Digital investigation with AI

Digital Methods Winter School and Data Sprint 2024

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Digital Methods Winter School and Data Sprint 2024

8-12 January 2024
https://wiki.digitalmethods.net/Dmi/WinterSchool2024
In-person

Opening day location:
University of Amsteram
Oudemanhuispoort 4-6
1012 CN Amsterdam, the Netherlands
Room D0.08

Everyday location:
Media Studies
Turfdraagsterpad 9
1012 XT Amsterdam
the Netherlands

Instructions for uploading the final Winter School report

Please make a project page, and link your project page to its title below. Here is an example of a project page: https://wiki.digitalmethods.net/Dmi/WinterSchool2019Normiefication. Practically speaking, to create a project page, make a wiki page such as https://wiki.digitalmethods.net/Dmi/SummerSchool2022TikTokMisinfo by typing such a URL (please note the URL syntax - /Dmi/WinterSchool2024 followed by shortened project name). Then 'create' the page (called a 'topic'). When you try to edit a page, you'll be asked to log in, at which point you can create an account. Here is the wiki project report template. Please link your project write-up by title above (by editing this page). If you are unable to create a wiki page or account, please send your final report (using the template) to the organizers.

  1. Welcome package (includes the Schedule)
  2. Schedule
  3. Join the Slack channel!
  4. Project descriptions (join a project!)
  5. Tutorials and Tutorials schedule
  6. Template for final poster
  7. Template for project reports. And DMI wiki project write-up template
  8. Official hashtag: #dmi24
  9. Face Book

Digital Methods Winter School and Data Sprint: Call for Participation

The Digital Methods Initiative (DMI), Amsterdam, is holding its annual Winter School on 'Digital investigation with AI'. The format is that of a (social media and web) data sprint, with tutorials as well as hands-on work for telling stories with data. There is also a programme of keynote speakers. It is intended for advanced Master's students, PhD candidates and motivated scholars who would like to work on (and complete) a digital methods project in an intensive workshop setting. For a preview of what the event is like, you can view short video clips from previous editions of the School.

Digital research methods and the investigative turn (now with AI)

Online information in the public domain has been the source of study of societal trends and cultural condition for some time now. Geo-located search queries and social media engagement have been deployed as proxies for interests, concerns and sentiments. For a variety of reasons from data access to algorithmic effects, there has been an easing away from trace research and at the same time a growing interest in digital investigation. It focuses less on trends and more on 'fact-finding' or 'what actually happened'. In a sense it is an understandable shift, given the impact of the 'fake news' crisis that transpired on social media during the U.S. presidential election of 2016 and subsequent votes in Europe and beyond. Since then there have been grander narratives of the current informational situation online such as the rise of a 'post-truth' era. To settle things down a variety of digital investigative epistemologies are the focus of attention from fact-checking, debunking and source and media verification to algorithmic auditing. They seek to address a wide variety of disruptions to the new media landscape, such as media and attention manipulation to continual influence and information campaigning, whether with harmful intention or more ironic and troll-like. The Winter School takes up a series of questions concerning the investigative turn from the impact of disinformation and content moderation to the new conditions of artificiality and detection with AI.

Project Write-ups

There are rolling admissions and applications are accepted until 18 December 2023. To apply please send a letter of motivation, your CV, a headshot photo, 100-word bio as well as a copy of your passport (details page only) to the email address: winterschool [at] digitalmethods.net. Notifications of acceptance are sent 1-2 weeks after application. Final notifications on 19 December. The full program and schedule of the Summer School are available by 20 December 2023.

Tuition Fees, Completion Certificates & Accommodations

The fee for the Digital Methods Winter School 2024 is EUR 695, and upon completion all participants receive transcripts and certificates (worth 6 ECTS). To complete the Winter School successfully all participants must co-present the weekly final presentations and co-author the final project report, evidenced by the presentation slides or poster as well as the final report themselves. Final reports should appear on this wiki (handy template) and contain a link to the final presentation slides or poster. They are due four weeks after the end of the Winter School. (For participating UvA students the final report is due one week after the end of the Winter School.) There are no other attendance or completion certificates issued other than the transcripts.

Payment information is sent along with the acceptance notification. Students at the University of Amsterdam do not pay fees. Members of Dutch Research Schools and alumni of the University of Amsterdam have the reduced rate of eur 395. There are no other discounts.

The Winter School is self-catered. The venue is in the center of Amsterdam with abundant coffee houses and lunch places.
We have available accommodations at this hotel:

The Social Hub Amsterdam
Jan van Galenstraat 335
1061 AZ Amsterdam, The Netherlands
(Arrival: 7 January 2024; Departure: 13 January 2024)
https://www.thesocialhub.co/amsterdam-west/
Use discount code: FORYOU123 (It only works for Arrival: 7 January 2024; Departure: 13 January 2024. For different dates, contact the hotel directly.)

To avoid disappointment, please contact them as early as possible.

We also have available accommodations at this hotel:
Volkshotel
Wibautstraat 150
1091 GR Amsterdam, The Netherlands
https://www.volkshotel.nl/en/
15% discount with code: DIGIMETH

Please bring your laptop computer, your European plug as well as the HDMI/USB-C adaptor for connecting to the projector.

About DMI

The Digital Methods Winter School is part of the Digital Methods Initiative (DMI), Amsterdam, dedicated to developing techniques for Internet-related research and to the study of the natively digital. The Digital Methods Initiative also holds the annual Digital Methods Summer Schools, which are intensive and full-time undertakings in early July.

There is a practical textbook, Doing Digital Methods (Sage, 2019; 2nd edition, 2024). The Digital Methods book (MIT Press, 2015) provides a methodological outlook that frames and informs the work of the DMI. It is accompanied by a companion volume about mapping social and political issues with digital methods: Issue Mapping for an Ageing Europe (Amsterdam University Press, 2015), which is also freely available on the web as an open access monograph. Further information and resources about digital methods can be found at digitalmethods.net - including links to example projects, publications, tools, an introductory "founding narrative" about the Digital Methods Initiative as well as short bios of the affiliated researchers.

The coordinators of the Digital Methods Initiative are Prof. Sabine Niederer (Amsterdam University of Applied Sciences) and Dr. Esther Weltevrede (New Media & Digital Culture, University of Amsterdam), and the director is Richard Rogers, Professor of New Media & Digital Culture, University of Amsterdam.

About Digital Methods as a Concept

Digital methods is a term coined as a counterpoint 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? See R. Rogers (2009), The End of the Virtual: Digital Methods. Amsterdam: Amsterdam University Press.

Social

We are using the #DMI24 hashtag as the backchannel for communication (to use a throwback term for Twitter usage). Some pictures from a past Winter School. Here is the Facebook Group from one year, and from a Summer School. Here are pictures from a variety of DMI Summer and Winter School Flickr streams.

EU Project

The Winter School is part of the EU Projects, SoBigData++, Vera.ai and SoMe4Dem.
Topic revision: r30 - 26 Feb 2024, GuillenTorres
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