Project Team Edelweiss

Overall Objectives
Scientific Foundations
Application Domains
New Results
Contracts and Grants with Industry
Partnerships and Cooperations
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Section: Scientific Foundations

Social Semantic Web

Knowledge Management (KM) is one of the key progress factors in organizations. It aims at capturing explicit and tacit knowledge of an organization, in order to facilitate its access, sharing out and reuse [7] . The considered organization can be an actual enterprise or a public organization, but it may also just consist of a given department or service; it can also be a group, or a community, or a virtual enterprise (made of members possibly stemming from different companies, but sharing a common interest).

The former Acacia project approach relied on the analogy between the resources of an organizational memory and the resources of the Web. We considered that an organizational memory can be materialized in a community semantic Web [7] , [60] , that consists of:

According to [54] , Communities of Practice (CoPs) are “groups of people who share a concern, a set of problems, or a passion about a topic, and who deepen their knowledge and expertise in this area by interacting on an ongoing basis”. CoPs can be found within businesses, across business units or across company boundaries [66] , still they differ from business or functional units, from teams and networks: people belong to CoPs at the same time as they belong to other organizational structures. An effective organization comprises a constellation of interconnected CoPs, as these are privileged nodes for the exchange and interpretation of information. CoPs preserve the tacit aspects of knowledge that formal systems cannot capture. CoPs can be considered as a means by which knowledge is ”owned” in practice. Indeed, such groups allow the functions of creation, accumulation and diffusion of knowledge in organizations.

The Edelweiss project-team extends this hypothesis to virtual communities and considers that a support to knowledge management and cooperative work in a community can also rely on a Community Semantic Web or a Community Memory.

Initially concerned with formal and technical aspects, the Semantic Web community recently acknowledged the necessity to take seriously into account uses and users of Semantic Web applications so that such applications can be accepted by users and their organizations. An indicator of this new concern is the emergence of scientific events such as SWUI, the International Workshop series on End-user SemanticWeb Interaction (2004, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009), and more recently VISSW, the International Workshop series on Visual Interfaces to the Social and the Semantic Web (2009, 2010), which encompasses the social and semantic approaches to the Web. The aim of these workshops is to help Semantic Web application designers bring the power of the semantic Web to end-users, applying Interaction Design and more specifically Social Interaction Design. Interaction Design is the discipline of defining and creating the human interaction with digital, environmental or organizational systems. Interaction design defines the behaviors or interactions of an object or system over time with its users' population. Interaction designers create systems that are typically informed by research on users and their practices. Social interaction design accounts for interactions among users as well as between users and their devices. Social interaction design is practice-oriented. It is concerned with sign and symbolic value, social behaviors, etiquette and norms, groups and communities, structured interactions, and routines, sequencing, and temporal organization.

Interaction design is critical to a number of applications: an application may use state-of-the-art algorithms; if it does not provide a usable interface, it will not be effective. For interactions to be supported efficiently in a community, supporting tools have to be designed taking into account the nature, the rules, the protocols, the context, etc. of these interactions. In particular, community-supporting tools must: