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Experiments are the most exciting thing on the UK public policy horizon

OII Professor Helen Margetts discusses how the massive growth in Internet-mediated interactions creates a need for innovative methods to research online activity. Experimental laboratories — where subjects participate in games or information-seeking tasks on networked computers — have been used by experimental economists for some time, but the great expansion in online social and commercial activity means that they have growing utility in sociology and political science.

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Preserving the digital record of major natural disasters: the CEISMIC Canterbury Earthquakes Digital Archive project

We talk to Paul Millar, project leader of the CEISMIC Canterbury Earthquakes Digital Archive project about the role of digital humanities in preserving the digital record of the impact of the earthquake that struck Canterbury, NZ, in February 2011. Huge amounts of important information are lost in the chaos following a major disaster: Paul is leading efforts to record and preserve it as a unique resource for future scholarship.

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Slicing digital data: methodological challenges in computational social science

It is easy to drown in digital data and not know what to do with it. OII Research Fellow Sandra Gonzalez-Bailon discusses some of the methodological challenges faced by social scientists when they try to make sense of the immense wealth of digital data available today. This is a talk given at the conference on new media and the social sciences, organised by the National Centre for Research Methods (29 May 2012).

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