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In July 2002, American social scientist Bill Dutton was appointed director of the Oxford Internet Institute at Oxford University in the United Kingdom. The Oxford Internet Institute (www.oii.ox.ac.uk) aims to become, according to its published mission statement, "the world's leading multidisciplinary academic centre focused on furthering understanding of the economic, political, institutional, scientific, legal and other social factors shaping the Internet and its implications for society." The OII's central view of the Internet is that of "a phenomenon that goes far beyond its basic technical capabilities and layers of diverse and increasingly powerful services and applications to encompass all the people, services, information, and technologies that are intertwined in this 'network of networks."' Six weeks after the Institute held its formal inaugural conference, Computing in Science & Engineering magazine asked Dutton, who previous to this appointment was professor of communication and associate director at the University of Southern California's Annenberg School of Communications, about his views on how the Institute can further our knowledge of the Internet's effect on society.