Social Network Analysis and Mining

, Volume 1, Issue 2, pp 127–142 | Cite as

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

  • Claudia Müller-BirnEmail author
  • Benedikt Meuthrath
  • Andreas Erber
  • Sebastian Burkhart
  • Anne Baumgrass
  • Janette Lehmann
  • Robert Schmidl
Original Article


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.


Content Element Collaboration Network Knowledge Network Information Space Fundamental Relation 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  • Claudia Müller-Birn
    • 1
    Email author
  • Benedikt Meuthrath
    • 2
  • Andreas Erber
    • 3
  • Sebastian Burkhart
    • 3
  • Anne Baumgrass
    • 4
  • Janette Lehmann
    • 5
  • Robert Schmidl
    • 3
  1. 1.Carnegie Mellon UniversityPittsburghUSA
  2. 2.Freie Universität BerlinBerlinGermany
  3. 3.University of PotsdamPotsdamGermany
  4. 4.Vienna University of Economics and BusinessViennaAustria
  5. 5.ISI FoundationTurinItaly

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