March 11, 2015

The Research Desk: Mining Twitter, Disasters, Disease, and More

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sketch garyTime once again for a roundup of some web resources we think you might want to know about and add to your collection of web-based research resources.

  1. Social Media: Predicting Civil Unrest by Mining Twitter and Tumblr

Research Article: “Using Publicly Visible Social Media to Build Detailed Forecasts of Civil Unrest,” Published in Security Informatics (3:4; 2014)

“We demonstrate how one can generate predictions for several thousand incidents of Latin American civil unrest, often many days in advance, by surfacing informative public posts available on Twitter and Tumblr.”

The full text article is open access and available at no charge.

brookings report2

Network relationships among “official” ISIS accounts, 1/2014 (Source: Brookings Institution)

Also, last week the Brookings Institution published an interesting report on the how ISIS/ISIL uses Twitter. The full text report, “ISIS Twitter Census: Defining and Describing the Population of ISIS supporters on Twitter,” is available online.

  1. Open Data: The World Bank Data Blog

Those of you interested in learning about new and interesting uses of open data from the World Bank and other sources should take a look at Open Data: The World Bank Data Blog. An RSS feed and email alert about new postings is also available. The blog often shares useful posts on specific topics that utilize open data.

For example, the blog recently posted, “The Global State of Gender — Seven Charts” features data on gender equality issues from UNESCO, ILO, WHO, and others.

  1. Disaster Database Compilation from GRIP (Global Risk Information Platform)

grip logo“The Disaster portal aims at providing valuable disaster loss  information by facilitating centralized access to disaster loss  databases worldwide. The disaster portal builds on DisDAT, which is the result of the collaboration between the Centre for Research on the Epidemiology of Disasters (CRED) and the Global Risk Identification  Program (GRIP), with the financial support of United States Agency for International Development (USAID).”

  1. Disease Outbreak News (DON) from the World Health Organization

The platform (RSS available here) is part of WHO’s website and shares news and frequent updates about outbreaks of disease across the world. View archived reports by year (back to 1996), country, or disease.

  1. The Woodrow Wilson Center’s “International History Declassified” Digital Archive

wilson center“The Digital Archive contains once-secret documents from governments all across the globe, uncovering new sources and providing fresh insights into the history of international relations and diplomacy. It collects the research of three Wilson Center projects which focus on the interrelated histories of the Cold War, Korea, and nuclear proliferation.”

sketch garyGary Price ( is a librarian, writer, consultant, and frequent conference speaker based in the Washington, D.C., metro area. He is the author of INFOdocket (@infodocket) for Library Journal, and was a co-founder and senior editor at ResourceShelf and DocuTicker. Previously, Price served as a contributing editor to Search Engine Land and director of Online Information Services at 

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