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The Promise of Authority in Social Scholarship


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Presentation at the Charleston Conference on November 8, 2007

Published in: Technology, Education
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The Promise of Authority in Social Scholarship

  1. 1. The Promise of Authority in Social Scholarship Laura B. Cohen The Charleston Conference November 8, 2007
  2. 2. Evaluating content in The Good Old Days <ul><li>Simple Web sites were the targets of evaluation </li></ul><ul><li>All were basically the same phenomenon </li></ul><ul><li>Librarians developed a standard set of criteria to evaluate quality – source , authority , timeliness , comprehensiveness , bias , etc. </li></ul><ul><li>Quaint! “Authoritative bias” </li></ul>
  3. 3. Toward a notion of authority <ul><li>Today’s Web is far more varied </li></ul><ul><li>Extremely participatory </li></ul><ul><li>We first need to consider two small questions: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>What constitutes scholarly publishing? </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>What constitutes reviewing? </li></ul></ul><ul><li>The two questions are intertwined, increasingly social and technological </li></ul><ul><li> social scholarship </li></ul>
  4. 4. Social scholarship: a definition Social scholarship is the use of networked social tools to publish and interact with scholarly output.
  5. 5. Sample parameters of social scholarship <ul><li>Content </li></ul><ul><li>Metadata </li></ul><ul><li>Books, articles, etc. openly accessible </li></ul><ul><li>Wiki pages, edits </li></ul><ul><li>Blog postings </li></ul><ul><li>Comments, discussions </li></ul><ul><li>Annotations </li></ul><ul><li>Reviews </li></ul><ul><li>Quoted excerpts </li></ul><ul><li>Social bookmarks </li></ul><ul><li>Semantic labels (tags) </li></ul><ul><li>Links </li></ul><ul><li>Downloads </li></ul><ul><li>Votes, rankings </li></ul><ul><li>Prestige of authors, commenters, reviewers, bookmarkers, etc. </li></ul>
  6. 6. CommentPress plug-in for WordPress
  7. 7. “ Soft Peer Review” <ul><li>Explicit: annotating, commenting, voting, ranking </li></ul><ul><li>Implicit : tagging, bookmarking, downloading, viewing </li></ul><ul><li>All of this can build a case for quality  authority </li></ul><ul><li>Dario Taraborelli, “ Soft peer review? Social software and distributed scientific evaluation ” (University College London) </li></ul>
  8. 8. For example … <ul><li>You’ve published an article and </li></ul><ul><ul><li>It get lots of positive (or negative) blog postings from academic peers, lots of excerpts </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Readers discuss, debate </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>It’s bookmarked and tagged like crazy on, CiteULike, Connotea </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>It’s linked to and viewed umpteen times online </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Confers a verdict = new metrics of authority </li></ul></ul>
  9. 9. Social Scholarship <ul><li>Text + conversation + metadata </li></ul><ul><li>Conversation demonstrates the value of chatter </li></ul><ul><li>Metadata demonstrates the value of use </li></ul><ul><li>Put these together, and you begin to create a matrix of authority </li></ul>
  10. 10. A journal community model <ul><li>George Siemens, “ Scholarship in an age of participation ” (University of Manitoba) </li></ul><ul><li>New open source e-journal in the works on emerging trends in educational technology and pedagogy </li></ul><ul><li>Collaboration of North American and European academics </li></ul>
  11. 12. Hybrid publication process <ul><li>Blending of traditional peer review with an informal, open review process </li></ul><ul><li>Article can move between the two paths </li></ul><ul><li>All articles that pass the formal review track and are published enter the social review process for annotation, rating, and discussion </li></ul>
  12. 13. “ A journal is an opportunity to move beyond content or information consumption. While ‘community’ and ‘journal’ may not appear to fit together well, journals typically bring together the prominent thinkers and interested stakeholders of a discipline. Enlarging the conversation of journals to include deep discourse on articles and annotation throughout, sets the basis for a democratic, social model of scholarship.“ George Siemens
  13. 14. “ Authority 3.0” <ul><li>Michael Jensen, “ The New Metrics of Scholarly Authority ” The Chronicle of Higher Education, 6/2007 (National Academies) </li></ul><ul><li>Identifies 17 computer-processed metrics that add up to authority </li></ul><ul><li>Relies on open digital publishing and its accompanying metadata </li></ul><ul><li>In 10-15 years, Authority 3.0 will dominate scholarly publishing </li></ul>
  14. 15. Challenges of Authority 3.0 <ul><li>Identifying the metrics </li></ul><ul><li>Dealing with the huge potential variety and scale of these metrics </li></ul><ul><li>Figuring out how to gather and interpret this data to derive measures of authority </li></ul>
  15. 16. One example <ul><li>UC Santa Cruz Wiki Lab </li></ul><ul><li>Wikipedia Trust Coloring Demo </li></ul><ul><ul><li>“ Content-driven reputation” of authors computed by text analysis </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Compute a “text trust” based on authors whose contributions are preserved or built-upon vs. revised </li></ul></ul>
  16. 18. What librarians can do <ul><li>See ourselves in the forefront of new publishing models that are shaping the future of scholarly communication </li></ul><ul><li>Track developments in social scholarship </li></ul><ul><li>Practice social scholarship ourselves </li></ul><ul><li>Adjust our pedagogy </li></ul>
  17. 19. What librarians can do <ul><li>Train faculty and students to practice social scholarship, as producers and consumers </li></ul><ul><li>Host, promote social scholarship platforms for our faculty and students </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Control, quality, stability, preservation </li></ul></ul>
  18. 20. What librarians can do <ul><li>Dialog with publishers </li></ul><ul><li>Ask publishers to host publishing models that support social scholarship </li></ul><ul><li>Ask publishers to do R&D – cooperatively with other publishers and academic institutions </li></ul>
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