A paper authored by a School of Information Studies faculty and doctoral-student team has earned one of two honorable mentions in the 2019 “Best Paper Award” competition of the Association for Information Science and Technology (ASIS&T)’s Special Interest Group for Social Informatics.   

Corey Jackson, Ph.D. (G’19), Kevin Crowston, associate dean for research and distinguished professor of information science; Carsten Østerlund, professor, and Mahboobeh Harandi, a doctoral candidate, were recognized for their work on the paper, “Folksonomies to Support Coordination and Coordination of Folksonomies.”

The term folksonomy refers to a user-generated system of classifying and organizing online content into various categories by applying public electronic tags to the content, usually done to make items easier to find later on. Sometimes called “social tagging” or “social classification,” the tagging can, over time, result in a classification system based on those tags and how often they are applied or searched.

The study is set within the context of an online citizen-science project, Gravity Spy, in which volunteers label “glitches” (noise events recorded by a scientific instrument) to identify and name novel classes of glitches. Researchers combined virtual and trace ethnography to explore the dual role of folksonomies and the work of labeling as mutually constitutive, where “an emergent folksonomy supports the volunteers in labeling images at the same time that the individual work of labeling images supports the development of a folksonomy.”

The group examined the development of these volunteer-generated classification schemes to better understand how such shared language and artifacts are, not only a guide for, but also a result of, collaborative work. They also developed conclusions that have implications for system design.

Submissions were evaluated on their relevance to social informatics; clarity of methods, findings, and implications; significance and contribution to social informatics research; and overall strength as deserving of the Best Paper Award.

The ASIS&T Social Informatics group will recognize all winning authors and papers during the organization’s annual symposium, this year being held in October in Melbourne, Australia.

The paper was published in the journal, Computer Supported Cooperative Work, volume 27, issue 3-6.