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Call for participation in the Digital Methods Winter School, Amsterdam, January 2014

Dear all,

We are very pleased to announce the 6th annual Digital Methods Winter School, Mini-conference as well as International Workshop and Data Sprint to take place 13-17 January 2014 at the University of Amsterdam. The Winter School this year is dedicated to online data analysis, and has as its workshop and data sprint theme the study of hate violence as well as extremism, using software tools for social media data collection and analysis. 

This year’s Winter School brings together motivated scholars, PhD candidates as well advanced Master’s students (together with groups of information designers and programmers) for a full week beginning with an opening day event with subject matter expert talks, followed by a parallel mini-conference and sprint on the second day, and finally further data sprinting for the remainder of the week, culminating in final presentations. 

We have sentiment analysts on hand, together with Facebook and Twitter data extraction experts. We also have extremism and hate monitoring professionals from governmental and non-governmental organisations, who will provide us with the state of the art of online monitoring, and their current analytical interests and needs. We have asked them to speak about what else the Internet may add to the analysis. Thereafter, in the data sprint, the participants will seek to meet these needs (or others arising from the group work), outputting analyses and graphics, working in tandem with the information designers and programmers.

For PhD candidates and scholars attending there is also an opportunity to present a paper, and/or be a respondent, during the mini-conference. (Presenting papers is not a requirement for participating in the Winter School.) Each paper is shortly introduced, and two respondents provide 5-7 minute responses followed by author’s retort and general Q&A. 

For all questions please consult the co-organizers, Natalia Sanchez (N.SanchezQuerubin at uva.nl) and Liliana Bounegru (liliana.bounegru at digitalmethods.net). The call for participation to this year’s Digital Methods Winter School is below. I hope to be able to welcome you to Amsterdam in the new year!


Richard Rogers
Digital Methods Initiative
University of Amsterdam

My Sentiments Exactly: On Methods of Early Warning, Detection and Monitoring through Online and Social Media

Digital Methods Winter School 2014, Mini-Conference and International Workshop and Data Sprint

13-17 January 2014

Digital Methods Initiative
New Media & Digital Culture
University of Amsterdam
Turfdraagsterpad 9
1012 XT Amsterdam
the Netherlands

The Digital Methods Initiative (DMI), Amsterdam, is pleased to announce its 6th annual Winter School, entitled "My Sentiments Exactly: On Methods of Early Warning, Detection and Monitoring through Online and Social Media." The Digital Methods Winter School provides the opportunity for PhD candidates, advanced MA students and motivated scholars to work on timely research methods as well as present a short paper on digital methods and new media related topics, with feedback from the Amsterdam group of DMI researchers and international participants, often drawn from previous Digital Methods Summer and Winter Schools. This year's Winter School is five days, with one day devoted to the Mini-conference, where the papers are presented and participants also serve as respondents, and four days to the workshop. The theme of the workshop is "methods of early warning," and includes a data sprint. This year's edition will feature, among other interventions, guest lectures by eminent scholars and practitioners. Participants do not have to present a paper to take part in the workshop.

Digital Methods Winter School Workshop

The 2014 Digital Methods Winter School is devoted to methods of early warning, detection and monitoring with social media data. Animal spirits in the stock market, the mood of the people before the elections, the buzz leading up to the Oscars. Emmys and Grammys - these are some of the common use cases, and for some analysts "data fantasies", put forward for deploying digital detection programs. Occasionally expressed as opportunities in big data, early warning systems and other societal monitoring devices using social media data are of interest as an alternative social research arena even competing with the more conventional social scientific instrumentarium. Google Flu Trends and Dengue Fever Trends signalled the use of engine queries to study incidence of ailment and its geography. The work using Twitter as anticipatory space has been less effective, perhaps summarised in the academic paper entitled, "I Wanted to Predict Elections with Twitter and all I got was this Lousy Paper." The 2014 Digital Methods Summer School takes stock but also applies software techniques to study resonance, salience as well as sentiment using online data. Where are the fruitful realms of application for such monitoring techniques? Are the techniques well suited to the comment and review spaces online? May we characterise hashtags as polemical, comical, highly substantive or nonsensical? How to geo-locate hate speech? Whilst disparate the list of questions seeks to invite application of monitoring software to wide-ranging online data sets, and experimentation. How to determine the spaces and derive metrics for unrest, collective nervousness, and other such constructions. May we derive signatures of affective states?

Data Sprint: Hate Violence As Object of Online Study

Traditionally, victim studies have relied on two main sources of data: police reports and self-reporting aka victimisation data. Another way to gather instances of hate violence is to conduct press monitoring. More recently, projects have attempted to crowd-source hate crime reports but without great success. This workshop aims to fill in the gaps of these traditional forms of gathering victimisation data by building an apparatus that uses Facebook and Twitter to monitor instances that may lead to hate violence. In doing so we ask: Is there a link between incitements of violence on social media and wider violence? How can we find social media hate activity measures that correlate with violence acts? Could social media give us early warning tool for hate violence? Extremist sympathiser networks, activists as well as victim spaces online will be monitored. An activity measure that will be explored on both Facebook and Twitter is the content (images, URLs, videos) that is most circulated and that animates particular groups. Another approach takes selected events at its core and investigates hate incitement activity around these events on social media retrospectively, and correlates these online activities with violent acts.

Digital Methods Winter School Mini-Conference

The data sprint is the Winter School workshop. There is also the annual Digital Methods Winter School Mini-Conference. The mini-conference provides the opportunity for digital methods and allied researchers to present short yet complete papers (5,000-7,500 words) and serve as respondents, providing feedback. Often the work presented follows from previous Digital Methods Summer Schools. The mini-conference accepts papers in the general digital methods and allied areas: the hyperlink and other natively digital objects, the website as archived object, web historiographies, search engine critique, Google as globalizing machine, cross-spherical analysis and other approaches to comparative media studies, device cultures, national web studies, Wikipedia as cultural reference, the technicity of (networked) content, post-demographics, platform studies, crawling and scraping, graphing and clouding, and similar.

Winter School Schedule

13 January 9.30-17.00 Sentiments and extremism. Subject matter experts and sentiment analysts present. Location: TBA
14 January 9.30-17.00 Mini-conference, per paper: 5-minute paper presentations, two 5-minute responses, 5-minute author response, 5-minute Q&A.Location: Media Studies, Turfdraagsterpad 9, rooms 0.12, 0.13 and 0.04.
15 January 9.30-17.00 Workshop. Location: Media Studies, Turfdraagsterpad 9, rooms 0.12, 0.13 and 0.04.
16 January 9.30-17.00 Workshop. Location: Media Studies, Turfdraagsterpad 9, rooms 0.12, 0.13 and 0.04.
17 January 9.30-17.00 Workshop and afternoon presentations. Location: Media Studies, Turfdraagsterpad 9, rooms 0.12, 0.13 and 0.04. Afternoon presentations: Universiteitstheater, Nieuwe Doelenstraat 16, room 3.01.


How to get to/from Schiphol Airport, a guide. We recommend taking the train.
How to get to the University of Amsterdam, Media Studies, Turfdraagsterpad 9, 1012 XT, Amsterdam. Take tram 4, 9, 14, 16, 24, 25 and get of at Spui/Rokin then walk to Oude Turfmarkt, enter the passage and it's the first building on your left.

Map for the different locations:
A) Media Studies. Turfdraagsterpad 9, 1012 XT, Amsterdam. Rooms: 0.13 and 0.04
B) Universiteitstheater/University Theatre, Nieuwe Doelenstraat 16, 1012 CP, Amsterdam. Room 3.01
C) Oudemanhuispoort 4-6, 1012 CN Amsterdam
Also, Google Maps with all locations of the University of Amsterdam.

Sharing content

We will have an open Skype channel for all participants.
Twitter: #dmiwinter14

Application, Fees & Logistics

Application deadline is 18 December 2013. To apply please send along a letter of motivation as well as your CV to info at digitalmethods.net. The fee for the Digital Methods Winter School 2014 is EUR 245. Bank transfer information will be sent along with the notification on 19 December 2013. The Winter School is self-catered. The venue is in the center of Amsterdam with abundant coffee houses and lunch places. The Winter School closes with a festive event, after the final presentations. Participants are expected to find their own housing (airbnb and other short-stay sites are helpful). The DMI organisers are happy to provide tips. Here is a guide to the Amsterdam new media scene.

About DMI

The Digital Methods Winter School is part of the Digital Methods Initiative, Amsterdam, dedicated to reworking method for Internet-related research. The Digital Methods Initiative holds the annual Digital Methods Summer Schools (six to date), which are intensive and full time 2-week undertakings in the Summertime. The 2014 Summer School will take place 23 June - 4 July 2014. The coordinators of the Digital Methods Initiative are Sabine Niederer and Esther Weltevrede (PhD candidates in New Media & Digital Culture, University of Amsterdam), and the director is Richard Rogers, Professor of New Media & Digital Culture, University of Amsterdam. Digital methods are online at http://www.digitalmethods.net/. The DMI about page includes a substantive introduction, and there is also a list of Digital Methods people, with bios. DMI holds occasional Autumn and Spring workshops, such as Mapping Populism in Europe and Climate Change and Conflict. There is also a Digital Methods book.

Liliana Bounegru | Researcher | @bb_liliana
Electronic Maps to Assist Public Science | Digital Methods Initiative | University of Amsterdam
www.emapsproject.com | www.digitalmethods.net | www.uva.nl
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