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International Journal of Information Management 28 (2008) 194–202 www.elsevier.com/locate/ijinfomgt
New learning network paradigms: Communities of objectives, crowdsourcing, wikis and open source
J. Alborsa,Ã, J.C. Ramosb,1, J.L. Hervasa
´cnica Valencia, Camino Vera s.n., 46022 Valencia, Spain Depto. Org. Empresas, Universidad Polite b Avanzalis, Knowledge Associates, Paseo de Gracia, 12, 11 08007 Barcelona, Spain
Abstract This paper analyzes the new learning and network collaboration paradigms, their motivation and consequences. The origins of these practices are traced to the development of the Internet and the impact of globalization. The paper analyzes their advantages and the factors which have led to their development. Three contexts or diverse points of view have been followed: academic and scientiﬁc, business and social. The paper aims to develop and propose a taxonomy of these practices according to certain variables related to communication, social interaction, information, intellectual property, knowledge access and values. r 2007 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.
Keywords: Networks; Communities; Virtual groups
1. Introduction 1.1. Objectives The objective of this paper is to analyze, from a conceptual point of view, new learning and network collaboration paradigms. It will discuss their motivation and predict their evolution. Why do these practices seem brilliant, novel and different from current practices? What factors have led to their development? What are their future prospects for academics, business and society? The paper will propose a taxonomy which will facilitate the analysis according to social interaction, information and intellectual propriety management, knowledge access and social values, utilizing certain variables related to communication. The paper is set out as follows. First, the state of the art is presented in the form of a review of the academic and non-academic literature that studies the evolution of the various forms of collaboration communities. These various
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alternatives and their characteristics are then analyzed by means of a number of variables, which are proposed in order to develop a taxonomy. An analysis is also made of how the various models ﬁt with academic, business or social contexts and requirements. Finally, the paper concludes with a vision of the future of these communities taking into account the analyzed aspects. 1.2. State of the art, learning evolution, the actual communities of practice For a long time, learning has been considered within a social context. Bandura (1977) pointed out how a relevant part of human behavior is learned and modeled by observation of others and how these codiﬁed models serve as a guide for action. We will not deal here with the diverse schools of learning which organizational behavior has discussed extensively. Thus, from the point of view of Argyris (1992) the organization learns through individuals and individual learning activities are also facilitated or inhibited by an ecological system of factors which can be denominated the learning organization. An earlier model of this author (Argyris, 1976), ‘‘the double loop learning’’, postulates that learning alters the
E-mail address: email@example.com (J. Albors). URLs: http://www.upv.es (J. Albors), http://www.avanzalis.com (J.C. Ramos). 1 Tel.: +34 93 492 03 92; fax: +34 93 492 03 51. 0268-4012/$ - see front matter r 2007 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved. doi:10.1016/j.ijinfomgt.2007.09.006
2000). 1991). which allowed the long distance transmission of large data packages. such as formal or informal groups and learning communities and sharing knowledge networks. 2001. & Weibelzahl. After the TCPIP development in 1982 and of HTML language in 1990 at CERN. The number of present Internet users worldwide has been . 2000). On the other hand. formal organization hides on some occasions informal communities of practice which facilitate learning and innovation. Dahlander and Magnusson (2005) analyze the case of communities of practice in the ﬁeld of free software. 1992. 1996. but to avoid attack or connection loss between nodes.. Dalle and Jullien (2003) analyzed the sustainability of free software and how contribution systems reinforced their diffusion. Hale & William. since it must have an identity. or ‘‘tactical versus strategic learning’’ (Dogson. the ﬁrst commercial browser. These have been also denominated and deﬁned as ‘‘Communities of Practice’’ (Brown & Duguid. Nevertheless. 1985). Kimble. 1991). providing a network of individual PCs. sharing knowledge and collaborating beyond the limits of their organizations (Hildreth.1. Waterson. such as ‘‘Crowdsourcing’’ (Howe. a robust network that allowed communication among various military computers. 2003). & Wright. In 1980. 1990). Osterloh and Rota (2007) analyze the phenomena of the development of open software. 2005). / International Journal of Information Management 28 (2008) 194–202 195 variables or values which govern the learning process. especially in the following discussion. 2006. the Ethernet protocol was developed in XEROX. norms are reduced. 1993. In 1974. These concepts have recently been extended. Clarke and Cooper (2000) support the idea of knowledge management as a collaboration activity in a social context or ‘‘shared context’’. etc. deﬁned by a shared domain of interest. 2006). actual network technology has advantages and disadvantages in the emerging development of communities of practice. 2007) or WebBlogging (Bernard et al. Avram. Sustainability will depend on whether there is sufﬁcient community support for the collective initiative (Henkel. Moreover. Origin of the Internet Internet origins go back to as early as 1969 by ARPANET (Segaller. Davidow & Malone. 2003. Du & Wagner. learning and innovation in a common context (Brown & Duguid. since they try to capture the communities’ resources. 2007). Vin Cerf developed the TCP protocol. Secondly. as well as those referring to information and thus the establishment of a community of practice philosophy can contribute to the project success (Adams & Freeman. Ras. ‘‘Virtual corporations’’ (Chesbrough & Teece. 2006. ‘‘Network Companies’’ (Bessant & Francis. Therefore. Albors et al. etc. Christopher and Johnson (2001) reviewed academic literature relative to the communities of practice and their potential development by means of networks and remote collaboration. Globalization introduces elements which inﬂuence the evolution and development of these phenomena (Friedman. Kolbitsch and Hermann Maurer (2006) analyzed the construction of communities around encyclopedic knowledge and although they have focused their work on technical aspects. 1998). 2006. Miles & Snow. As most of the collaboration is text-based. 1995). This organizational learning model has also deﬁned learning as a higher or lower learning level (Fiol & Lyles. Wenger & Snyder. 2006). 1993). some authors have related work. 1997). McConnon. the open software community developed an institutional innovation in open software licenses. It has to be taken into account. 1991. 2. All this appears linked to new innovation models (Chesbrough. Development of collaboration models 2. Thus. According to these authors. ‘‘Produsage’’ (Bruns. and Mosaic in 1993 at Illinois University. According to this author. the Internet era was established with the launch of Netscape. and they also approach how to manage the contribution’s quality in spite of the absence of a responsible authority. Some of these have also been reported with diverse approaches. Some of their peculiarities have allowed these systems to improve at a higher speed than proprietary software and also to attain excellent market penetration in their ﬁeld with existing standards. not solely for time sharing of high-investment computers. This problem can be reduced somehow by means of suitable techniques of facilitation and support. especially in the cases of online communication techniques. von Hippel & von Krogh. & Galaup. and their relationship with the latter. and question whether these projects represent a new development. Wenger (2000) argues that the success of an organization depends on its ability to constitute itself as a system of social learning and to participate in learning systems of a larger geographic scope. coexisting with competitive proprietary software ﬁrms in the Scandinavian countries. Lave & Wenger. Thus. allowing them to survive as common property. these licenses are reinforced socially by motivated contributors. in a knowledge management system. technology and speciﬁcally in relation to Internet tools. 2000). 2005. ‘‘Learning Organizations’’ (Garvin. the basic problem of virtual communities is desertion. This has been applied to multinational organizations and their need to manage knowledge in a distributed form. pointing out three relevant elements: communities of practice. Raymond. 2006). border processes and identities. ‘‘folksonomy’’ (Bernard. human aspects must be considered. ‘‘adaptive versus generative learning’’ (Senge. allowing introvert participants to share their ideas on equal terms with extroverts. that a community of practice is not simply a club of friends or a network of personal connections. 1999.ARTICLE IN PRESS J. Various authors have analyzed the efﬁciency of various modalities of learning groups. Chautemps.
remove. it is still utilizing most of the technologies previous to the World Wide Web. According to some authors. The web became a new channel for customer interaction. the main function was publishing static contents in order to allow access to numerous individuals. Search engines: Google Search engines have played a signiﬁcant role in the way users work and collaborate. 2001). 2. etc. but limiting its scope. O’Reilly. Its terms and work alternatives and its collaboration relationship has contributed to breaking down a structured and rigid way of understanding directories. such as blogs. The web pages had little functionality. 2000. Initial steps in collaboration: discussion groups Initially.4. 2007. New ﬁrms with a suitable strategy generated e-business. The World Wide Web (initiated around 1990) is a hypertext document system that works on the Internet. A blog (short for web log) is a user-generated website where entries are made in journal style and displayed in reverse chronological order (Bernard et al. new devices were developed (i. Raymond. 1998). images and other multimedia.10.internetworldstats.org) is a non-proﬁt organization that offers an alternative to full copyright.7. This label signiﬁes that. There are six different levels of protection under this label (Crawford. generally . The objective of this new concept is to facilitate collaboration and sharing among users. Some software applications such as Bit Torrent are used. books. Osterloh & Rota. although the Internet has come a long way.6. Open source (OS) recognizes individual authorship but not exclusive intellectual rights.shtml). 2005. but progressively a certain interactivity was introduced. 2001).e. this gave rise to the second globalization wave (Friedman. 2. IRC. 2000). 2005).. The wiki is a website designed to allow individuals to collaborate electronically in an easy way for authoring. Within them. Hildreth et al. scientists. ﬁlms. edit and link other pages or resources and change contents.. 2. Web 2.org/internet/history/cerf. The fact is that it allows millions of individuals to use enormous amounts of data (Oram. artists and educators easily mark their creative work with whatever freedom they want it to carry. 2. Interaction was still limited. 2. With a browser. computer inter-connections facilitated the access of universities to scarce and remote digital resources.isoc. It provides free tools that let authors. The relevant fact was that technology had been developed sufﬁciently to allow collaboration (Adams & Freeman.000 million (www. Google has been one of the main successes of the new economy. Vise & Malseed. Speciﬁcally. 2006).5. After this stage. 2006.8.e. Intranet appeared as a common access point adapted to the particular requirements of the user organization. 2005). 2..ARTICLE IN PRESS 196 J. news feeds or pod casts. portals were introduced as integrated access to information on a certain topic (Segaller. 2006). Wikis A buzzword originated from Hawaiian slang (quick) that transmits the idea of quick and easy collaboration.000. taxonomies and the classiﬁcation of shared information (Battelle. and was given the name of the Internet bubble. 2.2.3. Rich site summary (RSS) and blogs Rich site summary is a family of web feed formats utilized to publish frequently updated digital content. 2005. which can contain texts. 2007. 2. Creative Commons (creativecommons. The term refers to the utilization dimension and not to the physical network that supports it (Le Deuff. 2001. The Internet bubble: electronic commerce and dot com At the end of the 1990s. It is utilized to refer to collaboration networks in egalitarian terms and to denominate collaboration communities where something is shared. There exists certain controversy as to the shared objectives and the intellectual property. the user can read the web pages. / International Journal of Information Management 28 (2008) 194–202 estimated at 1. collaboration was based on distributed resources in mails and shared articles similar to news bulletins (http:// www. HTTP (hypertext transfer protocol) and browsers allowed more people without specialized computers skills to interact on the web. a revolution took place in the business world. Lotus Sametime and more recently Skype)..9. it enables users to add. 2002). Offering work under a Creative Commons license does not mean giving up copyright. Du & Wagner. workplaces for collaboration and content sharing (i. A new alternative to intellectual property. 2005). Stenmark. Ruppel & Harrington. Peer to peer (P2P) This alternative involves a technical concept that has extended its use to thematic social networks. and navigate among them utilizing hyperlinks.117. Albors et al.0. MS net meeting. The majority of users of this alternative share music. Hence. 2. World Wide Web A revolutionary technology. com). Open source (and industrial property) A new alternative for software development originated with Linux (Dahlander & Magnusson.
Scientists from all over the world competed for the prize. so the company changed its mind on the way they were innovating and changed their policy on intellectual property (IP). The main idea of Second Life is not the way we can see or interact with it. The objective of Science Commons is to encourage scientiﬁc innovation facilitating consultation by scientists. / International Journal of Information Management 28 (2008) 194–202 197 without the need for registration (Bernard et al. with people bending rules to their individual needs and tastes. it had no clue about how to solve a speciﬁc problem for developing a new product. who is going to use the authoritative encyclopedias? 2. initially or basically. sounds like anarchy on the World Wide Web. Albors et al. It has an economic system where you can buy things. 2006). universities and ﬁrms into bibliography. & Brase.521. started in 2005.secondlife. another example of open collaboration. in October 2006 Wikipedia ranked (comScore World Metrix) in the top 10 for global Internet trafﬁc. The winner got the prize and the company got the solution at a comparatively inexpensive price (Allio. Second Life Second Life is a 3-D virtual world entirely built and owned by its residents. such as that of librarians but is useful to make digital surﬁng manageable (Dye. Models for scientiﬁc collaboration: Science Commons It is usually formed by research teams composed of reduced groups of scientiﬁc researchers.16. buildings.12. using open-ended labels called ‘‘tags’’. natural places. communicate via the Internet. The folksonomic tagging objective is making a body of information increasingly easy to search. It has more to do with its social and collaboration impact. is a group of people who. Online communities have also become a complement to the communications carried out in real life by people who know each other. Few studies have analyzed how vandalism behaves ´ and how the community keeps it accurate (Viegas.ligo. Crowdsourcing Innocentive was an initiative launched by a pharmaceutical ﬁrm which faced a problem in designing a product. again. Since opening to the public in 2003. Bertelmann. 2006). who were using less than 10% of internal innovation in their new products. 2006). with over 150 million users. com). Despite its large R&D department. businesses. One example is LIGO Scientiﬁc Collaboration (www. there are people. Wikipedia has no reliability or accuracy. 2006.484 people from around the globe (www. Its name comes from joining the words wiki and encyclopedia. its primary users (Wikipedia). Wattenberg. The question is: no matter how reliable or accurate it is. a challenging alternative coming from the unstructured knowledge management happening all over the world. A welldeveloped folksonomy is ideally accessible as a shared vocabulary that is both originated by. Virtual communities A virtual community. data and other scientiﬁc intellectual properties. 2007). or online community. McFedries. where ideas (under IP rights) are on sale (Lichtenthaler. Another example was seen in the case of Procter & Gamble. Some relevant journals such as Nature or Scientiﬁc American work in this area. It is. Typically.15. 2.13. and familiar to. They open the patent to any outsider if the idea has not been applied in the last 3 years (Tapscott & Williams. but it is not. as well as sharing knowledge. Sociologists. & Bokos. 2007). 2. Wikipedia. edit and modify any content (Korﬁatis. Science Commons. From the researchers’ and scientiﬁc point of view. Poulos. 2006). because it is based on similar structures as our real life (Holtz. Steve.. exploit commercial . & Dave. 2. The IP collaboration loop went further with the emergence of marketplaces such as yet2. it has grown explosively and today is inhabited by a total of 7. In this world. but they may be used in other contexts. A new matchmaking system was devised to link outside experts to unsolved R&D problems. instead of face-to-face.com). discover and navigate over time. Of course it lies far from the structured comfort of a controlled conventional taxonomy. tagging is at the core of some of the most vibrant and cohesive online communities (www.org). 2006). These usually utilize some type of collaboration software (social software) and adopt an appropriate name for their purpose. 2006).11. It has become a full virtual world and is developing on its own today. 2004). 1996).14. It is a project that uses the philosophy and activities of Creative Commons in the ﬁeld of science. 2.com.ARTICLE IN PRESS J. Wikipedia A great example of a very popular wiki is the collaborative encyclopedia. Folksonomy This is a user-generated taxonomy utilized to categorize and retrieve web content such as Web pages. 2004. Anybody can add. A monetary reward was offered to whoever could solve the problem. Folksonomy. such as Open Source communities producing software in open code (Chesbrough & Teece.ﬂicker. folksonomies are Internet-based. In fact. psychologists and business people are looking at this phenomenon. photographs and Web links. in fact it resembles an advanced electronic game (Rosedale. There are several mechanisms to avoid vandalism and the collaborators are always seeking for errors. 2007). state properties. 2. works within the current copyright and patents laws in order to promote legal and technical mechanisms to lower barriers that prevent idea and material sharing (Klump. In relation to the number of users (contributors and readers).
2007). Johansen. / International Journal of Information Management 28 (2008) 194–202 resources and develop your own ‘‘virtual’’ business. To begin with. marketing data and information from the Web. It is an evolving extension of the World Wide Web in which web content is understood by computers. 2007). who classiﬁed the collaboration tools by their focus on collaboration and information management Fig.ARTICLE IN PRESS 198 J. A taxonomy for virtual collaborative contexts Various authors have analyzed and proposed alternatives for classifying virtual collaborative structures. 2000). 1988). 2004. In the business context. as well as learning consequence (Argyris. the informational dimension.17. 2003. 2006. we have three quadrants where the context areas. Gibbs. in modern innovation the model user’s . has been considered a barrier for collective creativity. Some of them have features common to the three approach contexts (i. 2007. intellectual property. Intellectual property. (2007) proposed seven categories based organizational and technology uses. 1995). the intelligence sharing area (The metaweb) means the future and the evolution of the collaborative paradigms. some of them suggested a taxonomy based on time and space (DeSanctis & Gallupe. Bernard et al. such as real-time publishing and sharing of experimental data on the Internet. 1991. Semantic publishing will beneﬁt greatly from the semantic web. Bos et al. rich in information. since authority is associated with restriction and member’s retention (Cifolli. we selected a number of variables which cover the afore-mentioned dimensions and which would help us to develop such a taxonomy. so that they can perform more of the tedium involved in ﬁnding. but also. Wenger. Proﬁts or economic beneﬁts have been considered basically in those contexts linked to business areas and open innovation (Allio. (2006) classiﬁes them into two dimensions: the social connectivity and the information sharing potential or information connectivity. Actually the currency in SL has a real equivalence with real money ($). Lichtenthaler. 1987a. Chesbrough. increasing costs of R&D and the opportunity of the models discussed in this paper (Allio. authority. 2007)..e. Olson. communication (Jarvenpaa & Leidner. 1987b). 2004. 2005. The variable Democratization is relevant in social collaboration contexts (Bruns. 2000). new approaches such as Creative Commons or Science Commons have been developed to overcome these problems (Crawford. Knowledge access will be facilitated by social level and information (Clarke & Cooper. Zimmerman. 2005. their basic references and their contextual characteristics. Nevertheless. as Argyris (1976) pointed out. 2006). The users become actors in this scenario. and network democracy is central to business collaboration (Miles & Snow. Albors et al. Other authors added other aspects such as project management (Chompalov & Shrum. According to the evolution of these tools and collaboration activities. 2007). 2000. Fig. Hall. But how can we relate our analysis to this evolution? We have tried to analyze how these dimensions relate with the variables. as we have already stated. Academic collaborative research has been also the object of various studies (Cummings & Kiesler. A similar approach was followed by Bafoutsou and Mentzas (2002). Nevertheless. These models mean a reinforcement of IPR trading. 2007). some authors (Bruns. Some efforts have been oriented towards classifying collaboration from a broader point of view. taking into account their organizational and informational dimensions. sharing and combining information on the web (Shadbolt. ownership. while others present relevant differences (i. & Berners-Lee. 2003).. The open innovation and business models were developed as a business response to globalization. Values change. democratization) Table 1. 2005) consider values to be the core support of certain collaboration communities. Initially. In particular. 2003. 2. an important event is now taking place. 1987a. 2002).e. Ellis. Viegas et al. since they possess an identity deﬁned by a shared domain of interest as well as by learning in action (Adams & Freeman. Any virtual individual can buy and sell in this world. 2005. 2003. traditional business systems were not appropriate for collaboration. in principle. no attempt has been made to approach a broader analysis covering academic. 1999). Cummings & Kiesler. knowledge or social interaction are located. Chesbrough. Dalle & Jullien. 2005). functionalities (Bafoutsou & Mentzas. The concept of communities of practice assumes values implicitly. 1987b. The following table deﬁnes these variables. Scott & Johnson. In a ﬁrst approach. 1. collaboration. Nevertheless.. and is known as the Semantic Web. Learning has the same type of correlation and is associated to the organization context. Diffusion is highly related to social—and to a lesser degree with the informational—dimension since larger amounts of information are limited by a higher degree of diffusion. & Bos. inter-organizational boundaries (Cummings & Kiesler. 1999). 2005. 2 shows how these variables are related with both dimensions. 2007) or associated to cost saving in open source environment (Dahlander & Magnusson. diffusion). Collaboration needs some specialization and could be hampered with an excess of information (Bafoutsou & ´ Mentzas. a business intelligence system needs to arrange information together in a way relevant to the user. & Rein. Similarly. A fourth. The way to the Semantic Web Finally. Thus. 2004). social and business contexts in virtual collaborative networks. 1976). the semantic web is expected to revolutionize scientiﬁc publishing. It is not sufﬁcient to assemble ﬁnancial data. 2002. 3. values. DeSanctis & Gallupe. learning. etc. Dahlander & Magnusson. a higher level of authority and ownership will limit not only social connectivity. Enterprises such as Zara or IBM have their own ofﬁces there and media companies make some incursions into this second world to broadcast news to our ﬁrst world (DesMarteau.
Open/free licenses Dahlander and Magnusson (2005). Osterloh and Rota (2007). To be solved: researchers’ collective learning Shared Social Based on acceptation and relevance obtained by votes (i. 3 reﬂects their position. Raymond (2001). showing the trends. Raymond (2001) Chesbrough (2003. Wenger (2000).e. New users’ roles. Internally restricted and only well managed in large organizations. Chompalov and Shrum (1999) 199 Diffusion Open. Sectoral/regional. Clusters and collaborations with coopetition [Brandenburger AM. (2007). Outside knowledge absorption. Lasker. Weiss. Bos et al. without directories. von Hippel (2005) Intellectual property Author and publishing media Community property.. von Hippel and von Krogh (2003). Chompalov and Shrum (1999). intellectual property or proﬁts have a smaller . It could be expected that collaborative models in the social context will follow the general model predictions. Allio (2004) Innovation/ business model Closed... where it gets more beneﬁt which is most implied. von Hippel and von Krogh (2003). use of open license (i. open to anyone.e. 4. Brown and Duguid (1991).e.. and guided. we can then classify the reviewed models according to these dimensions. academic and business collaborative modes may evolve in the future.e. googelized or under folksonomies Community membership. asynchronous. Olson et al. (2007). Bidirectional collaborations with other organizations. 1987b). Cifolli (2003) Ruppel and Harrington (2001). Free structures. Cummings and Kiesler (2005). i. Lave and Wenger (1993). differentiation and market leadership (economic beneﬁts). Bafoutsou and Mentzas (2002). Bessant (1992). Thus. Through its own controlled and closed channels Personal and research teams: scientiﬁc community. DeSanctis and Gallupe (1987a. Wenger (2000) Raymond (2001). Awareness.e. Wikipedia as a knowledge base is a de facto standard References Cummings and Kiesler (2005). Olson et al. the web of knowledge) and citation rankings. / International Journal of Information Management 28 (2008) 194–202 Table 1 Variable Authority/ ownership Academic. In open business models.. 1992). Better and quicker innovative capacity. Lave and Wenger (1993). Bos et al. Albors et al. and Miller (2001) Bernard et al. Research Recognition given by institutions and existing authorities (i. democracy can be located corresponding to a high dimension of social and informational connectivity. thematic business portals Internally. (2006). prestige. open innovation (i. von Hippel (2005) democracy has become an accepted paradigm (von Hippel. Built on existing advances (others publications) Instant. taking into account the afore-mentioned considerations.ARTICLE IN PRESS J.. centralized by the network of institutions and researchers Roles and ‘‘hierarchies’’ based on authority Natural. Dogson (1991). Internet. Google page rank) Business Market success driven. (2007). Excellent repositories for publications. since this is the context where the restrictive variables such as authority. 2007). eclipse and IBM) In classic business models. through the Internet and social networks Personal and community level Based on Intranet. Wenger (2000) Argyris (1976). ‘‘Bazaar’’ model Internally. absolutely open Democratization Based on relevance of contributions. Osterloh and Rota (2007).e. but not dynamically Almost universal access to free contents and progressively to protected ones through P2P. innocentive) Business intelligence. equal access. (2007). Therefore. Senge (1990). open to everyone interested in it. 2005). closed and protectionist. Economic proﬁt Beneﬁts Contribute to generating new advances built on others (save time and efforts) Improvement of competitiveness. as the social. Stenmark (2002) Argyris (1976. Well structured. ISI. Externally in marketplaces. In classic business: patents and protection. organizational learning. Conclusions We conclude by predicting how the social. Knowledge access Restricted and complex. In open business. Jarvenpaa and Leidner (1999). i. 1996] May not be common Learning Values Shared Collaboration Unidirectional and slow. Fig.
While limiting variables such as intellectual property. Values are generally linked to the development of communication and trust (Jarvenpaa & Leidner. The success of phenomena such as Second Life. Fig. 2. 3. While the Internet represents an abundant informational resource. As has been mentioned. Again. its real educational potential lies in its . values act as a cohesive element. Rosedale. 1999). 2007) support this trend. 2006. academic and business models. In the past couple of decades. 2006). Fig. Albors et al. Blogging. As cited. Panoramio (recently acquired by Google from a couple of computer science graduates) is based in the collaboration of users who upload their photos to illustrate Google maps. These websites allow users to communicate in a variety of different ways. eBay creates a network between users by connecting them from all around the world in order to trade with each other. In relation to the academic context.. what is interesting from our analysis is the collaboration aspects in their evolution. 1.com (the fourth web site in trafﬁc in the world) users come together to socialize and the collaborative aspects are fundamental for their growth. we should consider two subcontexts: learning and scientiﬁc. etc. (Bouquet & Favier. MySpace. Nardi. Wikipedia. authority and proﬁt have a lower effect on the former. is ‘‘a website that allows for social networks to be made and opens up different forms of communication’’. as well as the communication aspects involved in their creation and upkeep. as deﬁned by Wikipedia. inﬂuence.ARTICLE IN PRESS 200 J. Some examples are online dating sites and open market sites such as eBay. etc. A social networking website. However. Social and informational dimensions of selected variables. it has also grown largely for the use of social networking. A taxonomy for collaboration alternatives (Bernard et al. 2004. In the case of MySpace. a recent case. they limit the expansion of the latter. / International Journal of Information Management 28 (2008) 194–202 Fig. Internet use has grown enormously while it has allowed its users access to many websites and resources. There are many different types of social networking websites available in the World Wide Web. Evolution of social.
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