription models in publishing
http://www.haujournal.org/haunet/

Article: Digitale Medientechnologien aus kultur- und sozialanthropologischer Perspektive

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Budka, P. 2013. Digitale Medientechnologien aus kultur- und sozialanthropologischer Perspektive: Überlegungen zu Technologie als materielle Kultur und Fetisch (Digital media technologies from an anthropological perspective: Reflections on technology as material culture and fetish). Medien und Zeit, 28, 1/2013: 22-34.

Abstract

Dieser Aufsatz blickt auf digitale Medientechnologien aus Perspektive der Kultur- und Sozialanthropologie. In einem wissenschaftstheoretischen und historischen Abriss werden einerseits Eckpunkte in der Entwicklung relevanter Forschungsfelder, wie die Anthropologie und Ethnographie der Medientechnologien, die Digitale Anthropologie sowie die Anthropologie der Cyberkultur behandelt. Andererseits werden zwei Fallbeispiele aus der ethnographischen Forschungspraxis vorgestellt, die digitale Technologien als materielle Kultur verstehen. Technologie als materielle Kultur erlaubt es die Materialität und die Normativität von Technologien ebenso zu fassen wie deren alltägliche Aneignung in wandelnden soziokulturellen, politischen und ökonomischen Kontexten. Der Aufsatz schließt mit einer Diskussion der Fetischisierung von Technologien, deren Bedeutung und Zusammenhänge.

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World Summit on Information Society: Action Line “Cultural diversity and identity”

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“Cultural and linguistic diversity, while stimulating respect for cultural identity, traditions and religions, is essential to the development of an Information Society based on the dialogue among cultures and regional and international cooperation. It is an important factor for sustainable development.

UNESCO emphasises the value of cultural and linguistic diversity in all its work.  It is also concerned to ensure that new media platforms make content available which is relevant to the lives of all communities and individuals, including the poor and marginalised.  Content of local relevance, and content which is locally produced, are important in this context.” …
more info

UNESCO & WSIS
WSIS

Free chapter: “We were on the outside looking in”: MyKnet.org – A First Nations Online Social Environment in Northern Ontario

Free chapter: “We were on the outside looking in”: MyKnet.org – A First Nations Online Social Environment in Northern Ontario published on No Comments on Free chapter: “We were on the outside looking in”: MyKnet.org – A First Nations Online Social Environment in Northern Ontario

Bell, B., Budka, P., Fiser, A. 2012. “We were on the outside looking in”: MyKnet.org – A First Nations online social environment in northern Ontario. In A. Clement, M. Gurstein, G. Longford, M. Moll & L. R. Shade (Eds.), Connecting Canadians: Investigations in Community Informatics (pp. 237-254). Edmonton: Athabasca University Press.

“In 2000, one of Canada’s leading Aboriginal community networks, the Kuh-ke-nah Network, or K-Net, was on the verge of expanding into broadband services. (For more on K-Net, see chapter 14.) K-Net’s management organization, Keewaytinook Okimakanak Tribal Council, had acquired funding and resources to become one of Industry Canada’s Smart Communities demonstration projects. Among the innovative services that K-Net introduced at the time was MyKnet.org, a system of personal home pages intended for remote First Nations users in a region of Northern Ontario where numerous communities have lived without adequate residential telecom service well into the millennium (Fiser, Clement, and Walmark 2006; Ramírez et al. 2003). Shortly thereafter, and through K-Net’s community-based Internet infrastructure, this free-of-charge, free-of-advertising, locally supported, online social environment grew from its core constituency of remote First Nations communities to host over 30,000 registered user accounts (of which approximately 20,000 represent active home pages). …”

free chapter download: http://www.aupress.ca/index.php/books/120193

Free e-Book: Connecting Canadians: Investigations in Community Informatics

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A. Clement, M. Gurstein, G. Longford, M. Moll & L. R. Shade (Eds.), Connecting Canadians: Investigations in Community Informatics. Edmonton: Athabasca University Press.

“Connecting Canadians represents the work of the Community Research Alliance for Community Innovation and Networking (CRACIN), the largest national and international research effort to examine the burgeoning field of community informatics, a cross-disciplinary approach to the mobilization of information and communications technologies (ICT) for community change.

Funded for four years by the SSHRC’s Initiative for the New Economy, CRACIN systematically studied a wide variety of Canadian community ICT initiatives, bringing perspectives from sociology, computer science, critical theory, women’s studies, library and information sciences, and management studies to bear on networking technologies. A comprehensive thematic account of this in-depth research, Connecting Canadians will be an essential resource for NGOs, governments, the private sector, and multilateral agencies across the globe.”

Download the book or single chapters for free: http://www.aupress.ca/index.php/books/120193

Vortrag: Indigene Medientechnologien

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Gastvortrag im Rahmen der Vorlesung “Einführung in die Kultur- und Sozialanthropologie” (Sommersemester 2012, Leitung: Elke Mader): “Indigene Medientechnologien – Produktion & Anwendungspraktiken aus medienanthropologischer Perspektive“: Teil 1Teil 2 (PDF)

Aus dem Inhalt:

  • Medientechnologien aus kultur- und sozialanthropologischer & ethnographischer Perspektive
  • Indigene Medien:
    Indigene?
    Indigene IKT: „outreach“ Praktiken z.B. EZLN in Mexiko, „inreach“ Praktiken: z.B. KO-NET in Kanada
  • Indigene Medientechnologieproduktion: Beispiel „Internet für First Nations in Kanada“
  • Indigene Medienanwendungspraktiken: Beispiel „MyKnet.org: Social Networking für First Nations in Kanada“ – Identitätskonstruktion, Vergemeinschaftungsformen, ethnographische Felderforschung

Publications, papers & presentations about MyKnet.org

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This is a list of publications, papers and presentations that results from research on MyKnet.org, an online social environment for First Nations people of northwestern Ontario, Canada. For more information on MyKnet.org and the research project, take a look at the summary of the MyKnet.org research project and the MyKnet.org research website.

Publications

Bell, B., Budka, P. & Fiser, A. 2012. “We were on the outside looking in” – MyKnet.org: A First Nations online social environment in northern Ontario. In Clement, A., Gurstein, M., Longford, G., Moll, M. & Shade, L. R. (Eds.) Connecting Canadians: Investigations in Community Informatics. Edmonton: Athabasca University Press. Forthcoming.

Budka, P. 2009. Indigenous media technology production in northern Ontario, Canada. In Ertler, K.-D. & Lutz, H. (Eds.) Canada in Grainau / Le Canada à Grainau: A multidisciplinary survey of Canadian Studies after 30 years. Frankfurt am Main: Peter Lang.

Budka, P., Bell, B., & Fiser, A. 2009. MyKnet.org: How Northern Ontario’s First Nation communities made themselves at home on the World Wide Web. The Journal of Community Informatics, 5(2), Online: http://ci-journal.net/index.php/ciej/article/view/568/450

Papers and presentations at conferences

Budka, P. 2011. Connecting First Nations through media and communication technologies in northern Ontario, Canada. Paper at “American Indian Workshop (AIW)”, Graz, Austria: Graz University, 31 March – 3 April.

Budka, P. 2010. Popular culture and music in an indigenous online environment. Paper at “11th Biennial Conference of the European Association of Social Anthropologists (EASA)”, Maynooth, Ireland: National University of Irland Maynooth, 24-27 August.

Budka, P. 2010. Indigene Medienproduktion im Nordwestlichen Ontario, Kanada. Presentation at “Tage der Kultur- und Sozialanthropologie”, Vienna, Austria: University of Vienna, 22 April.

Budka, P. 2009. Die Bedeutung von (kultureller) Identität in einer indigenen Online-Umgebung (MyKnet.org). Paper at “Internet und Identitätskonstruktion von Jugendlichen Workshop”, Vienna, Austria: University of Vienna, 30 October.

Budka, P. 2008. Indigenous territories on the World Wide Web: How First Nation people in Northwestern Ontario make themselves at home online. Paper at “Internet Research 9.0 Conference of the Association of Internet Researchers”, Copenhagen, Denmark: IT University of Copenhagen, 16-18 October.

Budka, P. 2008. Indigenous media technology production in Northern Ontario, Canada. Paper at “10th Biennial Conference of the European Association of Social Anthropologists (EASA)”, Ljubljana, Slovenia: University of Ljubljana, 26-30 August.

Budka, P. 2008. Populärkulturen in einer First Nation Internet Umgebung: Hip Hop als Element jugendlicher Identitätskonstruktion und Repräsentation. Paper at “Wiener Tage der Kultur- und Sozialanthropologie”, Vienna, Austria: University of Vienna, 10-11 April.

Budka, P. 2007. The new mediation of traumatic experiences: the First Nations online environment MyKnet.org and suicides in Northern Ontario, Canada. Paper at “Sites/Cites of Trauma Workshop”, Gothenburg, Sweden:Gothenburg University, 5-6 October.

Budka, P., Grünberg, G., & Trupp, C. 2007. Indigene und Internet in den Amerikas. Ein komparatives medienanthropologisches Projekt. Presentation at “Wiener Tage der Kultur- und Sozialanthropologie”, Vienna, Austria: University of Vienna, 26-27 April.

Bell, B., Budka, P., & Fiser, A. 2007. “We were on the outside looking in” – MyKnet.org: a First Nations online social network in Northern Ontario. Paper at the “5th Canadian Research Alliance for Community Innovation and Networking (CRACIN) Workshop”, Montreal, Canada: Concordia University, 20-22 June.

Report on the MyKnet.org and Facebook Online Survey, April – December 2011

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Budka, Philipp. 2012. Report on the MyKnet.org and Facebook Online Survey, April-December 2011.
http://meeting.knet.ca/mp19/course/view.php?id=7

Abstract

This report presents and discusses findings of an online survey which aims to contribute to the understanding of First Nation online practices. By looking at two popular web services, MyKnet.org, a regional First Nation homepage environment, and Facebook, the global leader in online social networking, it becomes clear that for the First Nation people of northwestern Ontario the internet is the most important communication medium. These two online services have become ubiquitous media technologies that are used to connect and represent people in this remote region. They are well integrated into people’s daily lives and practices; not only as communication tools, but also as subjects of discussion. As participants to this online survey (N=117) indicate, the popularity of MyKnet.org and Facebook is mainly due to the fact that those online services are easy and free to use for keeping in touch with family and friends. Besides maintaining and fostering social connections, people also utilize MyKnet.org and Facebook to share stories about cultural activities as well as music and videos, which is considered an important cultural practice. Survey results suggest further that while Facebook has replaced MyKnet.org in terms of online communicating and connecting, the Aboriginal online service is still being used for creating and designing web presences as well as for local information gathering and sharing.

The full report (PDF)

Links
MyKnet.org research website
MyKnet.org
KO-KNET

Ethnographie als theoretischer & epistemologischer Ansatz

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Ideen und Anmerkungen zur Ethnographie als theoretischer und epistemologischer Forschungsansatz, die im Rahmen eines Jour Fixe der Gruppe Internetforschung am 09.01.2012 diskutiert wurden. Dabei wurde vor allem der Frage nachgegangen wie Ethnographie in der Internetforschung Verwendung finden kann.

Ethnographie ist eine Theorie des Beschreibens (Nader)
→ Kontext
→ Holismus → Imagination von Gesamt- oder Ganzheit

Ethnographie ist keine Methode (Ingold)
→ Ethnographie = beschreibende Integration (durch Kontextualisierung)
→ Ethnographie = Praxis verbaler Beschreibung

Praktische Aspekte / Probleme einer Ethnographie
→ Prozess der teilnehmenden Beobachtung
→ Inklusion der Forscherin / „Wir & die Anderen“
→ Wandel in Zeit & Raum
→ Hierarchien von Kontexten

Ethnographie & Interdisziplinarität (Strathern)
→ Interaktion von Disziplinen
→ Kontextspezifika entscheiden über Ethnographie → Schaffung von Kontext
→ Multi- → Inter- → Transdisziplinarität → von „information-sharing“ zu „knowledge-creation“

Literatur:
Ingold, T. 2008. Anthropology is not ethnography. In: Proceedings of the British Academy 154: 69-92. Online: http://www.proc.britac.ac.uk/cgi-bin/somsid.cgi?page=154p069&session=825683A&type=header

Nader, L. 2011. Ethnography as theory. In: HAU: Journal of Ethnographic Theory 1(1): 211-219. Online: http://www.haujournal.org/index.php/hau/article/view/34

Strathern, M. 2005. Experiments in interdisciplinarity. In: Social Anthropology 13(1): 75-90.

References and resources on online ethnography

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Literature on online ethnography collected through the EASA Media Anthropology Network Mailing List
to contribute to this collection go to the network’s project wiki: http://www.media-anthropology.net/index.php/projects

Bell, David, and Barbara M. Kennedy 2000 The Cybercultures Reader. London : New York: Routledge.

Boellstorff, Tom: Coming of Age in Second Life, 2008. The volume, which is an ethnography by itself, has a full chapter on methods in online research.

Buchanan, Elizabeth A. 2004 Readings in Virtual Research Ethics : Issues and Controversies. Hershey, PA: Information Science Pub.

Hine, C. (2008). Virtual Ethnography: Modes, Varieties, Affordances. In Fielding, Lee, Blank (eds) THE SAGE HANDBOOK OF ONLINE RESEARCH METHODS.

Hine, C. 2005 Internet Research and the Sociology of Cyber-Social-Scientific Knowledge. Information Society 21(4):239-248.

Hine, Christine 2005 Virtual Methods : Issues in Social Research on the Internet. Oxford, UK ; New York: Berg.

Hine, Christine 2000 Virtual Ethnography. London ; Thousand Oaks, Calif.: Sage.

Littleton, K., and D. Whitelock 2004 Guiding the Creation of Knowledge and Understanding in a Virtual Learning Environment. Cyberpsychology & Behavior 7(2):173-181.

Markham, Anette: Internet Research. In Silverman, D. (Ed.). Qualitative Research: Theory, Method, and Practices, 3rd Edition. London: Sage.
Draft: http://www.markham.internetinquiry.org/writing/silverman2011draft.pdf

Markham, Anette: The politics, ethics, and methods of representation in online ethnography. In Denzin, N. & Lincoln, Y. (Eds.). Handbook of Qualitative Research, 3rd Edition (pp. 793-820). Thousand Oaks CA: Sage
Draft here: http://markham.internetinquiry.org/writing/denzingalleyproofs.pdf

Marshall, Jon (2010): Ambiguity, Oscillation and Disorder: Online Ethnography and the Making of Culture
http://epress.lib.uts.edu.au/ojs/index.php/mcs/article/view/1598/1859

Nardi, Bonnie: Night Elf Priest, prolog and first two chapters. Bonus: They can read it online for free: http://www.digitalculture.org/books/my-life-as-a-night-elf-priest

Pauwels, L. 2005 Websites as Visual and Multimodal Cultural Expressions: Opportunities and Issues of Online Hybrid Media Research. Media Culture & Society 27(4):604-613.

Preece, J., and D. Maloney-Krichmar 2005 Online Communities: Design, Theory, and Practice. Journal of Computer-Mediated Communication 10(4).

Schaap, Frank 2002 The Words that Took Us there : Ethnography in a Virtual Reality. Amsterdam: Aksant Academic Publishers.

Silver, D. 2004 Internet/cyberculture/digital culture/new media/fill-in-the-Blank Studies. New Media & Society 6(1):55-64.

Article: How “real life” issues affect the social life of online networked communities

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Budka, Philipp. 2008. How “real life” issues affect the social life of online networked communities. In C. Trupp & P. Budka (Eds.), Austrian Studies in Social Anthropology – Sondernummer KSA-Tage 2007 (Workshop Medien und Film), June 2008, 50-61.
Online: http://www.univie.ac.at/alumni.ethnologie/journal/abstract/budka.html

Abstract

Speaking of “the internet”, one often forgets that this is not a monolithic media technology, but a whole range of applications embedded in the life of people practicing these technologies. This paper explores on the one hand the social life of a publicly accessible mailing list that connects various indigenous and non-indigenous persons to form a global electronic network. On the other hand, it analyses a Usenet newsgroup, which is dedicated to the socio-cultural life in Austria. With the help of two cyberanthropological case studies the interconnections between “real life” or offline issues and “virtual” or online lives on mailing lists and newsgroups is demonstrated. The paper intends to show that “virtual life” never can be separated from “real life” and its issues.

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