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VERDIKT Project

A new project on databased methods for analysing polarisation and information dissemination in the blogosphere has received funding from the Norwegian Research Council's VERDIKT programme.

The project, called Accessing and analysing the blogosphere: charting the distribution, flow and development of statements across online social networks, is a collaboration between the Department of Information Science and Media Studies and Uni Computing, and is led by Professor Dag Elgesem.

About the project:

As the volume of electronically available information continues to grow  rapidly, blogs are increasingly being used in the public sphere as sources of information. Thus the blogosphere is becoming an archetypal example of how social networks play a crucial role in mediating the flow of information between individuals and organizations. Interestingly, the blogosphere is both a social network and a network of texts. It is an important research challenge to understand the relationship between the two types of network, and the interplay between the social processes realised in blogs, the flow of information and opinion formation. 

This project will develop methods and tools to detect, analyse and visualize the distribution, flow and development of knowledge and opinions across online social networks. In broad terms, our approach synthesizes techniques from computational linguistics, network analysis and information visualization, which will enjoy a synergistic relationship with social science theories and models of information diffusion and uptake. The approach includes two principal innovations. Firstly, information is to be characterised by 'key statements', rather than keywords, in order to better capture the content of discussions and different opinions. Secondly, the techniques to analyse and visualize online discussions will synthesize data about the network of texts and data about social networks. Tools will be developed with regards to two sets of users: (i) general users who want to access information from the blogosphere and engage in discussions; (ii) media monitors and social scientists who want to analyse information flow andrelated social processes.