Collaborative Search and Communities of Interest: Trends in Knowledge Sharing and Assessment

Ina Fourie (University of Pretoria)

Online Information Review

ISSN: 1468-4527

Article publication date: 9 August 2011




Fourie, I. (2011), "Collaborative Search and Communities of Interest: Trends in Knowledge Sharing and Assessment", Online Information Review, Vol. 35 No. 4, pp. 686-687.



Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2011, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Collaboration is becoming increasingly important. It is linked to communities of interest as well as knowledge management and exploitation of the internet. Collaborative Search and Community Interest addresses various issues of communities of interest. Although the contributions are mostly from Belgium, followed by Italy, Spain and Germany, there are also two chapters by Australian authors. According to Francq, the value of the book lies in bringing together studies of different kinds of collaboration on the Internet, and the several dimensions that have been noted in this regard – namely sociological, psychological and technical. The intention is to build a bridge between different research communities and to initiate fruitful discussions, and I think the contributors have succeeded very well in this.

The issues addressed include automatic community detection, collaborative decision‐taking processes, collective intelligence, community‐oriented models and algorithms, conceptual frameworks, user‐generated metadata, Internet‐based information filtering, knowledge sharing, online collaboration platforms, research and development tools and social networking. The book also addresses technical issues such as technologies and algorithms to solve problems, models that can address research problems, overviews of the kind of information that can be exploited by computer programs. Chapters focusing on applications bring forward examples of the impact of communities of practice and collaborative search in real life.

Taking a more specific look, Collaborative Search and Community Interest consists of a preface, 12 chapters and a compilation of references. The first chapter sets the tone by addressing the Internet, collaborative search and communities of interest. Chapters 2 and 3 deal respectively with virtual communities to project‐drive mediated collectives and a comparison of Debian Wikipedia and the open directory project, and an introduction to recommender systems. Chapter 4 concerns the building of communities of interest by using latent semantic analysis, and Chapter 5 concerns collaborative recommendation systems and link analysis. Chapter 6 discusses a semi‐supervised algorithm to manage communities of interest. The next two chapters deal with P2P semantic coordination for collective knowledge organisation and collective filtering for web observatories. Chapter 9 explores the management of brief data and specifically collaborative trends around micro‐blogging for journalism. The articulation of tacit knowledge in multinational e‐collaboration on new product design is discussed in Chapter 10, with the applications of a social software model being discussed in Chapter 11. The final chapter deals with being part of a “people company” where a collaborative platform enables employees of a global company to present themselves.

As is typical in publications from IGI, there is also a usefully detailed table of contents offering a brief summary of the chapters. The book concludes with a somewhat basic index – for a publication in this field I would expect more detail and depth, despite the useful contents pages. It was also disappointing to note that a number of references seem incomplete, with either the publisher or place of publication missing, and in at least one occasion all information relevant to the journal is missing, i.e. the volume and page numbers.

Collaborative Search and Community Interest is recommended to researchers in information behaviour, collaborative information seeking and knowledge management, and especially those interested in detecting communities of interest. Although certainly a valuable publication, the price of US$180 seems substantial compared with other publishers in this field such as Information Today and Gower.

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