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Title: Recruiting the public : the potential of folksonomies for organizing and retrieving information in an e-government context
Author: Farhan, Huda Rashed
Awarding Body: University of Sheffield
Current Institution: University of Sheffield
Date of Award: 2010
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Folksonomies brought a new dimension to the way information is organized and retrieved in the internet environment. Despite criticism, folksonomies attracted attention and interest both in academia and amongst the general public. Disputes have arisen concerning the appropriateness of folksonomies as tools for organizing and retrieving information in official contexts. Despite numerous studies dealing with folksonomies, these disputes have not yet been resolved. There is a need, therefore, to investigate the quality of folksonomies as tools for organizing and retrieving information. In this study, evaluation criteria were developed in an attempt to assess that quality. The developed criteria were then utilized in several evaluation studies, conducted on a number of folksonomies, so that their validity and reliability could be tested. When the evaluation criteria were applied it was perceived that there is a need to generate an e-government folksonomy dedicated to a particular e-government initiative. This need was translated into the generation of an e-government folksonomy dedicated to the Kuwaiti e-government portal. This folksonomy was generated by potential users and went through an evaluation process using the developed evaluation criteria. In addition, the generated egovernment folksonomy was added to the Kuwaiti e-government portal as a tool to use for organizing and retrieving information. A user- centric comparative study was then conducted. For the comparative study, the folksonomy was evaluated by assessing the success of an information system in which the folkonomy was implemented. An information system success evaluation model was used in order to assess the extent to which the deployment of the folksonomy on the e-government portal could enhance the information organization and retrieval process. The evaluation model used was a modification of the Broudi et ai, 1986 alternative model. In this model the relationship between three constructs of information system success was assessed. These constructs were: user satisfaction, user's involvement and system usage. Use of this model provided a practical opportunity to test, from a user's perspective, the hypothesised potential of folksonomies to enhance the organization and retrieval of information in an egovernment context. The findings of the different studies indicated the validity and reliability of the developed evaluation criteria. Also, the findings emphasized the suitability of folksonomies to be used use in an official context for the purpose of organizing and retrieving information. However, folksonomies need to be implemented in information systems in conjunction with conventional tools for organizing and retrieving information: Despite their compatibility with the developed evaluation criteria, folksonomies lack the robustness of standardized, conventional tools of information organization and retrieval. Hence, folksonomies cannot serve in the field of information organization and retrieval on their own. However, in conjunction with conventional tools of organizing and retrieving information, folksonomies can bridge the gap between information system's language and potential user's language. Thus, allowing information to be organized based on both standardized tools and user's perception.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available