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Researchers Work on Web Site Credibility Tests

By Agence France Presse

April 27, 2009

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Scientists at the Know-Center, a technology research center in Austria, are developing software capable of quickly determining if a Web site is a credible source with reliable information. The program automatically analyzes and ranks blogs as being of high, average, or little credibility. Blogs are ranked by comparing statistical properties, such as the distribution of certain words over time, with news articles on the same topic from mainstream news sources previously determined to be credible. Know-Center researcher Andreas Juffinger says the program has delivered promising results and appears to be on the right track.

Similarly, Japanese researchers are developing a program that mines the Web for different viewpoints on an issue and presents them to Web users, along with supporting evidence as part of a "statement map" that illustrates how different opinions are related. "We really believe that 'statement maps' can help users come to conclusions about the reliability of a Web site," says Nara Institute of Science researcher Koji Murakami. Meanwhile, researchers at Italy's University of Udine are developing an algorithm to assign quality scores to Wikipedia articles and contributors. "Preliminary results demonstrate that the proposed algorithm seems to appropriately identify high and low quality articles," the research team writes in a paper presented at a recent World Wide Web conference in Madrid.

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