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Crawling Big Data in a New Frontier for Socioeconomic Research: Testing with Social Tagging

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    Tags and keywords, freely chosen by users for annotating resources, offer a new way for organizing and retrieving web resources that closely reflect the users’ interests and preferences, as well as automatically generate folksonomies. Social tagging systems have gained increasing popularity as a method for annotating and categorizing a wide range of different web resources. They also attract researchers in social sciences because they offer a huge quantity of user-generated annotations that reveal the interests of millions of people. To date, the study using digital trace data methods continues to lack a theoretical framework, particularly in social science research. This paper presents a methodology to use big data from Web 2.0 in social research. At the same time, it applies a method to extract data from a particular social bookmarking site (Delicious) and shows the sort of results that this type of analysis can offer to social scientists. The illustration is made around the topic of globalization of agriculture. Using data crawled from a large social tagging system can have an important impact in the discovering of latent patterns, which is needed to provide effective recommendations to different actors. In this paper, a sample of 851 users, 526 URLs and 1,700 tags from the Delicious classification system on the subject of globalization were retrieved and analyzed. Through the analysis, main users and websites around globalization issues in Delicious emerged, along with discovering the most important tags that were applied by users to describe the globalization of agriculture. The implications of these methodology and findings for further research are discussed.

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    Article provided by CIEO-Research Centre for Spatial and Organizational Dynamics, University of Algarve in its journal Journal of Spatial and Organizational Dynamics.

    Volume (Year): 1 (2013)
    Issue (Month): 1 ()
    Pages: 3-24

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    Handle: RePEc:ris:jspord:0001
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    University of Algarve, Faculty of Economics, Campus de Gambelas, 8005-139 Faro, Portugal, President of the Centre: Saul Neves de Jesus, E-mail:

    Phone: +351 289 244 406
    Fax: 351-289-818303
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    1. Gomez, José Andrés & Merino, Bernat Roig & Tur, Antonio Aledo, 2010. "The identity of sociology or what to do when the universe is unknown: qualitative solutions against the quantitative obsession," Spatial and Organizational Dynamics Discussion Papers 2010-9, CIEO-Research Centre for Spatial and Organizational Dynamics, University of Algarve.
    2. Zacarias, Marielba & Martins, Paula, 2011. "Collaborative Methods for Business Process Discovery," Spatial and Organizational Dynamics Discussion Papers 2011-7, CIEO-Research Centre for Spatial and Organizational Dynamics, University of Algarve.
    3. Blattner, Marcel & Zhang, Yi-Cheng & Maslov, Sergei, 2007. "Exploring an opinion network for taste prediction: An empirical study," Physica A: Statistical Mechanics and its Applications, Elsevier, vol. 373(C), pages 753-758.
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