FWF - PoSts - Pragmatics and semantics in social tagging systems

Project: Research project

Project Details


Social tagging systems, such as delicious and flickr, have emerged as participative and scalable alternatives to traditional forms of information organization. In social tagging systems, users tag resources (such as URLs or pictures) with tags for e.g. later retrieval or re-finding. The structures emerging in such systems (e.g. the latent semantic relationships between tags) have been referred to as Folksonomies, and are in the focus of recent and current research efforts that aim to understand the role of tagging systems in ontology learning, knowledge acquisition and information retrieval.
However, the current state of research offers little understanding about how these structures emerge in social tagging systems, and to what extent they are influenced by user behavior (i.e. the pragmatics of tagging). Conversely, we know little about how user motivation and behavior is influenced by emergent structures in social tagging systems. This project is concerned with the systematic exploration of mutual interactions between user behavior and motivation on one hand, and the emerging structures that can be observed in social tagging systems on the other.
The first part of this project focuses on the development of methods for the automated extraction of semantics from social tagging systems, also known as ontology learning methods (tag semantics). The second part focuses on analyzing users who are collecting information in social tagging systems, and their motivations and behavior (tagging pragmatics). Analyzing user behavior will yield novel insights into how and why users use social tagging systems, and what goals they pursue by using them. The third part of this proposal focuses on the combination of the two aforementioned problems, and tries to relate knowledge about user behavior with knowledge about emergent semantic structures, to better understand mutual interactions and influences between these two perspectives.
Based on preparatory work on emergent semantic structures of tags (Andreas Hotho, Würzburg) and user motivation and behavior in tagging systems (Markus Strohmaier, Graz), this project aims to identify and investigate mutual influences between those two problems. The combination of the participants research background together with the availability of a social tagging system that allows living lab experiments (http://bibsonomy.org, maintained by Andreas Hotho) puts this bilateral project in a unique position to address the defined research questions by conducting in the wild studies involving A/B testing or controlled experiments with live users. The overall contribution of this project is a better understanding about interactions between user behavior and emergent structures in social tagging systems, and opportunities to influence properties of social tagging systems.
Effective start/end date1/11/1131/10/13


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