Social Media in GE16


As part of the Insight4Elections project at UCD, we tracked the Twitter activity of candidates and parties participating in the Irish General Election 2016, looking at their online engagements levels with the electorate. More that 70 per cent of candidates had a Twitter account, up from 57 per cent during the 2011 election. However, the […]

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Dáil Éireann Ngram Viewer


The Google Ngram Viewer, an online search engine which charts frequencies of phrases in a corpus of millions of digitised books, has received considerable attention in the field of computational linguistics and beyond. Here an ngram refers to a contiguous sequence of n words extracted from a particular book. A similar study by FiveThirtyEight in […]

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Topic Modeling the European Parliament


The plenary sessions of the European Parliament (EP) are one of the most important arenas in which European politicians can air questions, express criticisms, and take policy positions to influence EU politics. In recent years, there has been an explosion in the amount of online data detailing the content of MEP speeches, currently hosted on […]

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NMF for Topic Modeling


Topic modeling is a key tool for the discovery of hidden structure in large collections of documents. Probabilistic methods, such as Latent Dirichlet allocation (LDA), are often employed by using tools such as the Java MALLET library. However, a highly-effective alternative is to use Non-negative Matrix Factorization (NMF). NMF refers to an unsupervised family of […]

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Stability Analysis for Clustering


A frequent question that arises when applying unsupervised learning methods, such as cluster analysis or topic modeling, is “how many clusters are in my data set”? While domain knowledge can often help to narrow down this choice to a smaller range, choosing one or more specific values of the number of clusters k often presents […]

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Practical Social Network Analysis With Gephi


Recently I presented a tutorial at the VOX-Pol project’s inaugural Summer School in DCU, which covered practical analysis and visualisation of social networks. Since 2010, my application of choice for visualising networks has been the excellent open source Java-based Gephi Platform, developed by Mathieu Bastian and his colleagues. The three screen overview/tabular/preview interface fits well […]

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Exploring the Irish Blogosphere


In 2011, at the ICWSM conference in Barcelona we presented the first quantitative analysis of the Irish blogosphere, working with Karen Wade from the Humanities Institute of Ireland (HII). Since then, there has been considerable change in the use of blogs, particularly with the rapidly increasing popularity of microblogging platforms such as Twitter. In September […]

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Finding Patterns in Movie Lists (Part 2)


In my previous post, I described the collection and initial characterisation of a new dataset, consisting of user curated lists of movies originating from IMDb. Here I provide a more in-depth analysis of the data, by applying techniques from social network analysis and bibliographic analysis to discover latent patterns of movies within the aggregated list […]

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