What insights about people and technology are needed to better understand the technological, social and legal ramifications of the growing ability to personalize online content?
To help answer this question, mediaX sponsored five research projects exploring the social, psychological, technical and legal issues surrounding the use and personalization of online media content.
With the trend for online content providers to allow users to tailor content to meet their own preferences, there was a growing need for research into the ways that users and producers interact with content, including the economics of information and information personalization. Research was needed to explore the mechanisms that empower consumers as publishers – including technical, procedural and legal aspects.
This mediaX research challenge focused on two key research areas – ontologies and “consumers as publishers”. Ontologies addressed ways that users and providers structure, categorize, value and customize content. “Consumers as publishers” addressed the technological, procedural, and/or legal mechanisms that facilitate consumer publication, including issues of Internet law and personalization technologies. Projects explored, for example, the parameters of a legal environment for online publication that protects creators of digital content while promoting free expression. Researchers also considered issues of reputation, trust and anonymity online, including rating and ranking systems. Scholars experimented with collaboration, tagging, bookmarking and personalization of online educational and consumer video content. They also explored the social and psychological aspects of user interaction with integrated information, including perceptions of quality, origin and reliability.