Seeing similarity in the face of difference: enabling comparison of online production systems

Claudia Müller-Birn, Meuthrath Benedikt, Erber Andreas, Burkhart Sebastian, Anne Baumgraß, Lehmann Janette, Robert Schmidl

Publication: Scientific journalJournal articlepeer-review


The purpose of this paper is to present an approach to model, analyze and visualize online production systems, such as Wikipedia, open source software development processes, and Flickr. While the final result of the production in these systems depends on the type of product (e.g., content, software, and tags), there are similarities in their modes of actions. The approach taken is to interpret online production systems as social information spaces, and to describe them with a generic vocabulary that is implemented in software. One scenario for open content production is presented using data from the online encyclopedia Wikipedia. The generic vocabulary is extended by wiki-specific vocabulary; the value of the approach is illustrated with two selected network presentations. The main insight is that key processes in online production systems can be reduced to two basic items and three fundamental relations. Various kinds of online production systems can be mapped onto this vocabulary and the same software solution can be applied for analyzing them. The approach presented here has two practical implications: first, available data from online production systems can be obtained and evaluated more easily. Second, results are comparable because the generic vocabulary serves as a shared understanding of online production systems.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)127 - 142
JournalSocial Network Analysis and Mining
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 1 Dec 2011

Cite this