Social Navigation and Local Folksonomies: Technical and Design Considerations for a Mobile Information System

Social Navigation and Local Folksonomies: Technical and Design Considerations for a Mobile Information System

Mark Bilandzic (Technische Universität München, Germany) and Marcus Foth (Queensland University of Technology, Australia)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-60566-208-4.ch005
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Abstract

Web services such as wikis, blogs, podcasting, file sharing and social networking are frequently referred to by the term Web 2.0. The innovation of these services lies in their ability to enable an increasing number of users to actively participate on the Internet by creating and sharing their own content and help develop a collective intelligence. In this chapter the authors discuss how they use Web 2.0 techniques such as “folksonomy” and “geo-tagging” in a mobile information system to collect and harness the everyday connections and local knowledge of urban residents in order to support their social navigation practices.
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Introduction

Our physical world holds certain characteristics that enable us to interpret what other people have done, how they behaved, and where they have travelled. Sometimes, we can see traces on physical objects that provide hints about people’s actions in the past. Footprints on the ground left by previous walkers can show us the right way through a forest or, in a library, for example, dog-eared books with well thumbed pages might be worthwhile reading as they indicate the popularity of the text. The phenomenon of people making decisions about their actions based on what other people have done in the past or what other people have recommended doing, forms part of our everyday social navigation (Dourish & Chalmers, 1994). In contrast to physical objects, digital information has no such ‘visible’ interaction history per se. We do not see how many people have listened to an MP3 file or read a Webpage. In a digital environment people do not leave interaction traces, leaving us, according to Erickson and Kellogg (2000), ‘socially blind’. However, the high value placed on social navigation in the physical world has motivated people to start thinking about it as a general design approach for digital information systems as well (A. Dieberger, 1995; A. Dieberger, 1997; Forsberg, Höök, & Svensson, 1998; Svensson, Höök, & Cöster, 2005; Wexelblat & Maes, 1999).

This chapter explores some of the technical and design considerations that underpin the conception and development of a mobile information system called CityFlocks. It enables visitors and new residents of a city to tap into the knowledge and experiences of local residents and gather information about their new environment. Its design specifically aims to lower existing barriers of access and facilitate social navigation in urban places. The technical development phase and the empirical usability research of CityFlocks has been reported elsewhere (Bilandzic, Foth, & De Luca, 2008). The purpose and focus of this chapter is to discuss the underlying design concepts that informed this social software. These concepts are positioned at the intersection of three broad areas of research and development that inform human-centred and participatory methods for designing interactive social networking systems on mobile platforms: social navigation, Web 2.0, and mobile spatial interaction (Figure 1).

Figure 1.

CityFlocks is placed in an interdisciplinary field, embracing topics in social navigation, mobile spatial interaction and Web 2.0 technology

First, the concept of social navigation and how people make use of it in the physical world are examined. Relevant previous studies and examples are discussed that apply social navigation as a design approach, e.g., for virtual information spaces on the Web. Based on the success and popularity of what has now been coined ‘Web 2.0’ services, the second part of this chapter analyses a number of Web development trends that foster participatory culture and the creation and exchange of user generated content. Some of these developments that introduced more and more social interaction and navigation methods to the Web, such as user participation, folksonomy and geo-tagging, were reappropriated to inform the design of CityFlocks. Given new generation mobile phones that allow global positioning, Web 2.0 technologies that were initially aimed to facilitate social navigation on the Web, can now be used to facilitate social navigation in physical places. The third part of the chapter discusses related projects in the field of mobile spatial interaction, a research area covering mobile applications that deal with information related to the user’s surroundings. The review of the aims, strengths and weaknesses of previous research projects in this field refines the research trajectory which guides the development of the CityFlocks prototype and potentially similar mobile information systems. The chapter thus reveals further opportunities and issues regarding social navigation in the context of new generation mobile phone services, the ‘Mobile Web 2.0’ (Jaokar & Fish, 2006).

Key Terms in this Chapter

Geo-tagging: An approach which adds latitude and longitude identifiers as metadata to online content. It enables people to embed their information resources such as text, pictures or videos in a specific spatial and semantic context to augment the physical world with virtual information. Such a mediated social environment can help people navigate physical spaces by using location aware mobile devices.

Local Knowledge: Knowledge, or even knowing, is the justified belief that something is true. Knowledge is thus different from opinion. Local knowledge refers to facts and information acquired by a person which are relevant to a specific locale or have been elicited from a place-based context. It can also include specific skills or experiences made in a particular location. In this regard, local knowledge can be tacitly held, that is, knowledge we draw upon to perform and act but we may not be able to easily and explicitly articulate it: “We can know things, and important things, that we cannot tell” (Polanyi, 1966).

Mobile Web 2.0: The suite of systems and mobile devices which either run existing Web 2.0 applications or re-appropriate Web 2.0 characteristics (tagging, user participation, mash-ups, personalisation, recommendations, social networking, collective intelligence, etc.) for the specific context of mobile use and mobile devices.

Mobile Spatial Interaction: The increasing ubiquity of location and context-aware mobile devices and applications, geographic information systems (GIS) and sophisticated 3D representations of the physical world accessible by lay users is enabling more people to access information relevant to their current surroundings. The relationship between users and devices as well as the emerging oportunities and affordances are summarised by the term ‘mobile spatial interaction’.

Folksonomy: In the context of the Web 2.0 discussion, a folksonomy (sometimes also known as a ‘tag cloud’) is a user-generated taxonomy made up of key terms that describe online content. By assigning these freestyle keywords or so-called ‘tags’, the semantics of various information resources can be described in a more flexible, decentralised, collaborative and participatory way than fixed categories allow for. The term has been coined by Thomas Vander Wal.

Social Navigation: The process of guiding activities aimed at determining our position and planning and following a specific route based on what other people have done or what other people have recommended doing. First introduced by Dourish and Chalmers (1994), they describe it as ‘moving towards a cluster of other people, or selecting objects because others have been examining them’.

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Editorial Advisory Board
Table of Contents
Foreword
Jennifer Preece
Acknowledgment
Stylianos Hatzipanagos, Steven Warburton
Chapter 1
Jon Dron, Terry Anderson
Understanding the affordances, effectiveness and applicability of new media in multiple contexts is usually a slow and evolving process with many... Sample PDF
How the Crowd Can Teach
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Chapter 2
Chris Abbott, William Alder
Although social networking has been enthusiastically embraced by large numbers of children and young people, their schools and colleges have been... Sample PDF
Social Networking and Schools: Early Responses and Implications for Practice
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Chapter 3
Eleni Berki, Mikko Jäkälä
Information and communication technology gradually transform virtual communities to active meeting places for sharing information and for supporting... Sample PDF
Cyber-Identities and Social Life in Cyberspace
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Chapter 4
Werner Beuschel
Weblogs are a popular form of Social Software, supporting personal Web authoring as well as innovative forms of social interaction via internet. The... Sample PDF
Weblogs in Higher Education
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Chapter 5
Mark Bilandzic, Marcus Foth
Web services such as wikis, blogs, podcasting, file sharing and social networking are frequently referred to by the term Web 2.0. The innovation of... Sample PDF
Social Navigation and Local Folksonomies: Technical and Design Considerations for a Mobile Information System
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Chapter 6
Rakesh Biswas, Carmel M. Martin, Joachim Sturmberg, Kamalika Mukherji, Edwin Wen Huo Lee, Shashikiran Umakanth
The chapter starts from the premise that illness and healthcare are predominantly social phenomena that shape the perspectives of key stakeholders... Sample PDF
Social Cognitive Ontology and User Driven Healthcare
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Chapter 7
Jillianne R. Code, Nicholas E. Zaparyniuk
Central to research in social psychology is the means in which communities form, attract new members, and develop over time. Research has found that... Sample PDF
Social Identities, Group Formation, and the Analysis of Online Communities
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Chapter 8
Jillianne R. Code, Nicholas E. Zaparyniuk
Social and group interactions in online and virtual communities develop and evolve from expressions of human agency. The exploration of the... Sample PDF
The Emergence of Agency in Online Social Networks
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Chapter 9
A. Malizia, A. De Angeli, S. Levialdi, I. Aedo Cuevas
The User Experience (UX) is a crucial factor for designing and enhancing the user satisfaction when interacting with a computational tool or with a... Sample PDF
Exploiting Collaborative Tagging Systems to Unveil the User-Experience of Web Contents: An Operative Proposal
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Chapter 10
Utpal M. Dholakia, Richard Baraniuk
Open Education Programs provide a range of digitized educational resources freely to educators, students, and self-learners to use and reuse for... Sample PDF
The Roles of Social Networks and Communities in Open Education Programs
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Chapter 11
Sebastian Fiedler, Kai Pata
This chapter discusses how the construction of an adequate design and intervention framework for distributed learning environments might be... Sample PDF
Distributed Learning Environments and Social Software: In Search for a Framework of Design
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Chapter 12
Yoni Ryan, Robert Fitzgerald
This chapter considers the potential of social software to support learning in higher education. It outlines a current project funded by the then... Sample PDF
Exploring the Role of Social Software in Higher Education
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Chapter 13
Kathryn Gow
This chapter focuses on the identification of a range of competencies that entry level workers, and thus graduating students, will need to acquire... Sample PDF
Identifying New Virtual Competencies for the Digital Age: Essential Tools for Entry Level Workers
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Chapter 14
Jerald Hughes, Scott Robinson
This chapter examines interaction-oriented virtual religious communities online in the light of sociological theory of religious communities. The... Sample PDF
Social Structures of Online Religious Communities
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Chapter 15
Helen Keegan, Bernard Lisewski
This chapter explores emergent behaviours in the use of social software across multiple online communities of practice where informal learning... Sample PDF
Living, Working, Teaching and Learning by Social Software
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Chapter 16
Lucinda Kerawalla, Shailey Minocha, Gill Kirkup, Gráinne Conole
With a variety of asynchronous communication and collaboration tools and environments such as Wikis, blogs, and forums, it can be increasingly... Sample PDF
Supporting Student Blogging in Higher Education
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Chapter 17
Lisa Kervin, Jessica Mantei, Anthony Herrington
This chapter examines blogging as a social networking tool to engage final year preservice teachers in reflective processes. Using a developed Web... Sample PDF
Blogs as a Social Networking Tool to Build Community
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Chapter 18
Jennifer Ann Linder-VanBerschot
The objective of this chapter is to introduce a model that outlines the evolution of knowledge and sustainable innovation of community through the... Sample PDF
A Model for Knowledge and Innovation in Online Education
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Chapter 19
Petros Lameras, Iraklis Paraskakis, Philipa Levy
This chapter focuses on discussing the use of social software from a social constructivist perspective. In particular, the chapter explains how... Sample PDF
Using Social Software for Teaching and Learning in Higher Education
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Chapter 20
Dimitris Bibikas, Iraklis Paraskakis, Alexandros G. Psychogios, Ana C. Vasconcelos
The aim of this chapter is to investigate the potential role of social software inside business settings in integrating knowledge exploitation and... Sample PDF
The Potential of Enterprise Social Software in Integrating Exploitative and Explorative Knowledge Strategies
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Chapter 21
M. C. Pettenati, M. E. Cigognini, E. M.C. Guerin, G. R. Mangione
In this chapter the authors identify the Personal Knowledge Management (PKM) pre-dispositions, skills and competences of the current effective... Sample PDF
Personal Knowledge Management Skills for Lifelong-Learners 2.0
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Chapter 22
Sharon Markless, David Streatfield
This chapter questions whether the shift from the Web as a vehicle for storing and transmitting information to the new Web as a series of social... Sample PDF
Reconceptualising Information Literacy for the Web 2.0 Environment?
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Chapter 23
Catherine McLoughlin, Mark J.W. Lee
Learning management systems (LMS’s) that cater for geographically dispersed learners have been widely available for a number of years, but many... Sample PDF
Pedagogical Responses to Social Software in Universities
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Chapter 24
Alexandra Okada, Simon Buckingham Shum, Michelle Bachler, Eleftheria Tomadaki, Peter Scott, Alex Little, Marc Eisenstadt
The aim of this chapter is to overview the ways in which knowledge media technologies create opportunities for social learning. The Open Content... Sample PDF
Knowledge Media Tools to Foster Social Learning
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Chapter 25
Luc Pauwels, Patricia Hellriegel
This chapter looks into YouTube as one of the most popular Social Software platforms, challenging the dominant discourse with its focus on community... Sample PDF
A Critical Cultural Reading of "YouTube"
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Chapter 26
Ismael Peña-López
The author of this chapter proposes the concept of the Personal Research Portal (PRP) – a mesh of social software applications to manage knowledge... Sample PDF
The Personal Research Portal
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Chapter 27
Andrew Ravenscroft, Musbah Sagar, Enzian Baur, Peter Oriogun
This chapter will present a new approach to designing learning interactions and experiences that reconciles relatively stable learning processes... Sample PDF
Ambient Pedagogies, Meaningful Learning and Social Software
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Chapter 28
V. Sachdev, S. Nerur, J. T.C. Teng
With the trend towards social interaction over the Internet and the mushrooming of Web sites such as MySpace, Facebook and YouTube in the social... Sample PDF
Interactivity Redefined for the Social Web
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Chapter 29
Sue Thomas, Chris Joseph, Jess Laccetti, Bruce Mason, Simon Perril, Kate Pullinger
Transliteracy might provide a unifying perspective on what it means to be literate in the 21st Century. It is not a new behaviour but has been... Sample PDF
Transliteracy as a Unifying Perspective
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Chapter 30
Martin Weller, James Dalziel
This chapter looks at some of the areas of tension between the new social networking, Web 2.0 communities and the values of higher education. It... Sample PDF
Bridging the Gap Between Web 2.0 and Higher Education
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Chapter 31
Steve Wheeler
The use of group oriented software, or groupware, encourages students to generate their own content (McGill et al, 2005) and can foster supportive... Sample PDF
Destructive Creativity on the Social Web: Learning through Wikis in Higher Education
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Chapter 32
Scott Wilson
This chapter describes the mechanisms of presence in social networks and presents an ontology that frames the purpose, content, methods of... Sample PDF
Presence in Social Networks
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