efios knowledge management points to Identifying Communities of Practice by Kieron O'Hara, Harith Alani and Nigel Shadbolt of the U. of Southampton and the Advanced Knowledge Technologies research consortium. efios describes the paper thusly, Networks uncovered using Ontology Network Analysis:
Ontocopi lets you infer the informal relations that define a community of practice from the presence of more formal relations. For instance, if A and B have no formal relation but they have both authored papers with C (formal relation), they might share interests (informal relation). Because Ontocopi works in this way, we cannot claim without qualification that it identifies communities of practice. Significant informal relations might have little or no connection to the formal ones. Here, we refer to the networks uncovered by Ontocopi as COPs and to informal social networks as communities of practice. We work under the assumption that COPs are sometimes decent proxies for communities of practice.
More background information for reading here (PDF paper)
The paper describes software they have created (Ontocopi) that parses an ontology to decipher the knowledge networks represented therein. The example ontology they use is an academic citation network enhanced with relationships and geographical information. There are something like 40 types of relationships in this ontology, so it goes well beyond a standard citation network. (See their Reference Ontology for details.) I wonder if this kind of ontology could enhance the research that Lilia and Anjo have published on detecting community via weblog link behavior
The AKT project also has tons of publications on various aspects of knowledge and technology.
Note about the title: The circles in which I travel frequently use ONA to denote "organizational network analysis" as a specific type of social network analysis.