Purpose & Topics

Currently, there is a trend to web-based social software. Social software includes all applications that support communication, interaction, and collaboration between individuals. Those applications aim at establishing and maintaining social networks that act to a large extent self-organized. In the past, the internet mainly supported one-to-one and one-to-many communication like, for example, groupware, e-mail, and instant messenger. They led to more comfortable communication, but did not result in a cultural change. However, in the last years the use of the internet changed largely. Now, many-to-many communication via the Internet, like weblogs or wikis, is existent. The term social software refers to those web-applications. Social software changed the culture of web usage. Now, not only internet experts use the web, but also increasingly web novices, i.e., the new networks are open for everyone. An important feature of social software is that it operates according to a bottom-up approach, i.e., the users track their own goals. Hence, there is a development of exchange with others that contribute their own ideas and contacts. This results in a dynamic system of social relations, whereas its usefulness arises from the interactions, the network, and the emergence.

The workshop will be concerned with two strands of social software, namely participation and personalization. Participation and personalization can be seen as two of the most important features of social software. Both are closely connected in the sense of one being not meaningful without the other. Therefore, participation and personalization could be seen as two sides of the same medal.

Participation is the main requirement for the functioning of social software. It means that different people are participating in the process of a specific social software system: On the one hand, this participation comprises processes of sharing contents (e.g., information elements or resources, externalized knowledge) with others, i.e., adding contents to the system. On the other hand, participation comprises the access of parts of the shared contents. However, if there are too less resources within the specific social software system, the attraction of using its contents is low. Therefore, it is important to motivate people to participate in the sense of sharing their contents by including them in the system. If there is no perceived or expected gratification for sharing contents, people are often not willing to do it. However, in the context of social software, especially regarding Wikis, there are people that are motivated to contribute. The factors influencing this motivation are still unknown, but their importance is beyond all questions.
It is important to mention that the contents of a social software system can also be information about people (see below).

• The term personalization is used when content delivery of the social software system is adapted with respect to user demands. Personalization can not only refer to the adaptation of contents, but also of people, in the sense of finding suited cooperation partners. On the one hand, personalization can be achieved by active filtering out task-relevant information or suited learning partners from the large amount of resources or from a multitude of users of the social software system (active access). On the other hand, it can be achieved by automatically providing the user with individually relevant resources or with suited learning partners (passive access).

Technological as well as cognitive and motivational aspects are highly intertwined within both personalization and participation. Participation within social software focuses on social and motivational aspects and how they are fostered by technological means. Personalization within social software is mainly concerned with cognitive aspects and the impact of technology on adaptation of content delivery or recommendation systems.

The integration of both strands is essential to develop efficient approaches in the field of social software as effects of both are highly interdependent. For example, it is not enough to have a large amount of contents from a multitude of users in the social software system, as a user must still be able (or enabled) to handle the information flood. Thus, with higher participation more personalization is needed. Likewise, in order to provide users with resources adaptively, the data base to select resources from has to be sufficiently large. Hence, personalization approaches require high participation.

Contributions focusing on either technological or cognitive aspects of participation and personalization are welcome.

Regarding participation

  • from a mainly technological perspective, research is of interest focusing on different technologies for realizing social software systems, e.g.,
    • collaborative tagging systems,
    • participation tools, e.g. Wikis, Blog, or other self-developed tools,
    • specific computer-supported collaborative learning systems,
    • innovative technologies and architectures to support group activity, awareness, and telepresence,
    • methodologies and tools for design and analysis of collaborative practices,
    • a user interaction model for distance collaboration in e-learning,
    • ...
  • from a more psychological perspective, research is relevant focusing on the following aspects:
    • social networking in general,
    • problems of anonymity of the contributors,
    • problems of activation of people to contribute,
    • group awareness,
    • computer-supported collaboration,
    • ...

Regarding personalization

  • from a mainly technological perspective, the techniques underlying adaptivity are of interest, e.g.:
    • techniques for accessing contents, like key word searching systems for active access or Really Simple Syndication (RSS),
    • techniques for finding suited partners,
    • recommendation systems for passive access,
    • combination of inner-group and inter-group recommendation,
    • ...
  • from a mainly psychological perspective, contributions are welcome focusing on the cognitive aspects of adaptivity, e.g.:
    • requirements for determination or measurement of the suited amount of adaptivity
    • methodologies to determine both the suited amount of adaptivity of contents to an individual user as well as the suited amount of adaptivity of users, in the sense of finding efficient cooperation partners.
    • ...