WeGov Field Trials
The evaluation of the initial WeGov toolbox via the WeGov field trials continued this autumn. As mentioned in our previous newsletter issues the aim of the WeGov field trials is to give governments the opportunity to engage directly with citizens via popular social networking sites; such as Facebook, Twitter and YouTube.
The GESIS field trial - dedicated to "Public Policy Research in Social Science" and being conducted with the German Parliament, the Federal Parliament of Nordrhein-Westfalen in Germany continued in October 2011 during the Open Government Camp, in Berlin (Germany), where GESIS discussed the toolbox functionality of the initial WeGov toolbox with various pertinent German stakeholders.
The Gov2u field trials - focused on "Diversity of opinion on Consumer Policy," and conducted face-to-face meetings with the Committee on the Internal Market and Consumer Protection (IMCO) of the European Parliament. They continued to liaise with MEPs via meetings, presentations and semi-structures interviews to showcase the initial WeGov toolbox and to gather their feedback and expectations regarding the WeGov user interface and underlying functionalities. An interactive demonstration session will be organized as a next step to collect MEPs feedback and further requirements. Efforts to motivate additional end-users within IMCO or among other MEPs and EP groups are being pursued.
As mentioned above the initial WeGov toolbox was also presented at the 1st WeGov workshop within eChallenges, in October 2011. The Consortium's aspiration was to demonstrate the initial WeGov toolbox and its implications and to get some early feedback from the audience on the concept and the user-interface (functionalities).
The core comments of the attendees’ were to “keep the toolbox simple” and that “localised search/analysis would be a real benefit”. This feedback will be used for the development process of the next version (second) of the WeGov toolbox.
Currently GESIS, Gov2u and Hansard Society are preparing for the field trials with the second version of the WeGov toolbox. During this process the feedback gathered from GESIS and Gov2u during this last implementation period, is in the progress to be disposed for the second WeGov toolbox version. The field trails are scheduled to start with the beginning of the new-year 2012.
Cologne - November 2011
A meeting was hosted by GESIS on 14th - 15th November 2011, in Cologne, Germany. WeGov technical partners, IT Innovation, OU (KMi) and UKob along with GESIS were the main participants. The main purpose of this gathering was to get a better understanding of “Topic Opinion Analysis" tool with the aim to better address politicians’ needs (which were determined during the last evaluation of the WeGov toolbox via the WeGov field trials) and identify the benefits of the tool. The future developments regarding the WeGov toolbox developments are: making the starting point as simple as possible and to advertise only a few key functionalities.
Getting to know WeGov toolbox’s tools & components
The University of Southampton (UoS) - IT Innovation Centre (ITInn) has completed two important components of the WeGov toolbox. IT Innovation has completed the coordinator and the scheduler, which are the main components for executing the tools in the WeGov toolbox and determining when they should be executed. Scheduling gives the user a considerable amount of power, as it means the tools can be run automatically on a pre-determined schedule, thus providing a large amount of automation. For example the user can configure a search on SNS, and set a schedule to re-execute this search every day. The result is that data is collected automatically without the user having to do anything. IT Innovation has also determined integration patterns, which allow many different types of tools to be used in the toolbox, and have already integrated some tools, with plans to integrate others.
The Open University (OU) - Knowledge Media institute (KMi) has also some of the key components (tools) that compile the WeGov toolbox. These tools and methods have been developed in order to assist policy-makers in understanding the citizens’ behaviour and discussion dynamics, injecting content with a better chance of getting the citizens’ attention and engaging more effectively with the public. In particular, the OU has developed the Discussion Activity and Prediction tool, which have been implemented on the WeGov toolbox.
The first summarises the past activity of a discussion over time, providing policy-makers a more intuitive manner of viewing posts rate, most active users and most replied posts. The second offers the policy maker the opportunity to focus on posts and users that are bound to generate a higher attention from the public (higher number of replying posts) and to engage more closely with them.
In addition to this, the OU has developed the behaviour analysis tool also incorporated within the WeGov toolbox and which was the core subject of the previously mentioned meeting in Cologne, in November 2011. The tool provides policy-makers smaller and more manageable groups of users characterised by their activity. For example, in the case of Twitter, where there’s a plethora of users publishing content, this tool offers to policy-makers the option of concentrating on a certain type of users, e.g., the type of “Information Source”, characterised by his activity and engagement (tweeting, following) with his audience. The interaction with such types of users can help the policy maker interact with a larger scale of more active users. This tool uses Knowledge Modelling methods to characterise the user based on his features and further classify him into the most appropriate type.
The OU has also performed large scale analysis on different types of online communities and has obtained a set of publication guidelines that can be used by the policy maker while posting with the aim to increase the probability of getting a larger audience attention in the framework of the project.
Furthermore University of Koblenz-Landau (UKob), Institute for Web Science and Technologies (WeST) investigated methods and ways for better summarization and presentation of online discussions in social media. In doing so, novel methods for joint topic-opinion analysis has been developed. The proposed methodology allows for detecting latent aspects of discussion tracks (sub-themes of interest), user opinions and key arguments regarding these aspects, as well as key contributors. The analysis employs state of the art methods of probabilistic Bayesian learning, in combination with opinion-centric mining of affect states and emotions and new authority ranking metrics. The resulting framework allows for integration of other content features, such as timestamps, geospatial knowledge, specific terms (such as years for characterization of future-oriented issues), and others. Many application examples with real data have demonstrated the practical feasibility of the proposed solution.
Moreover, results of Ukob research investigation are integrated with WeGov platform and dashboard in form of a more flexible topic-opinion analysis tool that allows for finding a) key topics of discussion; b) key postings with respect to topical relevance and various opinions, and c) key users that influenced the discussion flow. Lastly, the model can be now learned in a more stable way from a large-scale background corpus (i.e. beyond current discussion of interest), and also incrementally adjusted when new input data arrives, allowing for a more flexible and robust modeling of background themes and their evolution over time.
WeGov publication in ACM Transactions on Intelligent Systems and Technology (ACM TIST) - Journal
The article "Latent Spatial Semantics of Social Media" by Sergej Sizov has been accepted for publication in ACM Transactions on Intelligent Systems and Technology ACM TIST Journal. The article addresses the fundamental question of geo-spatial awareness in social media applications. The article will be included in a forthcoming ACM TIST issue which will be released within 2011.
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WeGov participated in TREC 2011, in November 2011
WeGov partner UKob, participated in the Text Retrieval Conference (TREC) 2011, on 15th - 18th of November, 2011 in Gaithersburg, Md. USA. It encourages research in information retrieval and related applications by providing a large test collection, uniform scoring procedures, and a forum for organizations interested in comparing their results. UKob contributed to the conference with the submission & presentation of a paper with the title “LiveTweet: Microblog Retrieval Based on Interestingness and an Adaptation of the Vector Space Model” which will be published at the conference proceedings in due time.
Find more about the TREC 2011
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WeGov participated in CIKM 2011, in October 2011
WeGov partner UKob participated in the 20th ACM Conference on Information and Knowledge Management (CIKM 2011), on 24th - 28th October 2011, in Glasgow, Scotland. Its purpose is to identify challenging problems facing the development of future knowledge and information systems, and to shape future research directions through the publication of high quality, applied and theoretical research findings. UKob contributed to the event by submitting & presenting a short paper with the title “Searching microblogs: coping with sparsity and document quality”.
View the presentation
Find more about the short paper
At the same event UKob co-organized in the roles of General Chair and Program Chair the Workshop “DETECT: International Workshop on DETecting and Exploiting Cultural diversiTy on the Social Web", on the 24th of October, 2011. The workshop aimed at at bringing together researchers and practitioners dealing with inter-cultural, multi-lingual and multi-national information environments in distinct contexts, and discovered synergies between their research fields. UKob has submitted successfully the workshop paper "Detecting Culture in Coordinates: Cultural Areas in Social Media" by Christoph Kling and Thomas Gottron, which was also presented at the workshop.
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WeGov was presented in ISWC 2011 in October 2011
WeGov partner OU participated at the 10th International Semantic Web Conference, in 23rd - 27th October 2011, in Bonn, Germany. ISWC is the major international forum where the latest research results and technical innovations on all aspects of the Semantic Web are presented. In this event, the OU team presented their work towards modelling and analysing user behaviour in online communities. The goal of this work is to monitor and capture member activities and to analyse emerging behaviour over time.
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WeGov was presented in SocialCom2011in October 2011
WeGov partner OU participated in the third IEEE International Conference on Social Computing, on 9th-10th October, 2011 in Boston, USA. The Third IEEE International Conference on Social Computing (SocialCom2011) provides a key forum for researchers and industry practitioners to exchange information regarding advancements in the state of art and practice of social computing. In this event, the OU team presented their work for anticipating discussion activity on community forums. OU addressed two main research questions: which features are key to stimulating discussions; and, how do these features influence discussion length? This analysis offers policy makers the opportunity to focus on posts that are bound to generate a higher attention from the public.
View the presentation
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Find more about the submitted paper
WeGov was presented in the Government 2.0 Camp 2011 in September 2011
WeGov partner GESIS participated in the Government2.0 Camp (Open Government Camp) 2011, on 29th - 30th September 2011 in Berlin, Germany. It is a networking event which aims to bridge the gap between society and government administration. WeGov illustrated the initial WeGov toolbox to policy- makers and politicians and held an open discussion to gather their feedback on the WeGov toolbox.
Find more about Government 2.0 Camp 2011
WeGov participated in the ICEGOV2011 in September 2011 - New publication
WeGov partners GESIS and Gov2u participated in the 5th International Conference on Theory and Practice of Electronic Governance on 26 - 28 September 2011, in Tallinn, Estonia. GESIS was part of the poster session to present the case-study with the title “Rethinking Governance via Social Networking - The Case of direct vs. indirect stakeholder injection” illustrating the project.
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WeGov participated in IFIP - EGOV 2011 in August 2011
GESIS participated in IFIP e-Government conference (IFIP EGOV) 2011, on 28 August - 2 September 2011 in Delft (The Netherlands). GESIS presented some evaluation results of the information and dissemination behavior of stakeholders of the German Bundestag with the title “Public Politician Profiles on Facebook and the gap of ‘Authenticity’”. The presentation was part of the workshop “Open Governmental Data from Governments to Science and Society: The ENGAGE project”. GESIS gave another presentation on the workshop “Open Government: Contribution from Current EC-funded Projects to Citizen Participation, Good Governance and Collaborative Policy Development” with a short discussion on the lessons learned within the WeGov project.
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View the second presentation
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WeGov participated in ePart 2011 in August 2011
ITInn participated in the third international conference on eParticipation (ePart 2011), on 29 August - 1 September 2011, in Delft, The Netherlands. WeGov presented a research paper with the title SNS-Based eParticipation and Cloud Computing - A Consideration of the Issues Raised. The presentation took place under the conference section Innovative Technologies on Wednesday, 31st of August 2011.
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Read the presented paper
WeGov Future Events
WeGov announces its participation in “Science meets Parliament” event in April 2012
GESIS will participate in the "Science meets Parliament" event, hosted by the State Parliament Nordrhein-Westfalen, on the 25th of April 2012, in Germany. This event addresses Parliamentarians to suggest using solutions, methods and tools development by different Leibniz organizations. GESIS is going to present the WeGov Toolbox. The title of the presentation is: “Using Facebook, Twitter and Co. for the decision making process - Enriching the dialogue with citizens by monitoring opinions and identifying local topics". More information regarding the event will be published soon the project website in due time.