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Contextual Authority Tagging:
Expertise Location via Social Labeling

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This study investigates the possibility of a group of people making explicit their tacit knowledge about one another's areas of expertise. Through a design consisting of a modified Delphi Study, group members are asked to label both their own and each others' areas of expertise over the course of five rounds. Statistical analysis and qualitative evaluation of 10 participating organizations suggest they were successful and that, with simple keywords, group members can convey the salient areas of expertise of their colleagues to a degree that is deemed "similar" and of "high quality" by both third parties and those being evaluated. More work needs to be done to make this information directly actionable, but the foundational aspects have been identified.

In a world with a democratization of voices from all around and increasing demands on our time and attention, this study suggests that simple, aggregated third-party expertise evaluations can augment our ongoing struggle for quality information source selection. These evaluations can serve as loose credentials when more expensive or heavyweight reputation cues may not be viable.

This work is Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0

Defense (April 2011)

Defense Slides

Proposal (May 2010)


Proposal Slides

Comprehensive Exams (January 2010)

Tagging and Traditional Classification Systems (Barreau)

Delphi Method Weaknesses and Effectiveness (Wildemuth)

Impression-Formation Effects (Kalyamaraman)

Reputation System Components, Criteria, and Failure Modes (Windley)

Persona Convergence and Assumptions (Marchionini)

IRB Materials

IRB Application

IRB Revision Memo

IRB Attachments

IRB Information Sheet