Welcome to the Digital Methods Summer School 2013

Digital Methods Summer School 2012 Digital Methods Summer School 2012 Digital Methods Summer School 2012 Digital Methods Summer School 2012 Digital Methods Summer School 2012 Digital Methods Summer School 2012 Digital Methods Summer School 2012 Digital Methods Summer School 2012 Digital Methods Summer School 2012 Digital Methods Summer School 2012 Digital Methods Summer School 2012 Digital Methods Summer School 2012

Digital Methods Summer School 2013: On the challenges of studying social media data

New Media & Digital Culture, University of Amsterdam, 24 June - 5 July 2013

University of Amsterdam
Turfdraagsterpad 9
1012 XT Amsterdam
Directions and Map

Summer School Schedule at a glance
Opening session, Monday morning (1 July):
Room F 0.01. Oudemanhuispoort 4-6, 1012 CN Amsterdam Map
Project pitches scheduled for 13.30 (1:30pm) - Prepare 2-3 slides!

Lecture and workshop slides

Can be found on http://www.slideshare.net/digitalmethods

Project pages


Welcome Package and Reader

The call for the 7th annual DMI Summer School has generated tremendous interest and this year's edition is shaping up to be one of the most popular we have ever held. We have compiled a welcome package that contains the schedule, practical information regarding venues and logistics as well as the accompanying reader. In order to gain the most out of the experience it is recommended that participants take time to prepare for the workshops and the reading groups in advance. We are looking forward to seeing you all in Amsterdam! Best regards, Natalia, Michael and Simeona (Summer School Coordinators)

You are not the API I used to know: On the challenges of studying social media data

A set of #hashtagged tweets and @follow networks visualised to study crisis response to a natural disaster. Facebook likes, shares, comments, and liked comments tabulated over time for an activist page to study relationships between content formats and engagement. LinkedIn profile completeness percentages measured for a group of civil servants to study online grooming. Social media data are employed increasingly for work in the arts and social sciences, and are even becoming an expected research strategy alongside the fieldwork, surveys and interviews when studying contemporary states of affairs.

The 2013 Digital Methods Summer School would like to examine critically the status of the findings, while at the same time reviewing and actively employing the techniques. Is there increasingly a unified approach to the study of social media data? Are there recipes and preferred tools (or utensils)? Are we still allowed to hack the graph? The question of how to study online data is increasingly a piece with how big data companies provide them. More specifically, has polling APIs supplanted scraping as the appropriate means of data collection? What are the effects of the research ethics debate on social media research practice? There are also the information graphics and data visualisations to consider. The preferred outputs mark the return of the graph visualisation, if it ever went away. What does the graph visualisation mean for the interpretation and presentation of research findings? There is also the question of what is actually being measured, apart from activity in social media. How to ground the findings? In even more online data?

About "Digital Methods" as Concept

Digital methods is a term coined as a counter-point to virtual methods, which typically digitize existing methods and port them onto the Web. Digital methods, contrariwise, seek to learn from the methods built into the dominant devices online, and repurpose them for social and cultural research. That is, the challenge is to study both the info-web as well as the social web with the tools that organize them. There is a general protocol to digital methods. At the outset stock is taken of the natively digital objects that are available (links, tags, threads, etc.) and how devices such as search engines make use of them. Can the device techniques be repurposed, for example by remixing the digital objects they take as inputs? Once findings are made with online data, where to ground them? Is the baseline still the offline, or are findings to be grounded in more online data?

About the Summer School

The Digital Methods Summer School, founded in 2007 together with the Digital Methods Initiative, is directed by Professor Richard Rogers, Chair in New Media & Digital Culture at the University of Amsterdam. The Summer School is one training opportunity provided by the Digital Methods Initiative (DMI). DMI also has a Winter School, which includes a mini-conference, where papers are presented and responded to. Winter School papers are often the result of Summer School projects. The Summer School is coordinated by two PhD candidates in New Media at the University of Amsterdam, or affiliates. This year the coordinators are Natalia Sanchez and Simeona Petkova both of the University of Amsterdam. The Summer School has a technical staff as well as a design staff. The Summer School also relies on a technical infrastructure of some nine servers hosting tools and storing data. Participants bring their laptops, learn method, undertake research projects, make reports, tools and graphics and write them up on the Digital Methods wiki. The Summer School concludes with final presentations. Often there are guests from non-governmental or other organizations who present their issues. For instance, Women on Waves came along during the 2010 and Fair Phone to the 2012 Summer School. Digital Methods people are currently interning at Greenpeace International and the Global Reporting Initiative.

Previous Digital Methods Summer Schools, 2007-2012, https://wiki.digitalmethods.net/Dmi/DmiSummerSchool.

What's it like? Digital Methods Summer School flickr stream 2012

The Digital Methods Initiative was founded with a grant from the Mondriaan Foundation, and the Summer School is supported by the Center for Creation, Content and Technology (CCCT), University of Amsterdam, organized by the Faculty of Science with sponsorship from Platform Beta.

Applications and fees

To apply for the Digital Methods Summer School 2013, please send a one-page letter explaining how digital methods training would benefit your current work, and also enclose a CV. Mark your application "DMI Training Certificate Program," and send to info [at] digitalmethods.net. The deadline for applications for the Summer School is 25 April. Notices will be sent on 26 April. Please address your application email to the Summer School coordinators, info [at] digitalmethods.net. Informal queries may be sent to Simeona, simeona [at] digitalmethods.net.

The Summer School costs EUR 295 per person. Accepted applicants will be informed of the bank transfer details upon notice of acceptance to the Summer School. The fee must be paid by 24 May 2013.


The Digital Methods Summer School has become a part of the University of Amsterdam Summer School programme. This means that students attending the partnering universities in the LERU and U21 networks are eligible for a scholarship to help covering the cost for tuition and housing for the DMI Summer School. Please consult their sites to see whether you are eligible for a scholarship and for the application procedure.

Housing and Accommodations

The Summer School is self-catered, and there are abundant cafes and a university mensa nearby. The Digital Methods Summer School is located in the heart of Amsterdam. There are limited accommodations available to participants at reasonable rates. Please contact the local organizers for details. For those who prefer non-University accommodations, we suggest airbnb or similar. For shortest stay, there is Hotel Le Coin, where we have a university discount.

Summer School Training Certificate

The Digital Methods Summer School issues completion certificates to participants who follow the Summer School program, and complete a significant contribution to a Summer School project. For previous Summer School projects, see for example https://wiki.digitalmethods.net/Dmi/WikipediaAsASpaceOfControversy.


The Summer School meets every day. Please bring your laptop. We will provide abundant connectivity. We start generally at 9:30 in the morning, and end around 5:30. There are morning talks two-three days per week. On the last Friday we have a boat trip on the canals of Amsterdam.

Preparations: Online Tutorials and Lectures

Digital Methods researchers have given tutorials and talks which are useful and sometimes even entertaining!

Audio and Video Tutorials

Social Media & User-Generated Content

Twitter hashtag #dmi13

We shall have a list of summer school participants on Twitter

How to do Digital Methods? Presentation materials from the 2012 Summer School

There are many highlights, including a digital methods tool medley! Summerschool2012Presentations

Together with an overview of all Summer School projects from last year: Projects 2012

Suggestions for Evening Hangouts

Amsterdam suggestions for the evenings.

Digital Methods Winter School 2012 and 2013 Revisited

Apart from the Summer Schools, the other opportunity for training and organized workshops (as well as presenting a paper from a project that you worked on during the Summer School) is the Winter School. The Digital Methods Winter School 2013 was concerned with the data sprint and the book sprint (and other short-form method). Adam Hyde, the book sprint inventor, presented a talk which is recorded, and available online.The 2012 Winter School was dedicated to "Interfaces for the Cloud" and API critique, where Metahaven, the critical Dutch design group, presented their work that actually renders the politics of the cloud. See Daniel van der Velden's article (including part II).

We look forward to welcoming you to Amsterdam in the Summertime!
Topic revision: r32 - 25 Jan 2016, ErikBorra
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