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An Interview with Marc Smith at CNI's 2007 Spring Task Force Meeting, Part I

This is part one of a two-part podcast featuring an interview with Marc Smith at the CNI Spring 2007 Task Force Meeting. This first part of the interview lasts approximately 22 minutes and looks at online communities and collective action. We also discuss some of the projects he and his colleagues are researching. Many of the software programs he mentions in the podcast can be downloaded at the Microsoft Research Website. Part two of our interview will focus on the future of collective action, social networking, and mobile devices.

Marc Smith is a senior research sociologist at Microsoft Research (MSR) specializing in the social organization of online communities and computer mediated interaction. He leads the Community Technologies Group at MSR, and he is the co-editor of Communities in Cyberspace (Routledge), a collection of essays exploring the ways identity, interaction and social order develop in online groups.

Smith's research focuses on computer-mediated collective action: the ways group dynamics change when they take place in and through social cyberspaces. Many “groups” in cyberspace produce public goods and organize themselves in the form of a commons. Smith's goal is to visualize these social cyberspaces, mapping and measuring their structure, dynamics and life cycles.

This research offers a means to gather historical data on the development of social cyberspaces and can be used to highlight the ways these groups differ from, or are similar to, face-to-face groups. Smith is applying this work to the development of a generalized community platform for Microsoft, providing a web based system for groups of all sizes to discuss and publish their material to the web.

This interview is provided courtesy of CNI and was recorded at their 2007 Spring Task Force Meeting.  The Coalition for Networked Information (CNI) is an organization dedicated to supporting the transformative promise of networked information technology for the advancement of scholarly communication and the enrichment of intellectual productivity.  You can learn more about CNI at their web site,


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Running time: 23m 13s
File size: 21.26 MB

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