Where the Footprints Lead: Tracking Down Other Roles for Social Navigation
Computer Supported Cooperative Work
Collaborative Filtering was proposed in the early 1990's as a means of managing access to large information spaces by capturing and exploiting aspects of the experiences of previous users of the same information. Social navigation is a more general form of this style of interaction, and with the widening scope of the Internet as an information provider, systems of this sort have rapidly moved from early research prototypes to deployed services in everyday use. On the other hand, to most of the
... nd, to most of the HCI community, the term "social navigation" is largely synonymous with "recommendation systems": systems that match your interests to those of others and, on that basis, provide recommendations about such things as music, books, articles and films that you might enjoy. The challenge for social navigation, as an area of research and development endeavour, is to move beyond this rather limited view of the role of social navigation; and to do this, we must try to take a broader view of both our remit and our opportunities. This chapter will revisit the original motivations, and chart something of the path that recent developments have taken. Based on reflections on the original concerns that motivated research into social navigation, it will explore some new avenues of research. In particular, it will focus on two. The first is social navigation within the framework of "awareness" provisions in collaborative systems generally; and the second is the relationship of social navigation systems to spatial models and the ideas of "space" and "place" in collaborative settings. By exploring these two ideas, two related goals can be achieved. The first is to draw attention to ways in which current research into social navigation can be made relevant to other areas of research endeavour; and the second is to re-motivate the idea of "social navigation" as a fundamental model for collaboration in information-seeking.