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Workshop: From Words to Networks: Text-based/ Semantic Network Analysis 

at Sunbelt 2016 (http://insna.org/sunbelt2016/)

Session Time: Tuesday April 5th, 6:30-9:30pm, and Wednesday April 6th, 8:00am-12:00pm

Instructor: Jana Diesner


Natural language text data can be a rich source of information about networks. This workshop introduced participants to fundamental theories, concepts and methods for going from words to networks. The focus is on practical, hands-on skills for constructing network data. Attendants will learn text mining and natural language processing techniques including:

Why bother?

The functioning and dynamics of real-world networks often involve the production, processing and flow of knowledge and information, which are often represented in the form of text data. In this workshop, participants learn how to a) construct network data based on text data and textual meta-data and b) jointly consider text data and network data for analysis. The latter step allows for considering two types of behavioral information for network analysis, namely social interaction and language use.

Using text data for network analysis is useful for answering questions like: Who is talking to whom, and about what? What social agents or stakeholders are associated with that themes and opinions? What perception or mental models of certain themes do social agents have? How can we track the evolution and diffusion of opinions in teams, society and online? Throughout this workshop, we discuss practical applications from various domains for the introduced techniques.

Who should attend?

We aim to equip the attendees with the skills and tools needed to apply the covered techniques to their own research questions and text data sets. This is an interdisciplinary and interactive workshop designed to benefit from the participation of attendants from different backgrounds. The material, exercises and mode of delivery are suitable for researchers and practitioners alike. No prior knowledge or computational skills are required.

What to bring to the workshop?

Software: We will use ConText (http://context.lis.illinois.edu). Prior to the workshop, we will send an email to confirmed participants with links and installation instructions for any tools needed. You are invited to bring a laptop to the workshop. If attendants cannot bring a laptop they will still fully benefit from the workshop as we screen-project all live walk-through exercises.

Data: Attendants can work with the sample data that we provide and/ or bring their own data. 

Jana Diesner, PhD
Assistant Professor
The iSchool/ GSLIS
Affiliate at Department of Computer Science
Faculty Fellow at National Center for Supercomputing Applications (NCSA)
University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Phone: 412 519 7576

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