People Tagging (SOBOLEO)

In a nutshell

The People Tagging tool is a bottom-up competence management approach with a focus on finding knowledgeable individuals for a particular subject. It combines the ease of tagging with the collaborative construction of a shared vocabulary (competence catalogue), which can improve the search experience. Additional resources (web documents or local documents) can be integrated for a comprehensive intranet solutions.

Features

  • Bookmarklet-based tagging widget with tag suggestions based on the existing shared vocabulary and the content of the person‘s web page
  • Can be used on top of existing intranet employee directories or social networking sites
  • Lightweight, browser-based, and real-time collaborative ontology editor for competencies based on the SKOS formalism (synonyms, multilinguality, typos, broader, narrower, and related terms)
  • Recommendations for gardening the shared vocabulary
  • Semantic search for people, taking into account synonyms, broader and narrower terms, but also
    tag frequency, competencies of the taggee and several other heuristics
  • Display of aggregated people profiles

Technology

The people tagging tool is based on SOBOLEO, a web-based application realized with the Google Web Toolkit. The data representation is based on SKOS in a RDF repository. It is open for integration through its Web Service interfaces (both SOAP and REST are supported).

License

The tool is released under the GPL v3.

Sub sections

Parent section

Tools to Support Knowledge Maturing

Further information

Flyer
Demo site
Contact andreas.schmidt@knowledge-maturing.com for source code

Key publication to cite

2010

Simone Braun, Christine Kunzmann, Andreas Schmidt
People Tagging & Ontology Maturing: Towards Collaborative Competence Management
In: Randall, David and Salembier, Pascal (eds.): From CSCW to Web2.0: European Developments in Collaborative Design Selected Papers from COOP08, Computer Supported Cooperative Work, Springer, 2010

Abstract Competence Management approaches suggest promising instruments for more effective resource allocation, knowledge management, learning support, and human resource development in general. However, especially on the level of individual employees, such approaches have so far not been able to show sustain-able success on a larger scale. Piloting applications like expert finders have often failed in the long run because of incomplete and outdated data, apart from social and organizational barriers. To overcome these problems, we propose a collabora-tive competence management approach. In this approach, we combine Web 2.0-style bottom-up processes with organizational top-down processes. We addressed this problem as a collaborative ontology construction problem of which the con-ceptual foundation is the Ontology Maturing Process Model. In order to realize the Ontology Maturing Process Model for competence management, we have built the AJAX-based semantic social bookmarking application SOBOLEO that offers task-embedded competence ontology development and an easy-to-use interface. Following evolutionary prototyping within the design-based research methodology we conducted two field experiments in parallel with the system development in order to test the approach of people tagging in general and to explore motivational and social aspects in particular.

Contact

Andreas P. Schmidt

Knowing-who is an essential element for efficient knowledge maturing processes, e.g. for finding the right person to talk to. Many approaches like self-descriptions in employee yellow pages, or top-down competence management approaches have largely failed to live up to their promises. Often because information contained in the directories becomes outdated quickly; or is not described in a manner relevant to potential users.

The approach: Collaborative People Tagging

In MATURE, we are using a lightweight approach based on collaborative tagging as a principle to gather the information about persons inside and outside the company (if and where relevant): individuals tag each other according to the topics they associate with this person. We call this ‘people tagging’. In this way, we gain a collective review of existing skills and competencies. Knowledge can be shared and awareness strengthened within the organisational context around who knows what. This tagging information can then be used to search for persons to talk to in a particular situation. Moreover it can also be used for various other purposes. For instance, human resource development needs to have sufficient information about the needs and current capabilities of their workforce.

People Tagging screenshot - Searching

Foundation: Collaborative construction of a shared understanding

This needs continuous development of a shared vocabulary (ontology). Competencies usually have an integrating function in the enterprise, bringing together strategic and operational levels, and human resources, and performance management aspects.so that these notions have to be shared by the whole organization (in the ideal case): in consequence we cannot do this without a shared vocabulary – a shared vocabulary which the employees evolve in its usage, i.e. during the tagging or search process.

With our tools, the employees can tag each other with concepts from the shared vocabulary. In the case they want to tag with a topic the existing ontology concepts do not cover (e.g. because the topic is too new or specific), the employees can adapt an existing concept or just use a new term, without an agreed meaning. These new terms are automatically added to the shared vocabulary as “prototypical concepts”, reflecting the fact that it’s not clear yet how they relate to the existing concepts. The users can then remove the new terms from the “prototypical concepts” container and integrate them into the vocabulary and add additional information. The vocabulary information is also used as background knowledge to support the search process. That means the users can improve the retrieval by adding and refining vocabulary information. For instance, if the users miss entries in the search results because of missing links between concepts (e.g. entries with ‘Glasgow’ or ‘Edinburgh’ when searching for ‘Scotland’), they can easily add them. In this way, we can achieve a collaborative and incremental in-situ revision and improvement. Realtime collaborative gardening tools are provided to promote the convergence towards a shared vocabulary

People Tagging screenshot - taxonomy editor

MATURE explores the relationship of organizational culture and other specifics, e.g. tag/tagger visibility, degree of control for tags, reconcilability with works council etc., as well as the potential of analyzing the tagging dynamics for informing HR development strategies, e.g. identification of crucial new topics and developments.

Presentations

Flyer

A flyer describing the people tagging demonstrator is available here.

Related publications

2012

Simone Braun
Community-driven & Work-integrated Creation, Use and Evolution of Ontological Knowledge Structures

Abstract The thesis aims to support the collaborative development of ontological knowledge structures by communities of knowledge workers in order to facilitate the organization and sharing of information within their domain. One big challenge for today’s organizations and knowledge workers is the focused discovery of new information that is likely to be interesting and useful in order to generate new knowledge. But it is also the organization thus information that had once be found and identified as such can be rediscovered and shared. This is not only about the information itself but also about the people behind who hold the knowledge and e. g., may quickly provide assistance if there are questions. Knowledge about competencies and capabilities of its employees also is an essential need for an organization and its development. This encompasses activities like team staffing or identifying training needs. Research on ontology-based semantic (web) applications has shown that ontologies are well-suited for organizing and retrieving relevant resources being it people or documents because they connect information resources with machine processable background knowledge. However in practice, ontology-based applications still haven’t made their breakthrough. This might be traced back to the high effort and complexity of ontology development. On the other hand, folksonomy-based systems recently have proven to be agile and user-driven approaches for the same application area. They enable their users to collect, manage and share information resources in an easy and lightweight way. However, their lack of semantics also causes a number of problems plaguing tagging and hampering tag-based retrieval. To that end, this thesis explores how we can combine folksonomy- and ontology-based approaches so that we keep their particular advantages and avoid their disadvantages thus supporting communities of knowledge workers in organizing and maintaining a shared information repository. This is investigated in the application of Social Semantic Bookmarking and Semantic People Tagging. We present Ontology Maturing as a new perspective and conceptual model for the collaborative development of ontological knowledge structures. It supports (1) the development of a shared understanding, (2) the translation of Web 2.0 approaches to ontology engineering for more active participation, (3) the incremental formalization, (4) application-orientation & work-integration and (5) usable evolving models. To that end, we analyze the advantages and challenges of ontologies and ontology-based knowledge organization systems and make a comparison and consolidation of ontology spectra in literature as well as of ontology development methodologies and tools. A conceptual design framework complements the ontology maturing model. It supports software developers in deriving and realizing socio-technical systems that scaffold and guide ontology maturing in the application of Social Semantic Tagging for a given organizational setting. It considers technical as well as non-technical aspects. It organizes and provides methods and tools with that end users without modeling expertise can collaboratively organize their information with ontologies and develop the latter one in a work-integrated way. To that end, we analyze the advantages and challenges of folksonomies and folksonomy-based systems and classify tagging motivations and categories in literature. On this basis, we develop a general definition and model of social semantic tagging and its specializations of social semantic bookmarking and semantic people tagging. The SOBOLEO framework presents a flexible culture-system-fit framework and reference implementation of the conceptual model and conceptual design framework. It provides a configurable and extensible architecture as well as reusable reference data models for social semantic bookmarking and semantic people tagging and competence ontology maturing. The review of related work shows that SOBOLEO is a pioneer for SKOS editors and the first implementation for semantic people tagging ever. Following the methodology of design-based research, the model, conceptual design framework and technical framework have been validated and iteratively improved in nine case studies with more than 250 participants involved.

Simone Braun, Christine Kunzmann, Andreas Schmidt
People Tagging and Ontology Maturing: An Enterprise Social Media Approach to Competence Management
International Journal for Knowledge and Learning, 2012

Abstract Semantic People Tagging is an Enterprise 2.0-style approach to making expertise and individual capabilities transparent. By combining it with a collaborative ontology editor and thus the possibility to construct a shared vocabulary and understanding, it can be a supplement for cumbersome competence management, or expert nder solutions, which lack acceptance among employees, and suer from outdated data. It gives human resources a timely overview of available and required competencies based on peer reviews and actual usage. However, it also needs to be tailored to the cultural characteristics of a speci c company. Therefore, we have developed a design framework for semantic people tagging. We want to present the general approach based on the ontology maturing concept of gradual formalization and its implementation based on a social semantic bookmarking system. Focus group interviews with HR experts have further yielded insights into the wider context and validated the concept. The system has been introduced and evaluated at a company for career advising.

2010

Simone Braun, Valentin Zacharias
SOBOLEO – Editor and Repository for Living Ontologies
In: d'Aquin, Mathieu and Castro, Alexander García and Lange, Christoph and Viljanen, Kim (eds.): Proceedings of the 1st International Workshop on Ontology Repository and Editors for the Semantic Work (ORES 2010) at the Extended Semantic Web Conference (ESWC 2010), 2010

Abstract SOBOLEO is a web based system that enables groups of people to collaboratively develop and use SKOS ontologies and semantically organized information spaces. SOBOLEO supports the development and refinement of living ontologies – i.e. ontologies that are never finished and that are used and developed at the same time. It offers tools to edit the SKOS ontology used and the information space. It also offers interfaces for remote applications to be notified of changes and to change the ontology itself.

Simone Braun, Christine Kunzmann, Andreas Schmidt
People Tagging & Ontology Maturing: Towards Collaborative Competence Management
In: Randall, David and Salembier, Pascal (eds.): From CSCW to Web2.0: European Developments in Collaborative Design Selected Papers from COOP08, Computer Supported Cooperative Work, Springer, 2010

Abstract Competence Management approaches suggest promising instruments for more effective resource allocation, knowledge management, learning support, and human resource development in general. However, especially on the level of individual employees, such approaches have so far not been able to show sustain-able success on a larger scale. Piloting applications like expert finders have often failed in the long run because of incomplete and outdated data, apart from social and organizational barriers. To overcome these problems, we propose a collabora-tive competence management approach. In this approach, we combine Web 2.0-style bottom-up processes with organizational top-down processes. We addressed this problem as a collaborative ontology construction problem of which the con-ceptual foundation is the Ontology Maturing Process Model. In order to realize the Ontology Maturing Process Model for competence management, we have built the AJAX-based semantic social bookmarking application SOBOLEO that offers task-embedded competence ontology development and an easy-to-use interface. Following evolutionary prototyping within the design-based research methodology we conducted two field experiments in parallel with the system development in order to test the approach of people tagging in general and to explore motivational and social aspects in particular.

2009

Simone Braun, Andreas Schmidt, Valentin Zacharias
Mit Social Semantic Bookmarking zur nützlichen Ontologie
i-com - Zeitschrift für interaktive und kooperative Medien, vol. 8, 2009

Abstract Dieser Artikel präsentiert das SOBOLEO-System und das zugrundeliegende Ontologiereifungsprozessmodell für die kollaborative Ontologieentwicklung. Man kann beobachten, dass die meisten aktuellen Ontologieentwicklungsprozesse und -werkzeuge von einer organisatorischen, personellen, technischen und zeitlichen Trennung zwischen Entwicklung und Nutzung der Ontologie ausgehen – eine Trennung, die wiederum häufig zu kostspieligen und nicht an ihre Nutzung angepasste Ontologien führt. Unser Ansatz überwindet durch diese Trennung verursachten Schwierigkeiten mittels Methoden und Werkzeuge, die die Nutzer der Ontologie in die Lage versetzen, diese selbst zu entwickeln, und zwar im gleichen System, das die Ontologie nutzt und zu dem Zeitpunkt und Umfang wie jeweils nötig (arbeitsintegriert).

2008

Simone Braun, Andreas Schmidt, Ulrich Graf
Partizipative Entwicklung von Kompetenzontologien
In: Workshop Nutzerinteraktion im Social Semantic Web, Mensch & Computer - 8. Fachuebergreifende Konferenz - M&C 2008 (Sept. 8-9, 2008, Lübeck, Germany), 2008

Abstract Ontologiebasierte Ansätze haben sich im Bereich des Kompetenzmanagments, z.B. für die Zusammenstellung von Teams, als vielversprechend herausgestellt. Mit dem Modell des Ontologiereifungsprozesses präsentieren wir einen partizipativen Ansatz für die Entwicklung von Kompetenzontologien, der alle Mitarbeiter in einer Organisation miteinbindet. Dadurch können übliche Probleme in der Erstellung und Pflege der Kompetenzontologie, wie fehlende Aktualität oder unterschiedliche Granularität, aber auch der individuellen Kompetenzprofile überwunden werden. Zur Unterstützung des Ontologiereifungsprozesses für das Kompetenzmanagment wurde die AJAX-basierte semantische Social-Bookmarking-Anwendung SOBOLEO entwickelt, welche die aufgaben-integrierte Entwicklung von Kompetenzontologien zusammen mit einem einfach zu nutzenden Interface bietet.

Simone Braun, Andreas Schmidt
People Tagging & Ontology Maturing: Towards Collaborative Competence Management
In: 8th International Conference on the Design of Cooperative Systems (COOP '08), Carry-le-Rouet, France, May 20-23, 2008, 2008

Abstract Competence Management approaches, aiming at making transparent individual competencies and their relationship to organizational goals, suggest promising instruments for more effective resource allocation, knowledge management, learning support, and human resource development in general. However, especially on the level of individual employees, such approaches have so far not been able to show sustainable success on a larger scale. Piloting applications like expert finders have often failed in the long run because of incomplete and outdated data, apart from social and organizational barriers. This affects both competency profiles of the individual employee and non-adequate and often also outdated competency catalogs used as a vocabulary for the profiles. To overcome these problems, we propose a collaborative competence management approach. In this approach, we combine Web 2.0-style bottom-up processes with organizational top-down processes: Web 2.0 oriented bottom-up processes allow every employee to participate and contribute with low usage barriers; i.e. by tagging colleagues; the organizational processes take up and guide these bottom-up developments towards organizational goals. Key idea is that we cannot do competence management completely without an agreed vocabulary (or ontology), i.e. the competency catalog, but we have to make the process of evolving this catalog more collaborative and embedded into its actual usage (e.g., while tagging other employees). Likewise, we do not conceive competency profiles as self-descriptions, but rather as results of collective judgments of others. We approached this problem as a collaborative ontology construction problem of which the conceptual foundation is the Ontology Maturing Process Model. In order to realize the Ontology Maturing Process Model for competence management, we have built the AJAX-based semantic social bookmarking application SOBOLEO that offers task-embedded competence ontology development and an easy-to-use interface.