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Last year, the Dutch council for the Social Sciences and Humanities announced its plans to structurally invest in digital infrastructure for SSH research, as a means to respond to the major challenges of big data, artificial intelligence and social media. AHM member Prof. Julia Noordegraaf received one of 12 grants for the project TwiXL, that will develop an infrastructure that enables SSH researchers to systematically examine current and emerging public debates on crucial societal issues in the Netherlands.

The proposed infrastructure will be developed along the following three axes:

  • Deep – continuing and making accessible the TwiNL collection, containing 50% of all Dutch language tweets (2011-), allowing for a systematic exploration of the Dutch Twitter sphere on any societal topic.
  • Broad – curating and making accessible Dutch language collections of social media and web data, as well as newspaper reports, radio and television broadcasts on prominent societal issues (2020-2025), enabling innovative cross-media research.
  • Live – facilitating real-time streaming data processing and analysis of Twitter-data, allowing for live monitoring of online public discourse.

Access to all three collections will be provided through a user-friendly web interface and Jupyter Notebooks for more advanced analyses. To develop the new infrastructure and demonstrate its value for research, a team of developers at SURF, KB, and NISV and two postdocs—at UvA and RUG—will closely work together with SSH researchers in proof-of-concept research projects. The infrastructure will be embedded in the CLARIAH Media Suite and the planned ODISSEI Media Content Analysis Laboratory.