Collaborative Information Systems
& Reference Service
"There's a difference between information and knowledge.
It's the difference between Christy Turlington's phone number and Christy Turlington."
Description of this talk at the EI website
Me, my jobs, the quandary.
What is a Collaborative Information System?
- collaborative means a group, iterative information gathering and cycling (folding old knowledge into new)
- online usually, but offline can be okay too
- examples already: mailing lists, reading groups, conferences. SLOW
: what is the population of Bolivia. Now? How about now?
: where is there a good place to get BBQ in Austin Texas? Do you think I need to go to a doctor about this itchy spot on my elbow? I have a long narrow living room, how can I arrange my furniture
Berrypicking or iterative model
The Library as source
- Query is constantly shifting
- As search continues, new ideas and directions emerge
- Value of the search is in bits and pieces picked up along the way
: A library gives you SOURCES a blog gives you ANSWERS, maybe
Problems with sources
: authority, bias, microcontent
- wisdom of crowds
- book: http://www.randomhouse.com/features/wisdomofcrowds/
- Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Wisdom_of_Crowds
- wisdom of crowds rebuttal
- Digital Maoism: The Hazards of the New Online Collectivism
What are some popular examples?
facts vs opinions, these sites are great for opinions, a lot of what people WANT are opinions, actually....
And their usage is increasing
, sharply. "U.S. Visits to Question and Answer Websites Increased 118 Percent Year-over-Year"
- 37K MeFites
- 9,496 different users have posted one or more AskMe questions
- 13,485 different users have given one or more AskMe answers
- 325 of the 9,496 users have not given at least one answer
- 4,314 users have given answers but never asked a question
More Info and Statistics
- Ask MetaFilter: Going Where the Users Are
- MetaFilter Information
- Sites that anazlyze this information
- Run your own MySQL queries
Good question examples
AskMe wiki collaborations
What are some features of these sites?
"What distinguishes experts is their ability to support or refute claims with arguments of very high quality, to be extremely well-versed regarding the sources relevant to their case."
Sites have in common
- editors and users/commenters
- reputation and/or non-anonymous usage
- ease of use
- throttle control
- excellent search & retrieval mechanisms
- more likely to find an expert
- question can get refined on the fly
- answers findable for future askers
- high Google ranking
- aids in community cohesion
- people want to be chatty, people want to be fighty
- noisy, or requires moderation
- everyone's a comedian
- legal, medical, psychological expert help is sometimes needed
- format is difficult for those not used to it
- Basic level of "type in a box" ability needed
Could libraries could use this idea for reference services?
- Write a FAQ?
- or a FARQ
- for students
- for patrons
- as a guide
- about your area
- for patrons