The Virtual Observatory for the Study of Online Networks (VOSON) Project is based at the Australian Demographic and Social Research Institute, The Australian National University. We aim to advance the Social Science of the Internet through new empirical research into online networks and the development of the VOSON software for the collection and analysis of hyperlink networks. VOSON is available as a web application (VOSON System) and the VOSON Data Provider for NodeXL - a plugin for NodeXL (Network Overview, Discovery and Exploration for Excel).
Access to VOSON is now managed by Uberlink Corp. Please visit that site if you would like to apply for a VOSON user account or to get further information about how to access the VOSON System and VOSON+NodeXL.
March 2013: Robert Ackland's new book Web Social Science: Concepts, Data and Tools for Social Scientists in the Digital Age (SAGE Publications) will be in the bookstores by July 2013! Also see the Web Social Science website.
July 2013 - Robert Ackland will be running a five-day course on Social Media Analysis the ACSPRI Winter Program, University of Technology Sydney, 1-5 July 2013. The course will provide students with an introduction to social media analysis in the context of social research. The course is designed for social researchers interested in social media, and covers methods of accessing and analysing digital trace data from websites, blogsites, Twitter and Facebook. See here for more details on the course and how to book.
January 2013 - Lexing Xie (Computer Science, ANU), Robert Ackland and Paul Thomas (CSIRO) were awarded Australia-China Science Research Fund Grant ACSRF06323 for the project "Collaboration with Tsinghua University Beihang University and CityU-Shenzhen and others to strengthen Australia-China cooperation in computational social science and research into information diffusion in social media". This grant was awarded by the Department of Industry, Innovation, Science, Research and Tertiary Education.
December 2012 - Robert Ackland and Lexing Xie (Computer Science, ANU) were awarded an ANU Vice-Chancellor's Teaching Enhancement Grant for the "Computational Social Science Weblab". Computational Social Science is an emerging field involving the application of network science and computational approaches to the analysis of large-scale datasets collected from the Web, and is providing new insights into social, economic and political behaviour. The Computational Social Science WebLab (CSSW) will be a web application enabling students from social science and computer science to learn about using network science to study both offline and online social networks.
November 2012 - We have released a Facebook application called Australian Seniors' Online Networks (AuSON), which will help shed light on how Australian seniors are using the Facebook social networking site to connect with friends and family, and the relationship between social networks and successful ageing. Once the AuSON is installed, it automatically collects information on the structure of users’ Facebook networks. Participants are also asked to provide additional information about offline friends, how their social networks provide access to resources such as information and assistance (social capital) and measures of ageing status such as physical and mental wellbeing. We are looking for research participants! If you are a Facebook user, 50+ years of age and eligible to vote in Australia, or if you are a Facebook friend with someone who is 50+ and can vote in Australia, please participate by installing AuSON.
May 2012 - Robert Ackland and Mathieu O'Neil have been awarded the 2012 Communication and Information Technologies Section of the American Sociological Association (CITASA) Paper Award for their article "Online collective identity: The case of the environmental movement", which was published in Social Networks in 2011. The CITASA Paper Award recognises an outstanding published paper or book chapter related to the sociology of communications or the sociology of information technology.
October 2011 - Robert Ackland has been appointed a founding member of the Science Council of the Web Foundation's Web Index project. The Web Index will assess the political, economic and social impact of the Web, allowing for comparisons of trends over time and benchmarking performance across countries.