Slandail MUININ Workshop at ARES 2016

Slandail has hosted the MUININ workshop at the ARES conference 2016 in Salzburg, Austria.

ARES is the International Conference on Availability, Reliability and Security. The 2016 conference was hosted on August 31st-September 2nd in Salzburg, Vienna. Slandail hosted the MUININ workshop at the conference including four sessions:

  1. Emergency Management and Social Media Monitor Implementation
  2. Legal and Ethical Use of Data in Emergency Response
  3. End User Communication Practice
  4. Advanced Image and Text Analysis
Xiubo Zhang, Slandail researcher, presenting text analytic work by the project

Xiubo Zhang, Slandail researcher, presenting text analytic work by the project

The sessions allowed for presentations on different aspects of Slandail and its application as a security technology for emergency management.

Seven papers were delivered to an audience of security professionals and academics as part of the EU Symposium on day 1 of the conference. Papers presented described research from the project. Feedback was welcomed at the end of each session.

Christian Berger and Damian Jackson discussing ethical and legal aspects at the MUININ Workshop

Christian Berger and Damian Jackson discussing ethical and legal aspects at the MUININ Workshop

The presenters also took the opportunity to participate in workshop sessions by other projects.

Khurshid Ahmad presenting at LREC 2016 for Slándáil

Slándáil host EMOT workshop at LREC, Portorož, Slovenia

Slándáil partners organised the Emotions, Metaphors, Ontology and Terminology (EMOT) Workshop as part of Language Resources and Evaluation Conference (LREC) on May 23rd, 2016. The workshop presented advances in analytical methods of verbal and non-verbal communication during impending disasters. The audience consisted of academics and experts in information extraction and text analytics, disaster management and communication professionals.

The workshop consisted of presentations that focused on the terminology, type of content and emotional involvement of messages sent and received during disasters, particularly in social media. Statistical and semantic processing of these messages facilitates the creation of useful databases and ontologies, which can be used by emergency managers to situate and confront a disaster more efficiently and effectively. If the emergency handlers understand what kind of information is disseminated in different types of social media, they can direct their efforts with a greater confidence. The topics covered included the emotive and terminological language used in disaster related data, automatic extraction and evaluation of terminology from messages, the social media communication by civilians and volunteers, disaster monitoring and mitigation and the creation of a disaster ontology.

The authors who contributed to this workshop have been working on how to specify, design and trial disaster management systems that use social media as one of their inputs. Their focus is on extracting information from continuous data streams including text, speech and images. Khurshid Ahmad, the project coordinator, opened the session introducing Slándáil to the audience. University of Padua partners presented two works, one mainly focused on emotions and non-verbal communication during disasters and the other focusing on terminology and software training.

Slide on gesture analysis from LREC showing different images of news reporters using gesture

Busà and Cravotta presented work carried out on gestures and speech of Italian reporters working in areas threatened by natural disasters like floods. They suggest that hand gestures and the modulation of voice may influence the perception of the speakers’ emotional involvement and professionalism. Speakers’ emotional involvement can correlate with the severity of an impending disaster. Musacchio, Panizzon, Zhang and Zorzi presented their work on the use of terminology and ontology for detecting impending and current emergencies in social media streams. Their work was aimed at identifying communicative strategies, linguistic characteristics and sentiment of text messages that can be used to filter disaster-related communications on social media.

Maria Spyropoulou from Trinity College Dublin gave a presentation on the content found in textual and audial disaster-related messages. It showed that speech recordings from the preparedness or recovery phase of a disaster are more suitable for sentiment analysis. A further paper was presented as a feasibility study aimed at building terminology and ontology in the domain of disaster management. A corpus-based text analytic system was evaluated, CiCui, which combines frequency, collocation and linguistic analyses to extract candidates terminologies from corpora comprised of domain texts from diverse sources. CiCui was assessed against four terminology extraction systems and the initial results show that it has an above average precision in extracting disaster-related terms.

INFAI presented work on topic modelling and information extraction from Facebook and Twitter. The paper studies the results of a German case study on social media use during the flood 2013 in Central Europe. In their investigation, the researchers applied state-of-the-art Natural Language Processing technology, mainly topic modeling, to test and demonstrate its usefulness for computer-based media analysis in modern disaster management.

The audience actively responded to presentations with questions and comments and the workshop became a welcoming forum for people sharing ideas and advances in the field. Project Slándáil received very positive feedback from attendants.

The proceedings of the workshop are available at LREC online.


Trust and communication between emergency planners and public is dependent on proper communication

Slándáil at SWDM’15: Trust, Social Media and Emergency Management

The Slándáil project presented a paper at the 3rd International Workshop on Social Web for Disaster Management (SWDM ’15), co-located with the 24th International World Wide Web Conference (WWW 2015), on 18 May 2015 in Florence, Italy. The title of the paper was ‘Trust-Building through Social Media Communications in Disaster Management’ authored by Maria Grazia Busà, Maria Teresa Musacchio (University of Padua), Shane Finan (Trinity College Dublin), Cilian Fennel (Stillwater Communications). The paper was presented by PM. Grazia Busà.

Read more

Feature: Building Relationships on Trust in Disasters

Trust in Evacuation Warnings

The role of trust is important in disaster management and social media. Joint research over the past twelve months between The University of Padua (Italy), Trinity College Dublin and Stillwater Communications (Ireland) has uncovered some important details about trust and its role in disaster communications.

When people are asked to evacuate from an area they are put in a position where they have to trust the authority of emergency managers who tell them that it is safer to leave their homes than to stay. While this might seem like an easy decision, the events of Hurricane Katrina highlighted a major issue when many people mistrusted the warnings that were given and chose to stay in their homes where they felt safer. This was, in part, due to exaggerated stories of looting and mistrust in government, where people felt it would be safer to stay in a familiar place than to relocate temporarily.

Trust in Who Delivers the Message

Graph of levels of trust from Ipsos Mori

Ipsos Mori’s survey on trust shows a low level of political trust compared to an increasing level of trust in experts. Click image for source

One recent poll (above) by Ipsos Mori (a UK research company that specialise in media and advertising) highlights the low level of trust in politicians and journalists when compared to experts. In evacuation situations, politicians often deliver messages from emergency managers, including warning messages and evacuation orders. Read more

Paper Accepted to SWDM’15

A paper by Slándáil collaborators has been accepted into the SWDM’15 Workshop, co-located with the WWW’15 conference (May 2015, Florence, Italy).
The paper, entitled ‘Trust-building through Social Media Communications in Disaster Management’ was co-authored by Maria Grazia Busa, Maria Teresa Musacchio (both UNIPD), Shane Finan (TCD) and Cilian Fennell (Stilllwater). This collaborative paper expands on ideas about trust and communication that were developed during the first nine months of the Slándáil project.


Read the abstract on our related publications page.

DIMPLE Workshop Presentations Available

The DIMPLE – DIsaster Management and Principled Large-scale information Extraction – workshop took place on 31st May 2014 in the Harpa Conference Centre, Reykjavik, Iceland. Presentations from the workshop are now publicly available here.



Workshop Abstract:

The aim of this workshop is to explore the intrinsic connection between civil protection, information gathering and analysis, and societal impact. The mediation of these connections through the agency of language will be the central theme of the workshop. The workshop will explore how this mediation can be situated in the context of broader societal impact especially the impact of the value system of one stakeholder on others.