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Adding Trust to Wikipedia, and Beyond

By Technology Review

September 4, 2009

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WikiTrust, developed by University of California, Santa Cruz (UCSC) researchers, helps users evaluate information published on Wikipedia by automatically assigning a reliability color code to the text, based on the reliability of the author and accuracy of the content.

WikiTrust algorithms determine these factors by examining how well received the author's contributions have been within the community, including how quickly an author's contributions are revised or reverted and the reputation of people who interact with the author. UCSC professor Luca de Alfaro says WikiTrust makes it harder to change information without anyone noticing, and makes it easier to analyze the reliability of information on a page. WikiTrust researchers are working on a version that features a full analysis of all edits made to the English-language version of Wikipedia. The principles behind the WikiTrust algorithms could be used on any site with collaboratively created content, de Alfaro says.

Similarly, the World Wide Web Consortium recently released the Protocol for Web Description Resources (POWDER), which aims to create a common language for building trust online. Using POWDER's specifications, a Web site can make claims about where information comes from and how it can be used. POWDER is designed to integrate with third-party authentication servers and to be machine-readable. Web users could install a POWDER plug-in that will look for claims made through POWDER on any given page, automatically check authentication, and inform other users of the result.

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Abstracts Copyright © 2009 Information Inc., Bethesda, Maryland, USA

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