Framework for Analysis and Visualization of Wikis

Large versioned text collections, primarily systems such as Wikis but also other hypermedia and collaborative authoring systems, have become important systems allowing contributions of text content by large numbers of users, best exemplified by the well-known Wikipedia system. They host large versioned text collections, meaning that a version history recording all changes to the text is maintained.

In recent years research globally has been focused on better understanding the factors that are important for the success and ongoing development of wiki systems, through analyzing and visualizing wiki data so as to reveal relevant patterns. This project will build on the PIs’ past work related to the analysis and visualization of wiki data and will define an over-arching framework for different kinds of analysis and visualization problems, tasks and techniques. A practical outcome will be analysis and visualization software that is planned to be released for public use.

• Develop a taxonomy of existing wiki research. To date there is no taxonomy that organizes the various kinds of wiki-related research efforts into classifications. Thus the fulfillment of this objective will be a significant contribution to the global wiki research community. It will also be the basis for this project’s main contribution, the framework for analysis and visualization of wikis.

• Develop a framework for analysis and visualization of wikis. This framework will define the process by which data is collected, extracted, pre-processed, analyzed, visualized, and eventually fed back into the wiki system in a loop that will make analysis and visualization results come to bear on active and ongoing wiki use. It will be of significance to both wiki researchers, who will be given a conceptual structure to relate their own research efforts to, as well as wiki practitioners, to whom it will explicate how various pieces of wiki analytics software can relate to each other and be applied to a given wiki system. This framework will be implemented in software.

• Develop a set of wiki analysis and visualization tools. Former and current master thesis research supervised by the PIs has already developed several prototype analysis and visualization tools. These will be developed further, modified to fit into the above framework, and subsequently released for public use by the global wiki research community as well as wiki administrators and developers. Feedback already received on conference presentations of these existing analytics prototypes indicates that there is significant interest in these tools. Releasing them to the public will thus be a significant contribution to the global wiki research community.

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