Slandail Launches Prototype System

As the Slandail project draws to a close, we are happy to announce that we launched the Slandail prototype system on 26 April. The system includes the main technological components of both social media monitoring and emergency management systems, along with important new functions emerging from academic research within the project, that advance the state of the art in the analysis and interpretation of multiple forms of media, including social media.

The launch was covered on peak-time national radio (RTE1 ‘DriveTime’) and on the RTE website (link here)
(Trinity College – image RTE)

Slandail Launches License Agreement

The Slandail system Licence Agreement was formally launched on 15 February 2015. The licence addresses some important concerns in the use of social media by crisis response organisations, including police forces, and contributes to the discussion on the relationship between data created and published by individuals (including tweets and facebook posts) and the use of this data for the public good.

Above – Rob Corbett, a project legal expert, presents the main points of the License.

Slándáil legal and ethical caucus

A meeting of our new ‘Slándáil legal and ethical caucus’ was held on 30th October 2015.

Project beneficiaries from TCD, INFAI, UNIPD, Stillwater, Pintail and the Gardaí met and discussed the legal and human rights issues surrounding the Slándáil project.

The aim the meeting was to introduce the new experts in Human Rights Law, Copyright Law, Data Protection and Privacy Law and Internet Law to the other beneficiaries involved in the legal and ethical work of the project. We have brought these experts on board to help ensure that the research and technology development work carried out in Slándáil aligns with current and emerging international law.

This work is ground breaking in that it aims to provide a comprehensive overview of the legal landscape which pertains to the harvesting of social media data in emergency response. The caucus’ experience in human rights law, data protection, privacy, copyright and internet law will be drawn upon and opinions in all of these areas will be drawn up which give an account of the legal provisions at both European and national levels.

Recent developments including the safe harbour decision and the upcoming proposed legislation in the UK colloquially known as the “snooper’s charter” were discussed. Other key concerns are the appropriate treatment of harvested potentially personally-identifying data post-response, when limitations to privacy rights in circumstances of disaster response no longer pertain.

The caucus was created as a result of findings made in earlier work on societal and ethical impact. This research highlighted the need for a rigorous and comprehensive understanding of the relevant legal landscape. This is illustrated in the timeline below. The societal impact report considered issues around privacy. The legal and ethical research which led to the ethical framework and the initial guidelines for factual provenance of data highlighted the implementation of derogation and limitation provisions in human rights law. However issues data protection and copyright law were raised and so it was decided to create the legal and ethical caucus to get expert legal opinion on these and other legal questions.

The participants were Khurshid Ahmad, Damian Jackson and Paul Hayes (TCD), Rebecca Bury (Stillwater), Victoria Macarthur (Pintail), Paolo de Stefani (UNIPD), Taiwo Oriola and Bryan Scotney (University of Ulster), Christian Berger (INFAI), Rob Corbet (Arthur Cox Solicitors) and Brian Halligan (An Garda Síochána)


Legal Caucus Meeting

Slándáil at NLP 4 CMC Workshop at GSCL 2015 (Essen, Germany / September 29, 2015)

Word Cloud


Sabine Gründer-Fahrer and Antje Schlaf from InfAI have presented their paper ’Modes of Communication in Social Media for Emergency Management’ at the 2nd Workshop on Natural Language Processing for Computer-Mediated Communication / Social Media at the International Conference of the German Society for Computer Linguistics and Language Technology in Essen.


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Upcoming Terminology Workshop at TCD

On September 14 2015, Trinity College Dublin will host a terminology workshop, for Slándáil partners, with invited guest Professor Hanne Thomsen from the Copenhagen Business School.


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LSP Syposium Vienna, July 2015: Image source

Slándáil hosts DISONTOLOGY workshop at International Event, Vienna

A workshop, called the DISONTOLOGY Workshop, was held within the 20th European Symposium on Languages for Special Purposes (Vienna 8-10 July 2015). The workshop was organised by project partners in order to disseminate our work to date on terminology and ontologies as well as to have the chance to exchange views with other LSP specialists. The workshop was held on 10th July and the event was also live tweeted.


Much of the work in LSP is concerned with concepts, ontology and terminology in a single domain. The super-specialisation of language seen in the 20th century, for instance from Biology to Molecular Biology, has not challenged much in LSP methods and techniques.

The Workshop

Slándáil researcher Raffaella Panizzon presenting at the DISONTOLOGY workshop

Slándáil researcher Raffaella Panizzon presenting at the DISONTOLOGY workshop

The challenges of the 21st century, for example hurricanes, floods and earthquakes, can impact catastrophically on urban settlements. The fragile eco-system of these settlements means that post-disaster the recovery takes now even longer than when much of the humanity was in rural areas. The impact of these disasters involves engagement, conflict and collaboration, between a range of stakeholders – people in different strata of the society, civil protection agencies, government agencies and private enterprises. Disaster communication, thus, involves communications across LSP of diverse social, economic and scientific groups, with different ontological basis and varied terminologies.Furthermore, the specialists have to come together to broadcast disaster mitigation and recovery messages to multi-lingual and multi-cultural communities that are a signature of 21st century urban settlements.

Disaster ontology and terminology are the key themes of this workshop and we hope LSP specialists, communications experts, and civil protection agencies will participate in this workshop to explore issues in 21st century LSP.

The audience (approximately 50 people) participated with questions and overall appeared interested in learning more about the various facets of the project. The workshop also proved an important occasion for networking: Prof. Bruce Mayleth from the University of North Dakota connected us with colleagues in the United States, who are working on neighbouring fields (i.e. the Textlinguistik & Technikkommunikation team at RWTH Aachen University in Germany: Eva-Maria Jakobs, Bianka Trevisan, and Class Digmayer who work on risk communication and social media; Liza Potts at Michigan State University investigating disaster communication and author of “Social Media in Disaster Response: How Experience Architects Can Build for Participation”; and Lee-Ann Kastman-Breuch at the University of Minnesota who is doing research on physician-to-patient communication).

Disaster lexicon now available on the project Terminology Wiki

The Slándáil project recently accomplished one of it’s fundamental milestones – the completion of the disaster lexicon in the three languages of the project (English, Italian and German). The project team have created a dedicated wiki (available at displaying all the terms relating to the concept fields of emergency management, natural hazards and people in emergencies, which were extracted from the corpora of texts collected in the previous stage of the project.


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Group photograph of all Slándáil attendees at the plenary meeting in Padua, 17 April 2015

Second Plenary Meeting of Slándáil, Padua, April 17th

All Slándáil partners met at the second plenary meeting in the University of Padua on Friday, April 17th 2015. The plenary meeting was an opportunity for partners to meet face-to-face and discuss the current progress of the Slándáil project. This followed on from the previous plenary meeting in Belfast.

The timetable included individual partner presentations from all twelve partners, plus an introduction from Protezione Civile de Veneto, who joined the project as a collaborator in January 2015, having assisted voluntarily in End User research in 2014. Each partner outlined how they felt progress had gone on the project, what they are currently doing, and where they hoped to bring the project in future. The feedback was positive after a particularly busy six-month period that saw five documents delivered and two milestones reached. Read more

Prototype 0 Demonstration

On April 17th, 2015, following the second Slándáil plenary meeting, a demonstration of the coupled systems that will form the core of the Slándáil project was given to the emergency management partners in the project.

The two systems that form the prototype are Topic Analyst, a text analysis system that compiles text from online sources created by German technology company CID, and SIGE, an alarm and emergency system that helps emergency managers send out messages and target key areas during a natural disaster created by Italian company DataPiano. Both systems were loosely coupled and demonstrated to end users using dummy data of an emergency to show how the systems may operate together later in the project.

One of the interface screens of Topic Analyst

The Topic Analyst system analytical results on search term ’emergency’

Topic Analyst is capable of taking in text from internet sources and splitting these up into categories. During a time of natural disaster, this can be used to pull in public social media posts. When an occurrence of key terms such as location or a particular type of emergency is highlighted within the text, Topic Analyst automatically sends a warning to a monitoring station where an emergency manager can view its readings. If the emergency manager decides that the data warrants an alarm, he/she can activate SIGE, which allows fast contact with various emergency management resources, and shows maps and information on the region that may be affected.

The next step in the project will be to take the academic partner research on flood terms and use these as a filtration system to improve the outputs from Topic Analyst. Further to this, the integration of guidelines on harvesting data highlight the need to log activity and also incorporate an intrusion index system to help protect the identity of named individuals that may appear in public social media posts. Some of this will be addressed in the next prototype, due for demonstration and testing in November 2015.

Image of Dublin City University main entrance

Slándáil at Emergency Management Research Symposium

Project Coordinator Professor Khurshid Ahmad will be presenting Slándáil at Dublin City University, Friday May 1 2015. Slándáil will be presented alongside other emergency management research that is being undertaken at DCU and National University of Ireland, Maynooth. The presentation will introduce the work done by the team at Slándáil to date, and will introduce some of the core concepts including the ethical framework and linguistic research.

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The symposium will take place at DCU Business School from 8.00-10.30 on Friday, May 1. The programme can be downloaded here.