It becomes more and more obvious that social networks become an important source for information retrieval. In my dissertation I will follow the argument, that the net (and the definition here is a bit vague - but will hold for a second) is moving from the early net (which was about linking computers) over the web (which is about linking information) to a network of connecting people on various levels (which is being described and termed as global social graph, lately). This brings up new possibilities for information retrieval and therefore has implication on information architecture and web application design.
But not only does the web provide a lot of information about social networks of people also the behaviour how people consume information has changed. Information access is more and more influenced by the networks we experience. The network of objects, network of information and the network of people play a more significant role then in the past 1. That means that information design and therefore application design for information systems needs to take this into account. Furthermore this kind of networks are not static, but dynamic in nature. Connections are created, used, forgotton or even disconnected again. There is a huge body of knowledge on design techniques for static information, but yet the design techniques for dynamic information are scarces. An interesting approach can be found in the work of Benjamin Fry in his master thesis "Dynamic Information Design" 2 and in his dissertation thesis "Computational Information Design" 3.
The web has become a standard for information search to most of the people in modern societies, it becomes more and more popular as a medium to connect people. One might argue that this was always the case and email is one of the email first tools that were used to connect people, but in recent days more and more not tech savvy people become of tools that help them to connect to friends and maintain friendships/relationships with new tools.
This is only a very brief description, what I thinking right now and what has kept me thinking the last month. But it seem's I'm not alone:
- Kevin Kelly - Four Stages in the Internet of Things
- Thoughts on the Social Graph
- Giant Global Graph
- Is the social graph Web 3.0?
Below you find a list of interesting papers, which try to explorer these new frontiers of information retrieval and social networks.
- John Kleinberg (2006). Social Networks and Information Retrieval
- Essir 2007 Summer School on Information Retrieval - Social Networks
- Peter Morville (2002). Social Network Analysis
- Bonnie Nardi
- Information Architecture 2000
- 1 Boyd, Danah (2007). "Information Access in a Networked World." Talk presented to Pearson Publishing, Palo Alto, California, November 2.
- 2 Fry, Benjamiin (2000). "Organic Information Design"
- 3 Fry, Benjamiin (2004). "Computational Information Design"