ETHOS Lab operates TCAT at IT University of Copenhagen for research and teaching purposes.
Twitter Capture and Analysis Toolset (TCAT) is a tool to capture and analyze Twitter tweets developed by Eric Borra and Bernhard Rieder (2014) at the Digital Method Initiative (DMI) at University of Amsterdam. It listens for tweets containing a specified hashtags or text string, and stores them.
TCAT itself is free software and available for download and setup on your own server environment.
Data collection from Twitter
To set up a query bin to collect data from Twitter for your research or studies at ITU, please do not hesitate to contact ETHOS Lab. After consultation with the Lab, your running query bin will have
- A descriptive name.
- List of terms to track, formulated in the TCAT query language syntax.
- An end date for your data collection.
- Your contact information.
The captured tweets can subsequently be analyzed through TCAT itself, or by exporting the data to other tools. A few dozen attributes are recorded for each tweet, including the creator, date, text content, hashtags used, language, Twitter client etc. These are available in the tabular data exports. TCAT can also generate various graph representations.
Tools we often use in ETHOS Lab include Gephi for network analysis Tableau for various kinds of exploration and visualization, and programming environments such as Python or R. To see an example project using TCAT, see Detecting the Socials, or read about about datasprints in the article What is a data sprint? An inquiry into data sprints in practice in Copenhagen.
Data management on ETHOS Lab TCAT
TCAT query bins set up for research will be managed according to case by case negotiations. The ownership of the bin is with the researcher or research project.
If you are taking Navigating Complexity or another course on which TCAT is used, the course provides you with credentials to log in with. Other students and ITU staff can see the data you collect. Your query bin will be running until the end of the course, and then stopped. The data will remain in place until the course re-examinations are complete, and then deleted two weeks after the re-exams without further notice. If you wish to keep your data, export it.
For other courses or for individual your student projects, please contact your teacher or supervisor, or consult the lab.
- Erik Borra, Bernhard Rieder, (2014) “Programmed method: developing a toolset for capturing and analyzing tweets“, Aslib Journal of Information Management, Vol. 66 Iss: 3, pp.262 – 278.