Many companies are exploring the use of Web 2.0 social software for greater collaboration, innovation, and knowledge sharing. While the benefits of Web 2.0 are widely discussed, the coordination and interaction costs that occur in social systems are often overlooked. Based on extensive studies of social systems such as del.icio.us and Wikipedia, we have identified a number of factors that need to be managed in order to realize the full benefits of these systems within the enterprise. For example, some companies are starting to use social tagging systems as a lightweight form of knowledge sharing. In true Web 2.0 fashion, social tagging allows tag structures to emerge naturally instead of requiring users to conform to a rigid taxonomy. The problem is that resulting tag spaces are often very noisy, due to synonyms, misspellings, and morphologies. Our research has found that the cost to find information in a social tagging system increases as the size of the collection and number of users increase. One solution to this problem is to identify related tags in the space using semantic analysis and then normalize the tags across the documents in the collection to reduce noise. We have implemented this approach in a prototype enterprise social bookmarking system and created a search engine that uses the normalized tag space to improve search and discovery across the collection. In this session, we will outline results of our research in understanding the benefits and costs of social software systems and demonstrate features of our solutions.
Chi, E. H.; Lee, L. Web 2.0 in the enterprise. KM World & Intranets; 2007 November 6-8; San Jose, CA.