Many existing online sites claim to be collaborative communities but are really just places where people go to find or post things, not to interact with others in meaningful ways.
Analogies are useful in making the strange familiar (comparing something we don’t know to something we already know) and in making the familiar strange (gaining new insight on a concept we think we already know by comparing it to something seemingly unrelated).
How can the use of schemas from the visual and social world be used as interactive interface strategies for expressing the characteristics and behaviors of a strong community?
This investigation explores the use of an ontological schema in study groups paricular to library searches. How can the ontological schema help negotiate the values of the community for achieving particular goals through collaboration? How are differences in these goals expressed and negotiated?
The interface allows the user to discover study groups and form relationships with like minded people through the use of an orientational metaphor. The deeper the user dives into a study space, the more specific the group topic can become.
As George Lakoff and Mark Johnson describe in, Metaphors We Live By, "Just as the basic experiences of human spatial orientations give rise to orientational metaphors, so our experiences with physical objects (especially our own bodies) provide the basis for an extraordinarily wide variety of ontological metaphors that is, ways of viewing events, activities, emotions, ideas etc., as entities and substances."