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Enhancing the Social Web through Augmented Social Cognition research
We are experiencing the new Social Web, where people share, communicate, commiserate, and conflict with each other. As evidenced by Wikipedia and del.icio.us, Web 2.0 environments are turning people into social information foragers and sharers. Users interact to resolve conflicts and jointly make sense of topic areas from "Obama vs. Clinton" to "Islam."
PARC's Augmented Social Cognition researchers -- who come from cognitive psychology, computer science, HCI, sociology, and other disciplines -- focus on understanding how to "enhance a group of people's ability to remember, think, and reason". Through Web 2.0 systems like social tagging, blogs, Wikis, and more, we can finally study, in detail, these types of enhancements on a very large scale.
In this Forum, we summarize recent PARC work and early findings on: (1) how conflict and coordination have played out in Wikipedia, and how social transparency might affect reader trust; (2) how decreasing interaction costs might change participation in social tagging systems; and (3) how computation can help organize user-generated content and metadata.
Ed H. Chi is a senior research scientist and area manager of PARC's Augmented Social Cognition group. His previous work includes understanding Information Scent (how users navigate and make sense of information environments like the Web), as well as developing information visualizations such as the "Spreadsheet for Visualization" (which allows users to explore data through a spreadsheet metaphor where each cell holds an entire data set with a full-fledged visualization). He has also worked on computational molecular biology, ubiquitous computing systems, and recommendation and personalized search engines. Ed has over 19 patents and has been conducting research on user interface software systems since 1993. He has been quoted in the Economist, Time Magazine, LA Times, Slate, and the Associated Press. Ed completed his B.S., M.S., and Ph.D. degrees from the University of Minnesota between 1992 and 1999. In his spare time, he is an avid Taekwondo black belt, photographer, and snowboarder.
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