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Wednesday 05|23|01
Interesting Research Groups at Microsoft

I have recently come across a couple of interesting groups that are part of the Microsoft Research programs. The Social Computing Group explores the social aspects of multi-user computer systems. The work includes multi-user social applications, social interaction, virtual worlds, trust and reputation, collaboration, and story telling. Pretty interesting stuff with info about the history of the group, examples and explanation of current projects and links to associated articles, presentations and papers. I think some of this is very relevant when researching how people behave within community spaces.

Another interesting group in Microsoft Research is the Collaborative and Multimedia Systems research group. These people are researching and exploring aspects of online communication, collaboration, and communities and how technology can improve and enable better access and involvement. Again links to papers, projects and other material is available here. I am most specifically interested in the work they are doing around this topic:

"Social Analysis of Online Communities: Interfaces to social cyberspaces, such as discussion boards, email lists and chat rooms, present limited information about the social context of the interactions they host. Basic social cues about the size and nature of groups, reputations of individuals and quantity and quality of their contributions are all missing. Discovery, navigation and self-regulation are growing challenges as the size and scope of these cyberspaces expand. The Netscan project uses sociological principles and data mining techniques to address these challenges for newsgroups and discussion boards. Interfaces built using this meta information provide incentive structures that can catalyze the online social spaces through competitive cooperation and increase content quality and user satisfaction."

This touches on some research I am currently doing around Identity - especially within online spaces - as well as just trying to create knowledge about the socialogical aspects of online group behavior. This information behind motivation and behavior can help us create better tools and spaces.

I think it is terrific that Microsoft is publishing this info that we all can benefit from. Of course, this is not everything and they don't expose how they are using all this information. But some sharing is better than none.

Posted by erin at 11:32 AM | in Community

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