Information credibility on the web

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Internet Research

ISSN: 1066-2243

Article publication date: 4 April 2008


Kato, Y., Kurohashi, S. and Inui, K. (2008), "Information credibility on the web", Internet Research, Vol. 18 No. 2.



Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2008, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Information credibility on the web

Article Type: Guest editorial From: Internet Research, Volume 18, Issue 2.

Information credibility on the web

As computers and computer networks become more sophisticated, a huge amount of text-based information, such as that found in web documents, emails, and business related documents, has been accumulated and circulated. Such information gives people a framework for organizing their daily life, and is starting to have a strong influence on governmental policies and business management. Our society needs technology that exploits this wealth of text-based information for a wide range of purposes: extracting credible information related to a given topic (particularly when the query has returned answers from large documents); organizing extracted information in a purpose-oriented manner; classifying information into predefined classes such as facts and opinions, and so on.

This special issue is based on papers selected from those presented at the First Workshop on Information Credibility on the Web, which was held in Miyazaki, Japan, on June 19, 2007, in the context of the 21st Annual Conference of the Japanese Society for Artificial Intelligence. The aim of the workshop was to provide a forum to have discussion on broad issues related to the credibility of information on the web, including not only technical but also social aspects. Out of 15 papers presented at the workshop, five papers were selected for this special issue as a result of review process.

The first article, “Management of information-credibility risk in an ICT society: a social implementation” by Yayoi Hirose and Noboru Sonehara, investigates the implications of harmful rumors on credibility of companies or industries in the era of Web 2.0, where individuals can easily spread such rumors in the global scale. Based on the analysis of an avian influenza epidemic that happened in Kyoto, in 2004, they point out building trust with customers and properly transferring knowledge to non-experts are the key factors in tackling harmful rumors. The authors argue that ICT should be able to play a greater role in countering harmful rumors by swiftly providing relevant and precise expert knowledge to the consumers, but also stress the importance of taking into consideration the factors of trust when employing such technology.

The second article, “Evaluation data and prototype system WISDOM for information credibility analysis” by Hisashi Miyamori, Susumu Akamine, Yoshikiyo Kato, Ken Kaneiwa, Kaoru Sumi, Kentaro Inui, and Sadao Kurohashi, describes the Information Credibility Criteria project, which aims at developing technology which provides means for users to analyze information on the web in a multifaceted way in judging credibility of such information. The emphasis is on applying natural language processing technology. They have developed evaluation data, which is to be used for training computational models as well as verifying them. They also present a prototype system WISDOM, which allows user to explore the result of information credibility analysis from various perspectives, such as information sender, ontology, opinion, appearance, etc.

The third article, “A question answer system based on confirmed knowledge acquired from a mailing list” by Yasuhiko Watanabe, Ryo Nishimura, and Yoshihiro Okada, proposes a method to select credible information from mailing lists, which in turn is to be used as a source of knowledge for a question answering system. The proposed method takes advantage of the communication structure (i.e. question, answer, and reply from the questioner to the answer) and the linguistic cues to label the answers posted to mailing lists as positive (the information was confirmed by others) or negative (the information provided did not help).

The fourth article, “Taking sides: graph-based user classification for informal online political discourse” by Robert Malouf and Tony Mullen, reports the result of applying various natural language processing techniques to the problem of classifying political orientation of text in the domain of informal online political discourse. They showed that methods based solely on text did not perform well, and propose a method to utilize citation patterns of postings to cluster posters, which gave promising results.

The fifth article, “Classifying information sender of web documents” by Yoshikiyo Kato, Sadao Kurohashi, and Kentaro Inui, introduces the problem of classifying information sender of web pages, in view of the importance of information sender when judging credibility of information. They present a taxonomy of information sender, and propose a method for classifying information sender of web pages based on cues such as title or domain name.

Although the importance of information credibility on the web is gaining attention, the range of the problem is hardly delineated. We believe the wide variety of the articles presented in this special issue will stimulate discussion in this new field and help the community articulate the important issues with regard to information credibility on the web.


The authors would like to thank the reviewers for their valuable help in processing the manuscripts. In addition to the guest co-editors, the list of reviewers follows: Yunbo Cao (Microsoft Research Asia); Kazunori Fujimoto (Fujimoto Research Park); Hang Li (Microsoft Research Asia); Yumiko Nara (The Open University of Japan); Manabu Okumura (Tokyo Institute of Technology); Noboru Sonehara (National Institute of Informatics); Hideaki Takeda (National Institute of Informatics); Katsumi Tanaka (Kyoto University). Finally, the authors thank David Schwartz for providing them with the opportunity to organize this special issue, and his continued support over the process.

Yoshikiyo KatoKnowledge Creating Communication Research Center, National Institute of Information and Communications Technology, Kyoto, Japan.

Sadao Kurohashi Department of Intelligence Science and Technology, Kyoto University, Kyoto, Japan.

Kentaro InuiGraduate School of Information Science, Nara Institute of Science and Technology, Nara, Japan.