Research meets Web2.0: Augmented Social Cognition sheds light on
Coordination, Trust, Wikipedia, and Social Tagging

Paul Dourish  Ed Chi, Palo Alto Research Center

Seminar on People, Computers, and Design
Stanford University October 19, 2007

Over the last few years, we've realized that many of the information environments are gradually turning people into social foragers and sharers. People spend much time in communities, and they are using these communities to share information with others, to communicate, to commiserate, and to establish bonds. This is the "Social Web". While not all is new, this style of enhanced collaboration is having an impact on people’s online lives, so we've formed a new research area here at PARC to go after these ideas in depth.

“Augmented Social Cognition” is trying to understand the enhancement of a group of people’s ability to remember, think, and reason.  This has been taking in the form of many Web2.0 systems like social networking sites, social tagging systems, blogs, and Wikis.  In this talk, I will summarize examples of recent research on:

- how decreasing the interaction costs might change the number of people who participate in social tagging systems?
- how conflict and coordination have played out in Wikipedia?
- how social transparency might affect reader trust in Wikipedia?

Ed H. Chi is area manager and senior research scientist at Palo Alto Research Center's Augmented Social Cognition Group. Ed completed his three degrees (B.S., M.S., and Ph.D.) in 6.5 years from University of Minnesota, and has been doing research on user interface software systems since 1993. He has been featured and quoted in the press, such as the Economist, Time Magazine, LA Times, and the Associated Press.

His most well-known project is the study of Information Scent --- understanding how users navigate and understand information environments such as the Web. His past works include an information visualization project called "Spreadsheet for Visualization" --- a data exploratory tool using a 'spreadsheet metaphor' that allows each cell to hold an entire data set with a full-fledged visualization. He has also worked on computational molecular biology, ubicomp, and recommendation/search engines. He has won awards for both teaching and research. In his spare time, Ed is an avid Taekwondo martial artist, photographer, and snowboarder.

View this talk on line at CS547 on Stanford OnLine and video

Titles and abstracts for previous years are available by year and by speaker.