Blog post written by Darja Fišer and Jakob Lenardič
The Suomi24 corpus is a comprehensive collection of texts from discussion forums of Suomi24, which is Finland’s largest and most popular social media website and is used by 86% of Finns every month. The corpus contains more than 2.6 million tokens of texts from 2001 to 2016 and is tokenised and morpho-syntactically tagged with the Turku Dependency Parser. A version of the corpus where the sentences are scrambled is publicly available through the web interface Korp under the licence CC-BY, whereas researchers who have a username and a password can download the entire corpus in the VRT format here.
The corpus is used by researchers working in the Citizen Mindscapes project, which is funded by the Academy of Finland. The aim of the project is a far-reaching socio-political and linguistic analysis of the everyday discourse that is part and parcel of Finnish society. By applying a wide range of quantitative and qualitative methods such as statistical data analysis and thematic interviews and by making use of advanced language tools to process the data within the corpus, Citizen Mindscapes researchers, who are led by Professors Jussi Pakkasvirta and Krista Lagus, seek not only to uncover the current societal and political trends in Finland, but also pinpoint those features of the online discourse that may very well hint at the prospective evolution of Finnish society as a whole.
To make the presentation of the complex data within the Suomi24 corpus as optimal as possible for socio-political analysis, the Citizen Mindscapes team is developing the Social Thermometer. This novel visualisation method helps researchers detect deep-rooted views related to complex issues such as nationalism, which often begin in and are shaped by discussions on the Internet.
The Citizen Mindscapes project is thus a pivotal multidisciplinary endeavour that has brought together and established long-term collaborations between researchers from diverse fields such as natural language processing, sociolinguistics, sociology and political studies. Wishing to promote open science and open data and thereby support the development of novel approaches in social sciences and , the researchers in Citizen Mindscapes plan to make their data sets and tools available within the Language Bank of Finland in collaboration with FIN-CLARIN and the Center for Science.
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Researcher and Helsinki Challenge semi-finalist Krista Lagus with the Citizen Mindscapes research project team (photo by Linda Tammisto).
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