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National Center for Supercomputing Applications

Assistant Professor Jana Diesner a received an Faculty Fellowship and seed funding for her project, “Predictive Modeling for Impact Assessment,” from the National Center for Supercomputing Applications (NCSA). Diesner collaborates closely with NCSA scientists on the project, which builds on her work developing computational solutions to assess the impact of issue-focused information projects such as social justice documentaries and books. Her research team leverages big social data for this purpose and combines techniques from machine learning and natural language processing to identify a fine-grained set of impact factors from textual data sources such as news articles, reviews, and social media. This project aims to locate...


How can we use user-generated content to construct, infer or refine network data? We have been tackling this problem by leveraging communication content produced and disseminated in social networks to enhance graph data. For example, we have used domain-adjusted sentiment analysis to label graphs with valence values in order to enable triadic balance assessment. The resulting method enables fast and systematic sign detection, eliminates the need for surveys or manual link labeling, and reduces issues with leveraging user-generated (meta)-data. 


Aug. 6, 2018

The identification of proper names of people, organizations, and locations from raw texts, referred to as Named Entity Recognition (NER), can be highly accurate when researchers use NER tools on a large collection of text with proper syntax. However, using existing NER tools for analyzing social media text can lead to poor identification of named entities. In particular, Twitter text frequently includes inconsistent capitalization, spelling errors, and shortened versions of words.

TwitterNER, an open-source tool developed by doctoral student Shubhanshu Mishra, who is supervised by Assistant Professor Jana Diesner, can help researchers interested in performing NER on social media text. TwitterNER has recently been shown (in an independent evaluation by Humangeo) to perform better in terms of precision than some other publicly...

Jul. 3, 2018

Doctoral student Shubhanshu Mishra will present his research at the 29th ACM Conference on Hypertext and Social Media, which will be held July 9-12 in Baltimore, Maryland. The conference will focus on the role of links, linking, hypertext, and hyperlink theory on the web and beyond.

Mishra will give the talk, "Detecting the correlation between sentiment and user-level as well as text-level meta-data from benchmark corpora," which he coauthored with Assistant Professor Jana Diesner. Their study examined whether users with similar Twitter characteristics have similar sentiments and what meta-data features of tweets and users correlate with tweet sentiment. 

From the abstract: We address these two questions by analyzing six popular benchmark datasets where tweets are annotated with sentiment labels. We consider user-level as well as tweet-...

Apr. 17, 2018

Assistant Professor Jana Diesner is the program co-chair of the 3rd International Workshop on Social Sensing (SocialSens 2018). The workshop will be held on April 17 in Orlando, in conjunction with the ACM/IEEE International Conference on Internet of Things Design and Implementation (IoTDI 2018).

SocialSens 2018 will bring together researchers and engineers from academia, industry, and government to present recent advances in social sensing, as described on the website:

Social sensing has emerged as a new paradigm for collecting sensory measurements by means of "crowd-sourcing" sensory data collection tasks to a human population. Humans can act as sensor carriers (e.g., carrying GPS devices that share location data), sensor operators (e.g., taking pictures with smart phones), or as sensors themselves (e.g., sharing their observations on Twitter). The proliferation of...

Feb. 14, 2018

The 2014 Ebola virus epidemic that originated in West Africa and spread to other parts of the globe was the deadliest Ebola outbreak in history. During this period, a frightened public turned to social media and internet search engines for information and to share news of the outbreak. According to a team of international researchers, including iSchool Research Scientist Ian Brooks, understanding the social media activity around a health crisis, like the 2014 Ebola outbreak, can help health organizations improve their communication strategies and prevent misinformation and panic.

Their paper, "Fear on the networks: analyzing the 2014 Ebola outbreak," was published in December in Pan American Journal of Public Health (41, 2017). In addition to Brooks, researchers included lead author Marcelo D’Agostino (Department of Communicable Diseases and...

Apr. 5, 2017

Hear from teen researchers who co-develop a survey focused on teen social media use. We'll discuss the research process, their findings, and future directions.

Questions? Contact rmmagee [at] (Rachel Magee)

Feb. 23, 2016

The Center for Children’s Books will host the 2016 Gryphon Lecture on Friday, March 11. The annual lecture, which is free and open to campus and the public, features a leading scholar in the field of youth and literature, media, and culture.

Denise Agosto, GSLIS research fellow and professor in Drexel University’s College of Computing & Informatics, will deliver this year’s lecture, "The True Story of Teens, Social Media, and Libraries: Using Teen-Centered Research to Break Down Pervasive Stereotypes.” Agosto’s research interests include youth information behaviors, public libraries, multicultural issues in youth library services, and qualitative research methods. She...

Jun. 9, 2015

Assistant Professor Jana Diesner spoke at the ninth International Conference on Web and Social Media (ICWSM) on May 27. Hosted annually by the Association for the Advancement of Artificial Intelligence, ICWSM addresses themes in social and computational sciences related to human social behavior on the web. The 2015 conference was held May 26-29 at the University of Oxford.

Diesner presented research conducted in collaboration with informatics doctoral student Craig Evans and GSLIS doctoral student Jinseok Kim in a talk titled, “Impact of Entity Disambiguation Errors on Social Network Properties.”