Project news & updates

SYNC3: A Powerful and Simple Tool to Map the Blogosphere

7 October 2009 | PROJECT NEWS


SYNC3 users want to track the news events that shape public opinion, connect to social networking sites and check the credibility of unknown bloggers. These were the main results of a survey revealed 1-2 October in Moscow at the latest consortium meeting.

Survey says…

The survey comprised online questionnaires, focus groups and one-on-one interviews with potential users, including journalists, bloggers, communication professionals, policy makers and the general public. SYNC3 drew on the feedback of more than 300 people from all EU member states and third countries such as Canada, the United States and India. 

The results indicate users expect an answer to the problem of time-efficient mapping of the blogosphere. They also view SYNC3 as a tool that would help users understand public opinion and identify trends and issues to be reported by professional journalists, or to be addressed by communication professionals. The survey also highlighted issues that require further investigation, such as how to check the credibility of unknown bloggers. Nikos Sarris, Ph.D., the project coordinator from Athens Technology Center (ATC), said: “There are several ideas on how to help users assess the credibility of blog posts. At this moment we are discussing features such as providing a ranking system or making different search facets available that will assist in indicating which blog posts are particularly credible according to their readership and impact. This issue will be particularly scrutinised during the prototype testing that is scheduled to start in the second half of 2010.” 

The user requirements survey also indicated a demand for inclusion of comments under news articles and blog posts as well as put a focus on micro-blogging tools such as Twitter. While such functionality was not included in the original concept, its relevance becomes increasingly apparent. From Sarris: “Twitter and Facebook have become platforms that actually rule the news information channels. But there is a crucial question we have to face. Who knew Twitter two years ago and how many people will be using it two and half years from now, when the SYNC3 will be completed? We understand that we need to address these new platforms, but at the same time we must remain flexible enough to cater for future changes in users’ preferences.”

The Moscow plenary meeting, hosted by RIA Novosti, concluded the project’s inception period. Starting in October, the consortium will focus on developing the components of SYNC3 and their interfaces in order to deliver features such as sentiment, temporal and geography analysis. Practical testing will be held during the later half of next year.

SYNC3 consortium

The SYNC3 project is co-funded by the European 7th Framework Programme for Research and managed by a consortium of companies and organisations with vast experience in semantic analysis, content generation, web programming, design and journalism:

The latest news on SYNC3 is available through Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn updates. Background on the SYNC3 concept, including its objectives, targets and scientific approach, is available on the project’s website

SYNC3: News-Centric Semantic Blog Analysis
The EJC led the research and development of SYNC3, an innovative blog search and curation platform. The blog search engine, which also functioned as a content analysis tool, aspired to facilitate journalistic research, but also catered to media curators, bloggers, and public relation professionals.