Theoretical and Empirical Analysis of Networked Knowledge

  • Iassen HalatchliyskiEmail author
Part of the Computer-Supported Collaborative Learning Series book series (CULS, volume 16)


The present chapter advances a theoretical and analytical approach to networked knowledge that is continuously developed in large online communities of mass collaboration. Networked knowledge is regarded as substance with static structure that changes over longer periods of time through the activity of community participants. From a complex systems perspective, networked knowledge is an emergent phenomenon that amounts to more than the additive collection of individual artifacts and contributions due to their interconnectedness.

The empirical part of the chapter introduces an analytical approach examining large real-life data sets from the online communities Wikipedia and Wikiversity. The topological position of contributions and articles in different knowledge domains in the networks is evaluated through established network analysis metrics in order to identify pivotal artifacts that form the structural backbone of the networked knowledge.

One of the studies focuses on the relation between pivotal knowledge and the contribution experience of the community participants. The second study models the significance of pivotal knowledge structures for the network evolution and the new developing networked knowledge. In an explorative account of networked knowledge dynamics, the third study demonstrates a fine-grained approach to pivotal knowledge by acknowledging the historical trajectory of development.


Collaboration Mass collaboration Networked knowledge Pivotal knowledge Wikipedia 


  1. Almind, T. C., & Ingwersen, P. (1997). Informetric analyses on the world wide web: Methodological approaches to ‘webometrics’. Journal of Documentation, 53, 404–426.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Aviv, R., Erlich, Z., Ravid, G., & Geva, A. (2003). Network analysis of knowledge construction in asynchronous learning networks. Journal of Asynchronous Learning Networks, 7, 1–23.Google Scholar
  3. Barabási, A. L. (2002). Linked: The new science of networks. Cambridge, MA: Perseus.Google Scholar
  4. Barabási, A. L., & Albert, R. (1999). Emergence of scaling in random networks. Science, 286, 509–512.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Bereiter, C. (2002). Education and mind in the knowledge age. Hillsdale, NJ: Erlbaum.Google Scholar
  6. Berger, B. L., & Luckmann, T. (1966). The social construction of reality: A treatise in the sociology of knowledge. New York, NY: Anchor.Google Scholar
  7. Björneborn, L., & Ingwersen, P. (2004). Toward a basic framework for webometrics. Journal of the American Society for Information Science and Technology, 55, 1216–1227.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Bonacich, P. (1972). Factoring and weighting approaches to status scores and clique identification. Journal of Mathematical Sociology, 2, 113–120.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Bonk, C., & Cunningham, D. (1998). Searching for learner-centred, constructivist, and sociocultural components of collaborative educational learning tools. In C. J. Bonk & K. S. King (Eds.), Electronic collaborators: Learner-centred technologies for literacy, apprenticeship, and discourse (pp. 25–50). Mahwah, NJ: Erlbaum.Google Scholar
  10. Brown, M. S., Collins, A., & Duguid, P. (1989). Situated cognition and the culture of learning. Educational Researcher, 18, 32–42.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Bruckman, A. (2006). Learning in online communities. In R. K. Sawyer (Ed.), The Cambridge handbook of the learning sciences (pp. 461–472). New York, NY: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
  12. Cho, H., Stefanone, M., & Gay, G. (2002). Social network analysis of information sharing networks in a CSCL community. In G. Stahl (Ed.), Computer support for collaborative learning: Foundations for a CSCL community. Proceedings of the computer-supported collaborative learning conference (pp. 43–50). Mahway, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum.Google Scholar
  13. Collins, A. M., & Loftus, E. F. (1975). A spreading-activation theory of semantic processing. Psychological Review, 82, 407–428.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Cress, U. (2013). Mass collaboration and learning. In R. Luckin, P. Goodyear, B. Grabowski, S. Puntambekar, J. Underwood, & N. Winters (Eds.), Handbook on design in educational technology (pp. 416–425). London, England: Taylor & Francis.Google Scholar
  15. Cress, U., & Kimmerle, J. (2008). A systemic and cognitive view on collaborative knowledge building with Wikis. International Journal of Computer-Supported Collaborative Learning, 3, 105–122.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. de Laat, M., Lally, V., Lipponen, L., & Simons, R.-J. (2007). Investigating patterns of interaction in networked learning and computer-supported collaborative learning: A role for social network analysis. International Journal of Computer-Supported Collaborative Learning, 2, 87–103.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Dohn, N. (2009). Web 2.0: Inherent tensions and evident challenges for education. International Journal of Computer-Supported Collaborative Learning, 4, 343–363.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Forte, A., & Bruckman, A. (2006). From Wikipedia to the classroom: Exploring online publication and learning. In S. A. Barab, K. E. Hay, & D. T. Hickey (Eds.), Proceedings of the 7th International Conference of the Learning Sciences (pp. 182–188). Mahwah, NJ: Erlbaum.Google Scholar
  19. Forte, A., & Bruckman, A. (2008). Scaling consensus: Increasing decentralization in Wikipedia governance. In Proceedings of the 41st Annual Hawaii International Conference on System Sciences (pp. 157–157). Maui, HI: IEEE.Google Scholar
  20. Freeman, L. C. (1979). Centrality in social networks: Conceptual clarification. Social Networks, 1, 215–239.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Garfield, E. (1972). Citation analysis as a tool in journal evaluation. Science, 178, 471–479.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Gerbaudo, P. (2012). Tweets and the streets: Social media and contemporary activism. London, England: Pluto Press.Google Scholar
  23. Giles, J. (2005). Internet encyclopaedias go head to head. Nature, 438, 900–901.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Glänzel, W. (2003). Bibliometrics as a research field: A course on the theory an application of bibliometric indicators. Budapest, Hungary: Magyar Tudományos Akadémia Könyvtára. Retrieved from Scholar
  25. Halatchliyski, I., & Cress, U. (2014). How structure shapes dynamics: Knowledge development in Wikipedia—A network multilevel modeling approach. PLoS One, 9, e111958.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. Halatchliyski, I., Hecking, T., Göhnert, T., & Hoppe, H. U. (2014). Analyzing the main paths of knowledge evolution and contributor roles in an open learning community. Journal of Learning Analytics, 1, 72–93.Google Scholar
  27. Halatchliyski, I., Kimmerle, J., & Cress, U. (2011). Divergent and convergent knowledge processes on Wikipedia. In H. Spada, G. Stahl, N. Miyake, & N. Law (Eds.), Connecting computer-supported collaborative learning to policy and practice: CSCL2011 Conference Proceedings (Vol. 2, pp. 566–570). Hong Kong, China: International Society of the Learning Sciences.Google Scholar
  28. Halatchliyski, I., Moskaliuk, J., Kimmerle, J., & Cress, U. (2014). Explaining authors’ contribution to pivotal artifacts during mass collaboration in the Wikipedia’s knowledge base. International Journal of Computer-Supported Collaborative Learning, 9, 97–115.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. Halatchliyski, I., Oeberst, A., Bientzle, M., Bokhorst, F., & van Aalst, J. (2012). Unraveling idea development in discourse trajectories. In J. van Aalst, K. Thompson, M. J. Jacobson, & P. Reimann (Eds.), The future of learning: Proceedings of the 10th international conference of the learning sciences (Vol. 2, pp. 162–166). Sydney, NSW, Australia: International Society of the Learning Sciences.Google Scholar
  30. Hoppe, H. U., Harrer, A., Göhnert, T., & Hecking, T. (2016). Applying network models and network analysis techniques to the study of online communities. In U. Cress, J. Moskaliuk, & H. Jeong (Eds.), Mass collaboration and education. Cham, Switzerland: Springer.Google Scholar
  31. Hummon, N. P., & Doreian, P. (1989). Connectivity in a citation network: The development of DNA theory. Social Networks, 11, 39–63.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. Hutchins, E. (1995). Cognition in the wild. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press.Google Scholar
  33. Jenkins, H., Clinton, K., Purushotma, R., Robinson, A. J., & Weigel, M. (2006). Confronting the challenges of participatory culture: Media education for the 21st century. Chicago, IL: The MacArthur Foundation.Google Scholar
  34. Kimmerle, J., Cress, U., & Held, C. (2010). The interplay between individual and collective knowledge: Technologies for organisational learning and knowledge building. Knowledge Management Research and Practice, 8, 33–44.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  35. Kimmerle, J., Thiel, A., Gerbing, K.-K., Bientzle, M., Halatchliyski, I., & Cress, U. (2013). Knowledge construction in an outsider community: Extending the communities of practice concept. Computers in Human Behavior, 29, 1078–1090.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  36. Konieczny, P. (2007). Wikis and Wikipedia as a teaching tool. International Journal of Instructional Technology and Distance Learning, 4, 15–34.Google Scholar
  37. Kuhn, T. S. (1962). The structure of scientific revolutions. Chicago, IL: University of Chicago Press.Google Scholar
  38. Latour, B. (1987). Science in action: How to follow scientists and engineers through society. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.Google Scholar
  39. Lave, J., & Wenger, E. (1991). Situated learning: Legitimate peripheral participation. Cambridge, England: Cambridge University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  40. Levy, P. (1999). Collective intelligence: Mankind’s emerging world in cyberspace. Cambridge, MA: Perseus Books.Google Scholar
  41. Lipponen, L. (2002). Exploring foundations for computer-supported collaborative learning. In G. Stahl (Ed.), Computer support for collaborative learning: Foundations for a CSCL community. Proceedings of the Computer-Supported Collaborative Learning Conference (pp. 72–81). Mahwah, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum.Google Scholar
  42. Lipponen, L., Hakkarainen, K., & Paavola, S. (2004). Practices and orientations of computer supported collaborative learning. In J. Strijbos, P. Kirschner, & R. Martens (Eds.), What we know about CSCL, and implementing it in higher education (pp. 31–50). Boston, MA: Kluwer.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  43. Lucio-Arias, D., & Leydesdorff, L. (2009). The dynamics of exchanges and references among scientific texts, and the autopoiesis of discursive knowledge. Journal of Informetrics, 3, 261–271.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  44. Luhmann, N. (1984). Soziale Systeme: Grundriß einer allgemeinen Theorie. Frankfurt am Main, Germany: Suhrkamp.Google Scholar
  45. Mali, F., Kronegger, L., Doreian, P., & Ferligoj, A. (2012). Dynamic scientific co-authorship networks. In A. Scharnhorst, K. Borner, & P. van den Besselaar (Eds.), Models of science dynamics (Understanding complex systems, pp. 195–232). Heidelberg, Germany: Springer.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  46. Mathes, A. (2004). Folksonomies-cooperative classification and communication through shared metadata. Journal of Computer Mediated Communication, 47, 1–13.Google Scholar
  47. Maturana, H. R., & Varela, F. J. (1987). The tree of knowledge: The biological roots of human understanding. Boston, MA: New Science Library/Shambhala.Google Scholar
  48. Mercer, N. (2008). The seeds of time: Why classroom dialogue needs a temporal analysis. The Journal of the Learning Sciences, 17, 33–59.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  49. Moskaliuk, J., Kimmerle, J., & Cress, U. (2009). Wiki-supported learning and knowledge building: Effects of incongruity between knowledge and information. Journal of Computer Assisted Learning, 25, 549–561.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  50. Moskaliuk, J., Kimmerle, J., & Cress, U. (2012). Collaborative knowledge building with Wikis: The impact of redundancy and polarity. Computers & Education, 58, 1049–1057.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  51. Niederer, S., & Van Dijck, J. (2010). Wisdom of the crowd or technicity of content? Wikipedia as a sociotechnical system. New Media & Society, 12, 1368–1387.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  52. Nonaka, I., & Nishiguchi, T. (2000). Knowledge emergence: Social, technical, and evolutionary dimensions of knowledge creation. Oxford, England: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  53. Oeberst, A., Halatchliyski, I., Kimmerle, J., & Cress, U. (2014). Knowledge construction in Wikipedia: A systemic-constructivist analysis. The Journal of the Learning Sciences, 23, 149–176.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  54. Paavola, S., & Hakkarainen, K. (2005). The knowledge creation metaphor—An emergent epistemological approach to learning. Science & Education, 14, 535–557.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  55. Paavola, S., & Hakkarainen, K. (2009). From meaning making to joint construction of knowledge practices and artefacts—A trialogical approach to CSCL. In C. O’Malley, D. Suthers, P. Reimann, & A. Dimitracopoulou (Eds.), Computer supported collaborative learning practices: CSCL2009 Conference Proceedings (pp. 83–92). Rhodes, Greece: International Society of the Learning Sciences.Google Scholar
  56. Paavola, S., Lipponen, L., & Hakkarainen, K. (2004). Models of innovative knowledge communities and three metaphors of learning. Review of Educational Research, 74, 557–576.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  57. Popper, K. R. (1968). Epistemology without a knowing subject. Studies in Logic and the Foundations of Mathematics, 52, 333–373.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  58. Popper, K. R. (1972). Objective knowledge: An evolutionary approach. Oxford, England: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  59. Purdy, J. P. (2009). When the tenets of composition go public: A study of writing in Wikipedia. College Composition and Communication, 61, 383.Google Scholar
  60. Reffay, C., & Chanier, T. (2002). Social network analysis used for modeling collaboration in distance learning groups. In S. A. Cerri, G. Gouardères, & F. Paraguaçu (Eds.), ITS 2002 lecture notes in computer science, 2363 (pp. 31–40). Heidelberg, Germany: Springer.Google Scholar
  61. Reimann, P. (2009). Time is precious: Variable-and event-centred approaches to process analysis in CSCL research. International Journal of Computer-Supported Collaborative Learning, 4, 239–257.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  62. Ryberg, T., & Larsen, M. C. (2008). Networked identities: Understanding relationships between strong and weak ties in networked environments. Journal of Computer Assisted Learning, 24, 103–115.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  63. Saviotti, P. (2009). Knowledge networks: Structure and dynamics. In A. Pyka & A. Scharnhorst (Eds.), Innovation networks: Developing an integrated approach (pp. 19–41). Heidelberg, Germany: Springer.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  64. Scardamalia, M. (2002). Collective cognitive responsibility for the advancement of knowledge. In B. Smith (Ed.), Liberal education in a knowledge society (pp. 67–98). Chicago, IL: Open Court.Google Scholar
  65. Scardamalia, M., & Bereiter, C. (1994). Computer support for knowledge-building communities. The Journal of the Learning Sciences, 3, 265–283.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  66. Scardamalia, M., & Bereiter, C. (2006). Knowledge building: Theory, pedagogy and technology. In K. Sawyer (Ed.), Cambridge handbook of the learning sciences (pp. 97–118). Cambridge, England: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
  67. Siemens, G. (2012). Learning analytics: Envisioning a research discipline and a domain of practice. In S. Buckingham Shum, D. Gasevic, & R. Ferguson (Eds.), Proceedings of the Second International Conference on Learning Analytics and Knowledge, LAK’12 (pp. 4–8). New York, NY: ACM Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  68. Stahl, G., Koschmann, T., & Suthers, D. (2006). Computer-supported collaborative learning: An historical perspective. In R. K. Sawyer (Ed.), Cambridge handbook of the learning sciences. Cambridge, England: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
  69. Surowiecki, J. (2005). The wisdom of crowds. New York, NY: Anchor Books.Google Scholar
  70. Susi, T., & Ziemke, T. (2001). Social cognition, artifacts, and stigmergy: A comparative analysis of theoretical frameworks for the understanding of artifact-mediated collaborative activity. Cognitive Systems Research, 2, 273–290.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  71. Suthers, D. (2006). Technology affordances for intersubjective meaning-making: A research agenda for CSCL. International Journal of Computers-Supported Collaborative Learning, 1, 315–337.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  72. Suthers, D., & Verbert, K. (2013). Learning analytics as a “middle space”. In D. Suthers, K. Verbert, E. Duval, & X. Ochoa (Eds.), Proceedings of the 3rd International Conference on Learning Analytics and Knowledge, LAK’13 (pp. 1–4). New York, NY: ACM Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  73. Swarts, J. (2009). The collaborative construction of “fact” on Wikipedia. In Proceedings of the 27th ACM International Conference on Design of Communication (pp. 281–288). New York, NY: ACM Press.Google Scholar
  74. Tapscott, D., & Williams, A. D. (2006). Wikinomics: How mass collaboration changes everything. New York, NY: Portfolio.Google Scholar
  75. Theiner, G., Allen, C., & Goldstone, R. L. (2010). Recognizing group cognition. Cognitive Systems Research, 11, 378–395.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  76. Viégas, F. B., Wattenberg, M., & Dave, K. (2004). Studying cooperation and conflict between authors with history flow visualizations. In Proceedings of the SIGCHI Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems (pp. 575–582). New York, NY: ACM Press.Google Scholar
  77. von Foerster, H. (2003). Understanding understanding: Essays on cybernetics and cognition. New York, NY: Springer.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  78. von Glasersfeld, E. (1995). Radical constructivism: A way of knowing and learning. Bristol, PA: Falmer Press/Taylor & Francis.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  79. Voss, J. (2005). Measuring Wikipedia. In P. Ingwersen & B. Larsen (Eds.), Proceedings of 10th International Conference of the International Society for Scientometrics and Informetrics (pp. 221–231). Stockholm, Sweden: Karolinska University Press.Google Scholar
  80. Wasko, M. M., & Faraj, S. (2005). Why should I share? Examining knowledge contribution in networks of practice. MIS Quarterly, 29, 35–58.Google Scholar
  81. Wassermann, S., & Faust, K. (1994). Social network analysis: Methods and application. Cambridge, England: Cambridge University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  82. Wellman, B. (1997). Structural analysis: From method and metaphor to theory and substance. Contemporary Studies in Sociology, 15, 19–61.Google Scholar
  83. Wenger, E. (1998). Communities of practice: Learning, meaning, and identity. Cambridge, England: Cambridge University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  84. Wöhner, T., & Peters, R. (2009). Assessing the quality of Wikipedia articles with lifecycle based metrics. In Proceedings of the 5th International Symposium on Wikis and Open Collaboration. New York, NY: ACM Press.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing Switzerland 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Knowledge Construction LabLeibniz-Institut für WissensmedienTubingenGermany

Personalised recommendations