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EXpertise, Authority and Control on the InterneT (EXACT): a study of the formation of source credibility in Web 2.0 environments for learning

The EXACT project addresses how people come to grips with the transference of formal expertise and control of information from institutions, such as publishers, schools, and libraries, to the users in Web 2.0 resources, and how users justify and uphold trust in the resources’ authority.

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With the increasing use of Web 2.0 tools in schools, a better foundation for understanding how students approach these tools as resources for learning is needed, so that schools can develop methods that better support the students. Studies in education and library and information science have shown that students have difficulties with judging source credibility.

Three groups of agents involved in the use of Web 2.0 resources in a school environment are studied: consumers (high school students), intermediaries (teachers and librarians), and producers (authors of wiki entries and blogs). To provide a multifaceted understanding of how the agents construct source credibility in Web 2.0 resources, a number of complementary methods are used, e.g. focus groups, interviews, web questionnaires, blog diaries, and text analyses of trade journals and of wiki and blog entries. The project also includes a study of how the material properties of wikis and blogs influence authority. This investigation of the interaction between learning and new tools for information seeking will contribute new theoretical and empirical understanding of practical importance in schools and libraries.

PI was professor Olof Sundin, who at the time was employed at the University of Gothenburg and the University of Borås. Professor Mikael Alexandersson, then at Department of Education, University of Gothenburg was also a member of the project.