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A semantic framework for social search

Abstract : In recent years, online collaborative environments, e.g. social content sites (such as Twitter or Facebook) have significantly changed the way people share information and interact with peers. These platforms have become the primary common environment for people to communicate about their activity and their information needs and to maintain and create social ties. Status updates or microposts emerged as a convenient way for people to share content frequently without a long investment of time. Some social platforms even limit the length of a “post”. A post generally consists of a single sentence (e.g. news, a question), it can include a picture, a hyperlink, tags or other descriptive data (metadata). Contrarily to traditional documents, posts are informal (with no controlled vocabulary) and don't have a well established structure. Social platforms can become so popular (huge number of users and posts), that it becomes difficult to find relevant information in the flow of notifications. Therefore, organizing this huge quantity of social information is one of the major challenges of such collaborative environments. Traditional information retrieval techniques are not well suited for querying such corpus, because of the short size of the share content, the uncontrolled vocabulary used by author and because these techniques don't take in consideration the ties in-between people. Also, such techniques tend to find the documents that best match a query, which may not be sufficient in the context of social platform where the creation of new connections in the platform has a motivating impact and where the platform tries to keep on-going participation. A new information retrieval paradigm, social search has been introduced as a potential solution to this problem. This solution consists of different strategies to leverage user generated content for information seeking, such as the recommendation of people. However, existing strategies have limitations in the user profile construction process and in the routing of queries to the right people identified as experts. More concretely, the majority of user profiles in such systems are keyword-based, which is not suited for the small size and the informal aspect of the posts. Secondly, expertise is measured only based on statistical scoring mechanisms, which do not take into account the fact that people on social platforms will not precisely consume the results of the query, but will aim to engage into a conversation with the expert. Also a particular focus needs to be done on privacy management, where still traditional methods initially designed for databases are used without taking into account the social ties between people. In this thesis we propose and evaluate an original framework for the organization and retrieval of information in social platforms. Instead of retrieving content that best matches a user query, we retrieve people who have expertise and are most motivated to engage in conversations on its topics. We propose to build dynamically profiles for users based on their interactions in the social platform. The construction of such profiles requires the capture of interactions (microposts), their analysis and the extraction and understanding of their topics. In order to build a more meaningful profile, we leverage Semantic Web Technologies and more specifically, Linked Data, for the transformation of microposts topics into semantic concepts. Our thesis contributes to several fields related to the organization, management and retrieval of information in collaborative environments and to the fields of social computing and human-computer interaction
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Submitted on : Friday, June 15, 2012 - 4:35:31 PM
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  • HAL Id : tel-00708781, version 1


Johann Stan. A semantic framework for social search. Other [cs.OH]. Université Jean Monnet - Saint-Etienne, 2011. English. ⟨NNT : 2011STET4021⟩. ⟨tel-00708781⟩



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