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Towards a Semantic Web of Community, Content and Interactions



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Towards a Semantic Web of Community Content and Interactions Anupriya Ankolekar CMU HCII 05 103 September 2005 School of Computer Science Carnegie Mellon University Pittsburgh PA 15213 Thesis Committee Katia P Sycara Chair James D Herbsleb Robert E Kraut Christopher A Welty IBM Watson Research Center Submitted in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy Copyright c 2005 Anupriya Ankolekar This work was completed under a grant from the Office of Naval Research Interoperability of Future Information Systems through Context and Model based Adaptation contract number N00014 02 1 0499 The views and conclusions contained in this document are those of the author and should not be interpreted as representing the official policies either expressed or implied of the IBM Corporation of Intel Corporation or the U S Government Keywords human computer interaction artificial intelligence computer supported cooperative work semantic web open source software communities semantic web applications For my parents iv Abstract The Web plays a critical role in hosting Web communities their content and interactions A prime example is the open source software OSS community whose members including software developers and users interact almost exclusively over the Web The OSS community constantly generates shares and refines content in the form of software code through active interaction over the Web on code design and bug resolution processes The knowledge and implementation experiences around the software content are implicit in the interactions in the community discussion forums on the Web The Semantic Web is an envisaged extension of the current Web in which content is given a well defined meaning through the specification of metadata and ontologies that can be understood by software agents This increases the utility of the content and enables information from heterogeneous sources to be integrated Although the individual components of a Semantic Web are fairly well understood there is a research gap in the application of Semantic Web to a specific domain This thesis work explores the application of the Semantic Web in the context of a typical OSS community the OpenACS community with a focus on the interactions around the bug resolution process The research answers three questions How to create a Semantic Web around the OSS community the software content and the interactions How to use the Semantic Web in the bug resolution process What is the potential impact of the Semantic Web on the bug resolution process and vice versa To answer these questions we developed a prototype Semantic Web system for OSS communities Dhruv Dhruv provides an enhanced semantic interface to bug resolution messages and recommends related software objects and artifacts Dhruv uses an integrated model of the OpenACS community the software and the Web interactions which is semi automatically populated from the existing artifacts of the community Comparison of Dhruv s recommendations with historical bug resolution data reveals that Dhruv is able to recommend relevant artifacts for bug resolution messages A qualitative think aloud study of Dhruv with OpenACS community members indicates that Dhruv has high potential of being useful to the OpenACS community Study participants found the enhanced semantic interface particularly compelling vi Acknowledgements This work could not have been possible without the advice and support of so many people First and foremost I would like to thank members of my thesis committee for their constant guidance along the way I am thoroughly indebted to them for their advice and guidance in turning a vague idea into a full dissertation work Throughout the ups and downs of the dissertation work I learnt constantly from my interactions with my committee Katia Sycara my advisor supported me throughout my doctoral studies even as I wandered through several research areas trying to find my own research direction From Katia I learnt to think critically about my own research and that of others I also learnt the importance of setting goals and deadlines as a means to achieving progress on the nebulous road to a dissertation Jim Herbsleb sparked my interest in the workings of open source software communities I had several enlightening discussions with him as I scoured the research landscape in this new area He was truly a mentor to me especially in the early days of my dissertation research introducing me to the members of the community and patiently helping me formulate my research direction I learnt to respect the discipline and rigor of good research from Robert Kraut He inspired my interest in group work and online communities and intelligent tailored support for them From the beginning Bob maintained a healthy skepticism about the potential of the Semantic Web which I found very stimulating Chris Welty provided me with the most direct support in my dissertation work helping me with several subtle aspects of ontologies Despite being a remote committee member he was as involved in the progress of my dissertation as any other member In addition to my committee I would like to Carolyn Rose for her guidance in the text processing aspects of this work She gave valuable feedback at crucial stages of this work I would like to thank the OpenACS dotLRN community in particular Carl Robert Blesius Michael Steigman and Andrew Grumet for being so supportive of this work and sharing their valuable time when it mattered most I hope to continue working with this community in the future I enjoyed being a part of the Retsina Lab and the HCI doctoral students group whose members have been always been ready for technical discussions and for attending my practice talks at short notice In particular I enjoyed working with Naveen Srinivasan Young Woo Seo and Joe Giampapa Massimo Paolucci was always a great colleague but has now become a good friend In the final days of my thesis work Catherine Copetas Sharon Burks and Karen Olack stood by in the SCS department to offer friendly help in smoothing the administrative procedures towards graduation and cheer me along Queenie Kravitz in the HCII made vii sure that the HCII had appropriate procedures in place for their first doctoral graduate Marliese Bonk provided excellent administrative support in addition to becoming a good friend Sumitra Gopal stepped in the last minute to help me find a place to stay in the crucial final days of my dissertation


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