I was recently thinking about how people use search engines/google to help solve their problems. Based on an interview with close to 50 people, I found that the only way that people tend to find information to solve a problem or find a solution online, came down to 3 references which are friends & family, online newspapers and most referred to is Google.
So I started picking up some books at the library and doing some research online. I started to roam around the subjects of:-
- Information searching
- Information processing
- Internet searching algorithms
- Social information searching
After much searching, I stumbled upon a very interest academic field that I feel its very much related to the area I am working on. This field is called “Social Information Processing”. According to the AAAI 2008 Spring symposium, Social Information Processing is “an activity through which collective human actions organize knowledge.” It is the creation and processing of information through the use of tools of the following sorts.
- Authoring tools: e.g., blogs
- Collaboration tools: e.g., wikis, in particular, e.g., Wikipedia
- Tagging systems (social bookmarking): e.g., del.icio.us, Flickr, CiteULike
- Social networking: e.g., Facebook, MySpace, Essembly
- Collaborative filtering: e.g., Digg, the Amazon Mechanical Turk, Yahoo answers
- Social Information Aggregation
The topics being discussed are very interesting to the development of social media in government.
For more details click here.
- Tagging has already attracted the interest of the AI community. While the initial purpose of tagging was to help users organize and manage their own documents, it has since been proposed that collective tagging of common documents can be used to organize information via an informal classification system dubbed a “folksonomy.” There is hope that folksonomies will eventually help fulfill the promise of the Semantic Web.
Human computing and collective intelligence: What type of problems are amenable to human swarm computing approaches? How can we design the “wisdom of crowds” effect to benefit our problem solving needs?
Incentives to participation: How to elicit quality metadata and content from users? How can users resistant to tagging be encouraged to tag content?
Social networks: While users create social networks for a variety of reasons — e.g., to track lives of friends or work or opinions of the users they respect — network information is important for many applications. Globally, an information ecosystem may arise through the interactions among users, and between users and content. A community of users interested in a specific topic may emerge over time, with linkages to other communities giving insight into relationships between topics.
Evolution of social media and information ecosystems: How does content, and its quality, change in time? There is increasing interest in peer-production systems, for example in how and why some open-source projects like Linux and Wikipedia are successful. Under what circumstances are user-generated content sites likely to succeed and what implications does this have for information-sharing and learning within communities?
Algorithms: Before we can harness the power of the social information processing, we need new approaches to structured data analysis, specifically algorithms for synthesizing various types of metdata: e.g., social networks and tagging. Research in this area will provide a principled foundation for the development of new algorithms for social search, information discovery and personalization and other approaches that exploit the power of the social information processing.
There are several organizations working and researching under the same field. The emergence of this field looks exciting and promising. I recommend you take a look at all links:
- HP Research, Social Computing Lab
- IBM Research, Social Computing Group
- PARC blog: Augmented Social Cognition
Other relevant links related to this subject:-
- Page, Scott E., The Difference: How the Power of Diversity Creates Better Groups, Firms, Schools, and Societies, Princeton University Press, 2007.
- Lerman, Kristina, “Social Information Processing in News Aggregation,” IEEE Internet Computing, November-December 2007.
- Segaran, Toby, Programming Collective Intelligence: Building Smart Web 2.0 Applications, O’Reilly, 2007.
- Shalizi, Cosma Rohilla, “Social Media as Windows on the Social Life of the Mind“
I am also going to look into MashUps and API applications, so stay tune to the next post on your next visit. If you have any recommendations on other areas of which you feel I should explore, please leave your comments below.
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