Tuesday, 13 May 2008

Social Networking and Semantic Web Technology in Software Engineering

Dietrict, J., Jones, N., Wright, J., 'Using Social Networking and Semantic Web Technology in Software Engineering - Use Cases, Patterns, and a Case Study', The Journal of Systems and Software (2008), doi: 10.1016/j.jss.2008.03.060

The above article is the first piece of literature I've read on the subject of Semantic Web. It attempts to apply well-established social network methodologies to the Software Engineering community in order to share, discuss and rate patterns of code.

Although this article provides a new service for the community. The idea of the service in this particular instance is new and so too is it's implementation, but it's foundation of ideas and concepts are standard practice in today's social network applications. Despite this lack of creativity, the authors did, however, consider the 'trustworthiness' of the commodities they were dealing with. In the article, the authors attempt to gauge the trustworthiness of a resource using certain measurable properties such as average user rating, and number of inbound links. This is interesting because although these properties are already use to assess certain properties about a given object, I like that it is being used to judge trustworthiness instead of perhaps, more commonly, popularity. It seems today's applications are to caught up with including a social aspect that they forget to consider the consequences of doing so. Open-access, collective contributions may raises questions which simply aren't answered now:

  • What is this person's real background?
  • How can I trust what this person is saying/doing?
  • Why do they want my response?
  • What do they want me to do with my response?

I believe these questions demonstrate a natural inquisitive response for any slightly skeptical human being. They are real questions people may develop, and they are rooted in people's sense of security on the net. I think internet security will be another interesting issue to investigate, and it may provide some insight as to the fears of internet users in the future. These fears could be used to drive development of software to provide some kind of reassurance to surfers, and prove to successful.

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