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from ACM's TechNews today:

  Barry Wellman   S.D. Clark Professor of Sociology   NetLab Director
  Centre for Urban & Community Studies          University of Toronto
  455 Spadina Avenue    Toronto Canada M5S 2G8    fax:+1-416-978-7162
  wellman at
        for fun:

A Ph.D. student in physics at Harvard University has developed software
that is designed to help students and other users of Wikipedia quickly
find more information about a subject.  The software would find additional
articles that are relevant to the subject in the free online encyclopedia,
and suggest the order in which they should be read.  In developing the
software, Alexander Wissner-Gross learned much from an algorithm that
analyzes the popularity of pages and the number of other pages that are
linked to them, and another algorithm that studies the number of links
between articles.  Wissner-Gross believes researchers will embrace
software that would provide them with selected reading material for
gaining a quick overview of a subject, and Cornell University information
networks specialist Jon Kleinberg is optimistic about the new tool's
approach to the surge in information content, adding that Wikipedia's
fairly unstructured state is similar to the early Web.  "Given this, it's
natural to adapt analysis techniques that have worked well for Web
content," he says.  Kleinberg also sees the potential of delivering
reading material based on the identity of Wikipedia editors.  "In this
way, one can try making 'Amazon-style' recommendations, like 'people who
edited this page also edited this,'" explains Kleinberg.

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