Enhancing Digital Libraries with Social Navigation: The Case of Ensemble

Brusilovsky, P., Cassel, L., Delcambre, L., Fox, E., Furuta, R., Garcia, D., Shipman, F., et al. (2010). Enhancing Digital Libraries with Social Navigation: The Case of Ensemble. In M. Lalmas, J. Jose, A. Rauber, F. Sebastiani, & I. Frommholz (Eds.), Research and Advanced Technology for Digital Libraries, Lecture Notes in Computer Science (Vol. 6273, pp. 116-123). Springer Berlin / Heidelberg. Retrieved from http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/978-3-642-15464-5_13

Abstract. A traditional library is a social place, however the social nature of the
library is typically lost when the library goes digital. This paper argues social
navigation, an important group of social information access techniques, could
be used to replicate some social features of traditional libraries and to enhance
the user experience. Using the case of Ensemble, a major educational digital
library, the paper describes how social navigation could be used to extend digital
library portals, how social wisdom can be collected, and how it can be used
to guide portal users to valuable resources.

The Ensemble project aims to replicate the social features of a traditional library in a digital library by collecting user interaction data. This leads to “Social navigation” which “guides users to useful and interesting resources through adaptive link annotation and link recommendation.” The interaction collected in Ensemble inlcudes: “both traditional low-level user actions suchas resource browsing, rating, commenting, and tagging; and higher level structural actions such as fragment extraction and composition.” The collection of this data allows the modelling of a form of collective-wisdom. Users can then have resources suggested to them by the system based on their social activity, and the system provides “social navigation” to the user.

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