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CAREER - Designing An Information Savvy Society - Assessable Participatory Information Environments

Project Lead: Andrea Forte (Principal Investigator)

Supported by: National Science Foundation, Division of Information & Intelligent Systems

About the Project

Novel systems of information production are changing the ways people create, find, and assess information. Socio-technical systems like Wikipedia and Twitter are becoming pervasive features of life for networked Americans and create opportunities for citizens to participate in information production and access information when and where it is needed. These phenomena create two complementary challenges for the design of human-centered systems: designing for information assess-ability, not just accessibility, and encouraging valuable contributions. Forte’s research addresses these challenges through the design of interfaces that allow people to better “see into” processes of information production to better assess their products and to identify valued forms of contribution. The proposed research uses a comprehensive set of empirical and design-based methods to strengthen our scientific understanding of technology-mediated information production and assessment. A second component is an educational initiative that highlights participation in information production as an information literacy skill. Specifically, this project will:

  • Construct models of how people with different levels of expertise in information production understand and assess the quality of information in participatory environments and how these understandings intersect with opportunities to contribute in valued ways.
  • Create novel, exploratory interfaces based on these findings to support information assessment and use these interfaces in studies to develop a design framework and guidelines for developing participatory information environments.
  • Validate this design framework through iterative evaluation of exploratory technology probes to systematically explore structural similarities in interfaces for different participatory environments.
  • As a complement to design activities and as a context for empirical studies, Forte will plan to design and implement information literacy education activities for students that encourage participation in public information creation. Forte will also introduce these activities to educators through local training efforts and plan to expand over the next five years to national and global venues with public endorsements from Wikimedia Foundation and Creative Commons.

Read Complete Project Abstract