Humanities Software Development: Data Mining and Writing Studies


We will provide a short introduction to the software project called MassMine–an open source software, developed by academic/humanities researchers, for use within the academy. The software has been used to data mine Twitter and this data is being analyzed as the basis for a publication about trends, media ecology, and the concept of cybernetic “attention.” Our short presentation will explain how the software project resulted from limitations in currently available tools for conducting academic research on social media. The goal is for introduction to lead to engaging and innovative dialogue about the prospects for humanities software development, the ongoing task of understanding how/why data science/mining may present useful methods for research in the humanities, and/or how software development and data science may be integral to the research of “writing” (any form of inscription or multi-modal composition) as it occurs within an ever-changing and restructuring media ecology.

–Nicholas M. Van Horn will be co-presenting/collaborating remotely for this session


Categories: Coding, Data Mining, General, Research Methods, Session: Make, Social Media |

4 Responses to Humanities Software Development: Data Mining and Writing Studies

  1. Pingback: Overview for My Day of DH Activities (cross-posted from Day of DH, #DayofDH ) | Laurie N. Taylor

  2. I think a lot of people, including myself, will be interested in learning how to use this. I wonder if this session could be held in the computer lab so that we could all take the software for a test-drive? Thanks!

  3. Laurie says:

    Aaron and folks like me in UF’s Smathers Libraries are also discussing developing a collaborative grant proposal for next steps in technical development, training, assessment, further user-focused development, and more. I’m very excited to see and be part of this discussion!

  4. Sophia,

    Laurie and other folks at UF Library and UF Research Computing have been helping us move into the beta test phase with our development. As it stands right now, MassMine must be used in a terminal running R software, BUT we are VERY close to finishing a basic options-based interface that calls upon a text template so that users don’t need to know how to operate a terminal in order to use MassMine. The good news is that UF Research Computing has setup a separate server for MassMine type projects, and therefore other potential UF collaborators (like yourself) will be able to data mine social media for their own specific projects. We will likely be ready to work with outside collaborators by the end of May–if not sooner.

    I am open to taking MassMine’s THATCamp presentation in whatever direction suits the participants–and I’m sure Laurie has some good ideas too. One direction may be discussing new potential research projects that deploy MassMine for collecting new data. This would be useful for us as we continue to develop the software, because we hope to identify a group of interdisciplinary beta-testers with unique social media research questions that are different from ours.


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