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Transliteracies Design Charrette

Research-Oriented Social Networking


Feb. 26, 2010



Transliteracies is hosting a design charrette at UCSB's Bren School for its participants and invited guests. The charrette focuses on the Transliteracies RoSE (Research-oriented Social Environment) project, now in beta development (accessible to Transliteracies participants). But it also branches out in breakout groups to consider critical research problems related to socially-mediated computing and knowledge production—including expertise and networked public knowledge, data-mining and visualization of social networks, information credibility, fluid ontologies and metadata for social and historical research, and online reading and research environments.



Charrette Schedule (.pdf version)

Location: Bren School Rm, 1424. Breakout rooms listed below. See UCSB Map, E5 (also included in Event Guide).

8:00-8:30 Coffee & Refreshments  

Morning Session (Bren School of Environmental Science & Management, Rm. 1424)  (UCSB campus map, location E5)

8:30-8:40 Introduction – "From Reading to Social Computing: The Direction of the Transliteracies Project"
  Demonstration Project:
RoSE (Research-Oriented Social Environment)

RoSE Overview
– RoSE concept, system, and collaborative methodology

Transliteracies & Rose Overview Presentation

Methodology Presentation


RoSE "Stories"
– Examples of research narratives and arguments emergent from RoSE

Early Modern Group Presentation

19th-20th Century Group Presentation

Contemporary Group Presentation

  Reflections on Issues Raised by RoSE 

Thinking about/through Metadata

Metadata Presentation


Reflections on Visualization

Reflections on Visualization Presentation


What We Learned from Related Projects

Research Reports Presentation

  • Renee Hudson
    • (representing the Research Report Group,
  • dir. Renee Hudson)
11:30-12:30 Collective Brainstorming and Critique
  The purpose of this collective brainstorming/critique session is to think creatively and critically about the RoSE concept, the current implementation of RoSE, and future directions for development—with an eye not just on the project itself but on the larger trends and contexts (informational, social, academic, etc.) for which it serves as a thinking tool.
  • All charrette participants
    • Transliteracies faculty members and guest participants; graduate student developers and participants)
12:30-1:45 Picnic Lunch (catered)  

Afternoon Session

2:00-3:00 Breakout Groups I
(The outcome of each breakout group will be a “top-10” list of future research problems and opportunities in its area.)
Participants attend one of the groups in this time slot
  Breakout I.a (Bren 1520):
"Expertise and Networked Public Knowledge"

One of the challenges, but also opportunities, for the academy is to participate in the reinvention of the institutions, standards, practices, technologies, and media that channel "expert" knowledge to the public, and vice versa. What will be the future of "expertise" in relation to socially-produced knowledge or information networks that celebrate the "wisdom of the crowd"? How can expertise inform the network in the age of Web 2.0? How can the Web 2.0 network inform expertise?
     What are the top-ten research problems/opportunities in this area?  And is there a recommendation for a particular issue for RoSE to pursue?
  Breakout I.b (Bren 3526):
"Data-mining and Visualization of Social Networks"

One of the most important uses of information technology today is to facilitate data-mining and pattern-recognition across large amounts of data, with a result that is often presented for thought in the form of a visualization. However, the data-mining of vast social networks, whether in real-time or asynchronously, presents challenges that are at once technological, social, and legal. Visualization is also an area that, for many developers and almost all users, is poorly understood in terms of its theory, logic, history, typologies, and constraints/affordances. How do we data-mine social-computing information today?
     What are the top-ten research problems/opportunities in this area? And is there a recommendation for a particular issue for RoSE to pursue?
3:00-3:30 Snack Break  
3:30-4:30 Breakout Groups II
(The outcome of each breakout group will be a “top-10” list of future research problems and opportunities in its area.)
(participants attend one of the groups in this time slot)
  Breakout II.a (Bren 1424):
"Information Credibility"

Issues of information quality, reliability, authority, reputation, provenance, and accountability are increasing important in the current era of social computing. In the age of Web 2.0, traditional notions of credibility premised on hierarchically-organized and centralized authority become problematic. Public knowledge-production websites do an end-run around traditional accreditation methods by evolving elastic combinations of programmatic, semi-formalized, and informal distributed-authority mechanisms that call for a new understanding of credibility and authority. (See the work of the Credibility and Digital Media Project at UCSB, co-directed by Transliteracies faculty Miriam Metzger and Andrew Flanagin.)
     What are the top-ten research problems/opportunities in this area? And is there a recommendation for a particular issue for RoSE to pursue?
  Breakout II.b (Bren 1520):
"Fluid Ontologies and Metadata for Social and Historical Research"

One challenge for social computing today that is philosophically, socially, and technically challenging arises in the intersection between ontologies (systems for classifying people, relations, ideas, objects, etc.) and metadata (ways of making such classifications computationally-tractable through standard tagging or markup protocols). How does a Native-American community, for example, represent the complex relationality of its social relations and socially-inflected knowledge in global information systems whose metadata schemes presume a different pattern of how things fit together with other things (as codified ultimately in relational databases)? A simple illustration: where does a name like Little Running Bear (with any additional modern American cognate name) go in a database or TEI text-encoding scheme for "first name" and "last name"? A mainstream aspect of the problem: what are the social and technological solutions to mediating between bottom-up ("folksonomical tagging") and top-down ("controlled vocabulary") approaches on Web 2.0?
     The historical analog is also compelling: how do we translate between historical and contemporary knowledge-scapes? What do we do, for instance, with several thousand "anonymous" authors in 1600, or book "peddlers" in 1700 (not exactly equivalent to any social role today), or "apprentice" as a social role?
     Are there "fluid" ontology and metadata schemes that can negotiate? And, if so, can they be made computationally tractable? (See the work of Transliteracies faculty member Ramesh Srinivasan, e.g., "Fluid Ontologies for Digital Museums.")
     What are the top-ten research problems/opportunities in this area? And is there a recommendation for a particular issue for RoSE to pursue?
Handout to motivate discussion 
  Breakout II.c (Bren 3526):
"Online Reading and Research Environments"

Recently, there has arisen a new generation of experimental online reading and research environments, ranging from scholarly or open-source efforts such as Collex, CommentPress, PreE (Professional Reading Environment), Open Journal Systems, etc., to Google Books and other innovations in the private sector. Amazon Kindle, the iPhone, the Apple "tablet" and other hardware platforms for onlline reading also introduce new issues about digital and networked reading. Many of these developments raise issues that are simultaneously technological, social, cognitive, educational, aesthetic/design, etc. Many also currently constrain the issues through metaphors such as "document," "book," "file," "edition," "archive," "repository" that are no longer fully adequate to describe what these new distributed, aggregated, selected, and interactive "things" actually perform.
     What are the top-ten research problems/opportunities in this area? And is there a recommendation for a particular issue for RoSE to pursue?
4:45-5:45 Roundup Session
  The roundup session will feature reports on the "top-ten" research suggestions from the breakout groups. It will conclude with critiques and recommendations by the three external participants at the event: Geoffrey Bowker, Tad Hirsch, and Catherine Liu.
     The ultimately purpose of this design charrette is to reflect on possible future directions of research related to online reading and social computing, including collaborative and grantable ventures.
7:30 Dinner at Bucatini Restaurant, 436 State Street (at Hayley St.).  



Photo courtesy of William Warner

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