Australian Digital Observatory (ADO)

National infrastructure for accessing and analysing dynamic human data on the web – including tools, data, services and knowledge
Smart technologies in your smartphone, collection and analysis of big data about person through mobile services and applications. Identification and privacy in context of modern digital technologies.
Who will benefit
Researchers, research organisations

The Challenge

Social media is a rich source of data for researchers from many disciplines. However, researchers face multiple barriers to incorporating these data into their research, including ensuring data quality, technical data pre-processing, and accessing advanced analytical tools. 

Social media datasets are also dynamic with new content arriving constantly, making storage and analysis complex.

The Response

For a number of years, many groups across Australia have independently collected significant social media holdings to serve their local research community. 

The Australian Digital Observatory (ADO) project aimed to sustainably align and connect these established platforms into a national infrastructure that supports a diverse array of research communities. 

Researchers will be able to access and analyse dynamic digital data including existing collections of national interest across Twitter, FlickR, YouTube, Reddit, Instagram and gaming platforms such as Steam.

A databank has been built from the existing partner infrastructures for the collection of dynamic digital data (including but not limited to social media data), improving accessibility to Australian researchers. 

The ADO has also developed and is supporting an ecosystem of hosted platforms, tools, methods and workflows. This ecosystem intends to both enable researchers to access databank data and support researchers’ own collections and analytical pipelines. 

The ADO is offering targeted data collection capabilities and mediated access to our curated data collection. Data modelling is also being offered, as well as data analysis and visualisation such as topic modelling and sentiment analysis. 

This ecosystem is underpinned by the FAIR data principles, data governance, open source software principles and the collective knowledge of a community of practice.

The Outcomes

Access tools and training materials for accessing and analysing dynamic human data on the web through the Australian Digital Observatory (ADO).

The ADO will become a hub of knowledge, tools, data, and services for dynamic human data research needs across a wide variety of disciplines, enabling innovative research.

The project will result in an interdisciplinary team of data science researchers and support staff at key locations around Australia who will offer data-related services, training, and research support in data collection, storage, tidying, pre-processing, analytics, and visualisation to support academics’ research data pipelines. 

These tasks can be time-consuming and often involve a steep learning curve for specific technical skills. The ADO can reduce or eliminate this burden so that researchers can focus on analysis and interpretation.

Who Will Benefit

Researchers and research organisations will benefit from the project’s core features:

Dynamic data ecosystem

The Australian Digital Observatory will become a hub of knowledge, tools, data, and services for a variety of dynamic digital data research needs.

Community of practice

The Australian Digital Observatory will bring together researchers, projects, and platforms to share knowledge and collaborate.

The Partners

  • QUT
  • University of Melbourne 
  • University of New South Wales
  • The University of Queensland 
  • QCIF

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