Harnessing global expertise: A comparative study of expertise profiling methods for online communities

Xiaomo Liu, G. Alan Wang, Aditya Johri, Mi Zhou, Weiguo Fan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Building expertise profiles in global online communities is a critical step in leveraging the range of expertise available in the global knowledge economy. In this paper we introduce a three-stage framework that automatically generates expertise profiles of online community members. In the first two stages, document-topic relevance and user-document association are estimated for calculating users’ expertise levels on individual topics. We empirically compare two state-of-the-art information retrieval techniques, the vector space model and the language model, with a Latent Dirichlet Allocation (LDA) based model for computing document-topic relevance as well as the direct and indirect association models for computing user-document association. In the third stage we test whether a filtering strategy can improve the performance of expert profiling. Our experimental results using two real datasets provide useful insights on how to select the best models for profiling users’ expertise in online communities that can work across a range of global communities.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)715-727
Number of pages13
JournalInformation Systems Frontiers
Issue number4
StatePublished - Sep 1 2014
Externally publishedYes


  • Expert finding
  • Global expertise
  • Information retrieval
  • Online communities

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Software
  • Theoretical Computer Science
  • Information Systems
  • Computer Networks and Communications


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