The MassMine open source data mining software enables researchers to collect their own social media and web data archives and supports data mining, thus providing free access to “big data” for academic inquiry. MassMine further supports researchers in creating and defining methods and measures for analyzing cultural and localized trends, and developing humanities research questions and data mining practices. MassMine and tools like it are critical for enabling new approaches to small and big data for humanists by creating access to data with tools for data mining, processing, and analysis. This meet-up will take the form of a hands-on training session for using MassMine. The session will include an introduction to MassMine and how it was created in response to a humanities research question, how to use MassMine on UF Research Computing servers, and a larger discussion of developing research questions, project scope, goals for data research, methodological concerns including data acquisition strategies for statistical needs and intellectual goals, data privacy and IRBs, and open discussion of humanities concerns and considerations with data research.
With MassMine on my mind, I came across another resource for social and web research: the Digital Ecologies Research Partnership (DERP). DERP seeks to enable scholarly research with social and web data by creating an alliance of community websites and having them connect to/with scholars through DERP. From the DERP website:
Launched in 2014, the Digital Ecologies Research Partnership (DERP) is a joint initiative by an alliance of community websites to promote open, publicly accessible, and ethical academic inquiry into the vibrant social dynamics of the web.
DERP seeks to solve two problems in the academic research space:
First, it is difficult for academic researchers to easily obtain data for their work beyond the confines of the largest social media platforms. DERP is a single point of contact for researchers to get in touch with relevant team members across a range of different community sites. We envision that this will lower the friction to investigating these sites in more depth, and broaden the scope of research happening within the academic community.
Second, it remains difficult to conduct good cross-platform analyses in academic research. By bringing a number community of sites together under a single cooperative effort, we intend to lower the friction of doing so, as well as better enable the sites themselves to coordinate with one another on supporting researchers.
DERP focuses on providing public data to academic researchers while facilitating an active online research community of Fellows. DERP will only support research that respects user privacy, responsibly uses data, and meets IRB approval. All research supported by DERP will be released openly and made publicly available. Partner platforms may also have additional guidelines and privacy commitments that apply to the research they support.