17 July 2018 | 15:00-16:30 Glasgow | Urban Big Data Centre


Invitation to DPC Members to Attend an Urban Big Data Centre (UBDC) Methods Seminar co-hosted by DPC with talks by Raymond Cha of the Environmental Data & Governance Initiative (EDGI) on Monitoring US Federal Websites on Climate Change, Energy, and the Environment and Shawn Walker of Arizona State University on The Ephemerality of Social Media: How Social Media Changes Over Time and Its Impact on Our Research

Raymond Cha of the Environmental Data & Governance Initiative (EDGI) will discuss the Initiative’s work monitoring US federal websites. For the last year and a half, EDGI has been keeping track of around 30,000 US federal websites (.gov) for changes in information on and language about climate change, energy, and the environment.

The Initiative collects these data from crawlers and a diffing tool. A team of volunteer analysts then reviews the data and creates reports documenting significant findings using workflows designed to interpret changes without publicizing alarmist and incorrect findings. This trove of analysis is then made available to a pool of over a hundred journalists. Cha’s talk will discuss this work and the methods used the collect and manage this data.

Shawn Walker, Assistant Professor of Social Technologies at Arizona State University will discuss the challenges of using API-harvested datasets, drawing on his research into the spread of Fake News on social media platforms. Despite widespread use, relatively little is known about how social media datasets change when observed at different points over time or how collection methods may impact the data at the core of our research projects. In his talk, he will quantify and discuss how social media datasets change over time and how change impacts the reliability and authenticity of this data. Three Twitter-based case studies, each exhibiting prototypical elements social scientists encounter in their research will used to demonstrate the impact of research design and data collection choices.

The work undertaken by Cha and Walker reflects a growing urgency created by the ephemeral and highly vulnerable nature of many forms of web-based data. The short lifespan of many types of data pose a serious challenge for those with a responsibility to preserve them.  Current uncertainty about information and the sources traditionally relied upon to provide trustworthy reporting make it more important than ever to work in partnership across disciplines to confront this challenge. These talks will provide insight into the nature and behaviour of these data and will provide impetus for taking on the challenge of preserving them for the use of researchers, journalists, and decision-makers.

The talk will be part of the Urban Big Data Centre’s Methods Seminars

UBDC Methods Seminars take place at UBDC’s headquarters at the University of Glasgow and are intended to provide an engaging and informal space for sharing knowledge about methods, processes, analyses, problems, barriers and ethical issues relating to urban and other data. The seminar will feature talks by Cha and Walker as well as a session immediately following for Q&A and discussion.

Raymond Cha, Software Project Manager (EDGI)

An experienced product manager with more than 5 years’ experience working on SaaS enterprise web and mobile apps for the healthcare and financial services industries, Cha equally enjoys collaborating with developers and designers. Cha helps develop website monitoring software for EDGI, which focuses on creating a system to enable analysts to quickly review monitored government websites in order to report on meaningful changes. The Website Monitoring automated system aims to make these changes easy to track, review, and report on. EDGI’s software development efforts are coordinated on GitHub in the website monitoring repository.

Shawn Walker, Assistant Professor of Communication / Social Technologies (ASU)

Walker's research focuses on two complementary areas: 1) new forms of political participation emerging on social media platforms and 2) the related challenges of collecting, analyzing, and working with data from these platforms. This work examines how new forms of political participation are emerging on social media platforms through the analysis of social media posts surrounding social movements, protests, and elections. His work on social media methods also addresses gaps in understanding about social media data, collection methods, and the implications (ethics, representation, etc.) of using those methods. Walker received his PhD in Information Science from the University of Washington Information School. He is a founding member of the Social Media (SoMe) Lab @ UW and a member of the DataLab. He also earned degrees in International Studies, and Liberal Studies, with a focus on public policy and technology, from Northern Kentucky University.

How to register?

This event is free and open to all Full and Associate DPC Members. but there are limited seats available.

DPC Members please login to register.

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