Discover Text Software Training: Unlock the Power of Text

Friday, February 4, 9-1Stuart Shulman1 a.m.

Location: Frances Searle Building, Room 1.459 (SONIC Conference Room)

Discover Text Software Training: Unlock the Power of Text: A PhD-holding Political Scientist, Stu knows the importance of easy to use, powerful, text analytic software. As founder of a technology start up ( and the QDAP labs (, Stu’s work advances text mining and natural language processing research. His software trainings link these worlds via straightforward and easy to understand explanations of software features that can be tailored for all experience levels and project types.

Dr. Stuart W. Shulman is founder & CEO of Texifter, LLC and an Assistant Professor of Political Science at the University of Massachusetts Amherst. He is the founding Director of the Qualitative Data Analysis Program (QDAP) at the University of Pittsburgh and at UMass Amherst, as well as Associate Director of the National Center for Digital Government.

Collaboration between SONIC and CFES

On Monday, January 24, 2011, SONIC Lab Director Professor Noshir Contractor and Dr. Jan van Dijk of the Center for eGovernment (CFES), signed a memorandum of understanding.

The aim of the collaboration is to combine the research expertise of CFES with SONIC Lab’s in advancing our understanding the networked government. Examples of networks with the context of government:

  • Networks of collaborating governmental agencies
  • Communication networks between citizens, businesses, and governments
  • Intermediary networks (roles of intermediaries in the stakeholder/government relationship)
  • Open data networks

Understanding the complexities of the networked government is difficult. Research in this domain is scarce. The shortage of research is magnified by the rise of social media (web 2.0). We lack theories that explain and anticipate the transformation and impact of the networked government at the individual, organizational, and societal levels. The cooperation between CFES and SONIC will seek to advance our knowledge in this field.

The mission of the SONIC/CFES collaboration is the following:

The SONlC/CFES collaboration combines social network theories, methods, and tools with knowledge from the e-Government domain to understand and meet the needs of the networked government.

The research groups will exchange knowledge, collaborate on funding of projects for (internationally comparative) research, and coauthor publications.

The website for CFES:
The website for SONIC:

ICA and Sunbelt Conference paper acceptances

We have had papers accepted at the International Communication Association (ICA) and the INSNA Sunbelt conference for research related to team assembly and collaboration on Wikipedia articles about breaking news topics.

Keegan, B., Gergle, D., Contractor, N. (2011). “A Multi-theoretical, Multi-level Model of High Tempo Collaboration in an Online Community.” INSNA Sunbelt XXXI, Tampa, Florida.

Keegan, B. (2011). “Breaking News, Breaking Planes, and Breaking Hearts: Psycholinguistics and Sensemaking in Collaborative Accounts of Catastrophe.” International Communication Association, Boston, MA.

My ICA paper was nominated as a Best Student Paper for the Communication and Technology Division.

Gold farming conference acceptances

The VWO gold farming team has had several papers accepted for presentation at upcoming conferences.

Keegan, B., Ahmad, M., Williams, D., Srivastava, J., Contractor, N. (2011). “Mapping Gold Farming Back to Offline Clandestine Organizations: Methodological, Theoretical, and Ethical Challenges.” Game Behind the Video Game, Rutgers University, New Brunswick, NJ.

Keegan, B., Ahmad, M., Williams, D., Srivastava, J., Contractor, N. (2011). “Title: Using ERGMs to Map Online Clandestine Behavior to Offline Criminal Activity.” International Network of Social Network Analysis, Sunbelt XXXI, Tampa, FL.

See this and other VWO-related information at the project website.

Conference Acceptances Featuring CCAP work

International Sunbelt Social Network Conference (February 2011):
Young, L., & Contractor, N. (Feb 2011). Individual, tie, and network level predictors of access to social capital: Applying multi-level analysis to the study of ego-network capital. Paper presented at the 2011 International Sunbelt Social Network Conference, St. Pete Beach, FL.

International Communication Association Conference (May 2011):
Young, L., & Pieterson, W. (May 2011). Government to citizen communication in a networked world: †Integrating network and communication theories to inform strategic communication. Paper presented at the 2011 International Communication Association Conference, Boston, MA.
* Also to be presented at the ICA Strategic Communication Pre-Conference (May 26, 2011)

INFORMS 2010 papers

INFORMS 2010 accepts “Encounter in Virtual Space” by Yun Huang, Roger B. Chen, Hani S. Mahmassani, and Noshir Contractor. This paper studies the impact of distance proximity on players’ relation building in SONY EverQuest II game. Yun Huang will present it in Austin Texas on November 10th 2010.

Leslie DeChurch SONIC Speaker Series

Leslie DeChurch,Leslie DeChurch University of Central Florida “Collaboration within and across teams: Leadership forms and network structures” Friday, November 19, 2010.

Organizations are restructuring into collaborative work systems because they offer the ability to address complex problems by combining expertise distributed across business functions, knowledge specialties, geographic locations, and organizational boundaries. Often times the goals these systems face are complex and multifaceted requiring multiple distinct teams to coordinate their efforts and compile information for decision making distributed across a network of teams. The current study explores the structural contingency theory prediction that collaboration is a function of alignment between the form of leadership and structure of communication network. Ideas were tested in a sample in 80, 6-person networks tasked with performing a laboratory pc-game-based humanitarian aid task. Leadership form and communication network structures were manipulated, and effects on socio-cognitive networks, teamwork processes, and multiteam effectiveness examined.

Professor DeChurch’s research program explores what makes effective team leaders, how teams successfully collaborate across boundaries, and how leadership and team dynamics are sustained in virtual organizations. Professor DeChurch is currently Principal Investigator on “Building functionally collaborative infrastructure in virtual organizations” (NSF), and “Leadership in complex network environments” (Army Research Institute).


Collaboration Within and Across Teams


Scott Feld SONIC Speaker Series

Scott Feld, Purdue University “Social Network Theorizing Using Ideal Types” Friday, November 12, 2010 (audio and slides).
Scott L. Feld suggests that one approach to network theorizing is to identify a useful “ideal type,” carefully specify its defining properties, derive important implications of those properties, and consider how deviations from the defining properties affect the relevant implications. Professor Feld will illustrate this approach by considering the ideal type of a robust network hierarchy, distinguish it from other similar patterns (e.g. a transitive hierarchy or simple core-periphery), provide an empirical illustration, and consider some causes and consequence of this type of network pattern.

Scott L. Feld is Professor of Sociology (and Political Science) at Purdue University, and a Visiting Scholar at NICO. This presentation is part of his current effort to explicate the theoretical strategy in his earlier works on the focused organization of social ties, on friends of friends, and on the robust network hierarchies found in academia.


Social Network Theorizing Using Ideal Types


Benjamin Elbirt SONIC Speaker Series

Benjamin Elbirt, Chief Information Officer of INSNA, “Elbirt Technologies Software Suite – The Next Generation in Network Data Visualization, Sonification and Analysis” Friday, November 5, 2010 presentation (audio, slides, software demo).

The presentation will provide an introduction to ET-V 1.0, the latest software released by Benjamin Elbirt / Elbirt Technologies. ET-V 1.0 is a visualization, animation and sonification application for understanding network data in multidimensional space. It is a successor to the Jacob’s Ladder (Elbirt, 2005 & 2009a & 2009b) software line. The software has been rebuilt to use XLS and XLSX files (Microsoft Excel) and includes many new features that improve the overall display and performance. This application is only limited by available resources (memory/CPU/GPU) for the data volume.

M2C 4.0 is provided for conversion of data to coordinate systems. M2C 4.0 is the latest Matrix to Coordinates conversion program that uses the latest MDSJ (Brandes & Pich, 2007) and a customized Procrustes rotation algorithm for longitudinal analysis. Inputs include pairs or matrix, text delimited or XLS/XLSX files. Outputs are in XLSX files and include various calculations and formats including ET-V. The presentation will begin with a brief description and discussion of the M2C application and how the data is converted from relational pairs, matrixes and other formats into a coordinate system of equivalences. This will be followed by a brief tour of ET-V, the data visualization program. Finally, three data sets will be loaded and displayed using various ET-V functionality. These data sets are 1) Migration Patterns among Canadian Provinces (Barnett & Sung, 2003) (73 time points, animated and intonated); 2) US Senate Bill Co-sponsorship (Fowler, 2006) (Fowler, Co-sponsorship Network Data Page, 2010) (17 time points, animated); and 3) Sunbelt Conference Co-authorship networks (Elbirt, 2010) (10 time points, animated).

Bio: Benjamin Elbirt is a software engineer who has developed internet and desktop applications for more than 12 years. He received his master’s degree from SUNY Buffalo under Dr. George Barnett, Dr. Joseph Woelfel and Dr. Frank Tutzauer in 2008. Benjamin is currently employed as the Chief Information Officer of INSNA – the International Network for Social Network Analysis. Areas of interest include Matrix Mathematics, Semantic Text Analysis, Data Visualization and Intonation, Longitudinal/Time Series data, Data Collection, Cognitive Modeling, Agent Based Modeling and Social Network Analysis. More information on software and publications can be found at his website


Elbirt Technologies Software Suite