What happens when people tag resources on the Web? Do they just mindlessly copy other people’s tags, or do they generate tags from a deliberate and meaningful activity? In fact they do both.
Seitlinger, P., Ley, T., & Albert, D. (2015). Verbatim and Semantic Imitation in Indexing Resources on the Web: A fuzzy-trace account of social tagging. Applied Cognitive Psychology, 29(1), 32–48. doi:10.1002/acp.3067
In this publication, we have invented a method which allows us to look into people’s heads when they tag. And we don’t need an fMRI Scanner to do it.
And in another recent publication we have shown that a recommender service that is based on both verbal and semantic processing actually performs better than many alternative approaches.
Kowald, D., Seitlinger, P., Kopeinik, S., Ley, T., & Trattner, C. (2015). Forgetting the Words but Remembering the Meaning: Modeling Forgetting in a Verbal and Semantic Tag Recommender. In M. Atzmueller, A. Chin, C. Scholz, & C. Trattner (Eds.), Mining, Modeling, and Recommending “Things” in Social Media (Vol. 8940, pp. 75–95). Heidelberg: Springer. doi:10.1007/978-3-319-14723-9
A very nice interdisciplinary work that has lead to high level publications in cognitive psychology (ACP), HCI (CHI) and Knowledge Management (CIKM). The main work was done in the MERITS project by Paul Seitlinger.
Scaling Informal Learning and Meaning Making at the Workplace
The nice thing about this keynote is that (I think) I managed to integrate some of the issues we face at the Learning Layers project revolving around the use of social media in informal learning with ideas around how shared meaning can emerge in social media. The second issue is addressed in the MERITS project thorough a number of experiments and computational modeling of socio-cognitive processes. In this presentation, I drawn on ideas of a cognitive ecosystem. I introduce results from a classroom experiment in which we were successful to instill different levels of semantic stabilization in four groups of students by means of a very simple manipulation. What happened was quite unexpected for us though …
I got quite some nice questions from the audience as well. Here are some of the ideas I picked up from that discussion:
- The connection of formal and informal learning: I think the Learning Layers project has a great strength in being able to cross different contexts. Going from a formal school or training setting into the workplace and the other way around. I think this should remind us educators that for the learners, there often is not really that big of a distinction between “formal” and “informal” as we like to think. Students just have to make sense of the different things they encounter in different contexts. And this is what you then call “learning”.
- What if the learning in a group stabilizes around some misconceptions rather than what is the “right thing to learn”: I get this question a lot. And of course many examples of what comes out of social media conversations shows that this is really a problem. The experiment was not really meant as a “good practice” or blue print of how to run a course. It was merely to study some phenomena that are interesting from a learning perspective (I think) and the means to influence them. The cognitive ecosystems view suggests that we as teachers should be a bit more humble in how strongly we can influence the whole learning process. But the experiment also shows that artefacts introduced into the learning process can have quite a significant influence. So there is hope for us, I guess …
This is a great example of successful interdisciplinary research! Paul Seitlinger started out with a psychological model of how people process tags in social web environments. We formalized the model and then conducted a few experiments to validate the model, published at ECCE and CHI.
Thanks to a very successful cooperation with colleagues at TU Graz, we now made it to one of the premier computer science conferences on information and knowledge management with a recommender that is based on these models.
Now it will be used in the Learning Layers project to give intelligent recommendations during human sensemaking tasks.
Seitlinger, P., Kowald, D., Trattner, C., & Ley, T. (2013). Recommending Tags with a Model of Human Categorization. In Conference on Information and Knowledge Management, CIKM’13, Oct. 27–Nov. 1, 2013, San Francisco, CA, USA. (p. in press). New York: ACM Press.
Together with colleagues at the TU Graz, Dietrich Albert and my former PhD Student Paul Seitlinger, I was recently successful in applying for an Austrian Science Fund (FWF) project. The project will continue a research route that I have been pursuing already for a number of years. We will be researching cognitive processes involved when people use collaborative tagging systems. On the one hand, this research allows to uncover some of the thinking processes involved when we use social web environments, and on the other hand it allows for exciting technological advances, such as intelligent recommenders.
Implicit and Explicit Memory in Collaborative Tagging
Supported by the Austrian Science Fund (FWF), Austria’s central funding organization for basic research, this two-year project starts on 1st October 2013. This is a cooperation between the Knowledge Technologies Institute at TU Graz, Austria (Prof. Dietrich Albert), and the Centre for Educational Technology at Tallinn University, Estonia (Prof. Tobias Ley).
By means of mathematical models of human memory and several experiments, the project examines cognitive processes involved during the assignment of labels (so called tags) to Web resources, such as bookmarks and photos. A model of a user’s categorization and subsequent labeling of a Web resource will be formalized. This model will then be applied in the design of an intelligent algorithm recommending user specific tags as well as Web resources.
A paper by my PhD student (Paul Seitlinger) and myself was accepted for this years CHI conference in Austin, Texas.
Seitlinger, P., & Ley, T. (2012). Implicit Imitation in Social Tagging: Familiarity and Semantic Reconstruction. Proceedings of ACM SIGCHI Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems (CHI 2012), Mai 02-05, Austin, Texas (in press). New York: ACM Press.
In the paper we examine how people imitate tags in a social tagging environment. Rather than just looking at the tags people use, we employed a multinomial model together with a specific experimental paradigm to study the underlying memory processes at play.
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