Campus Academic Strategies and Technology (4CAST) Conference 2010
Iowa City, IA
This Fall, eight computers were quietly humming in the Main Library, tirelessly collecting data for Political Science Professor Bob Boynton and the students of his Global Political Communication and Multimedia Politics courses. Among other new media trends, he and his students examined how the popular microblogging platform Twitter is impacting the way people exchange political information. With the assistance of Digital Library Services, they collected Twitter data by constantly running The Archivist, a free tool for harvesting "tweets." Throughout the semester, they could remotely start, stop, and monitor ongoing searches of Twitter messages and export the resulting data for analysis. Unfolding events, such as the healthcare reform, unemployment, and the Indonesian Earthquake, steered the research. Students published web reports of their findings throughout the semester.
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