Overall Objectives
Research Program
Application Domains
New Software and Platforms
New Results
Bilateral Contracts and Grants with Industry
Partnerships and Cooperations
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Section: Research Program

Analyzing and Modeling Users, Communities and their Interactions in a Social Semantic Web Context

We rely on cognitive studies to build models of the system, the user and the interactions between users through the system, in order to support and improve these interactions.

In the short term, following the user modeling technique known as Personas, we are interested in these user models that are represented as specific, individual humans. Personas are derived from significant behavior patterns (i.e., sets of behavioral variables) elicited from interviews with and observations of users (and sometimes customers) of the future product. Our user models will specialize Personas approaches to include aspects appropriate to Web applications. The formalization of these models will rely on ontology-based modeling of users and communities starting with generalist schemas (e.g. FOAF: Friend of a Friend). In a longer term we will consider additional extensions of these schemas to capture additional aspects (e.g. emotional states). We will extend current descriptions of relational and emotional aspects in existing variants of the Personas technique.

Beyond the individual user models, we propose to rely on social studies to build models of the communities, their vocabularies, activities and protocols in order to identify where and when formal semantics is useful. In the short term we will further develop our method for elaborating collective personas and compare it to the related collaboration personas method and to the group modeling methods which are extensions to groups of the classical user modeling techniques dedicated to individuals. We also propose to rely on and adapt participatory sketching and prototyping to support the design of interfaces for visualizing and manipulating representations of collectives. In a longer term we want to focus on studying and modeling mixed representations containing social semantic representations (e.g. folksonomies) and formal semantic representations (e.g. ontologies) and propose operations that allow us to couple them and exchange knowledge between them.

Since we have a background in requirement models, we want to consider in the short term their formalization too in order to support mutual understanding and interoperability between requirements expressed with these heterogeneous models. In a longer term, we believe that argumentation theory can be combined to requirement engineering to improve participant awareness and support decision-making. On the methodological side, we propose to adapt to the design of such systems the incremental formalization approach originally introduced in the context of CSCW (Computer Supported Cooperative Work) and HCI (Human Computer Interaction) communities.

Finally, in the short term, for all the models we identified here we will rely on and evaluate knowledge representation methodologies and theories, in particular ontology-based modeling. In a longer term, additional models of the contexts, devices, processes and mediums will also be formalized and used to support adaptation, proof and explanation and foster acceptation and trust from the users. We specifically target a unified formalization of these contextual aspects to be able to integrate them at any stage of the processing.