5th Consortial Meeting

16. March 2017, by Štefan Emrich

Last week the 5th consortial meeting of the VALiD research project took place, hosted by the FH Joanneum in Graz on Thursday. The key topics of the meeting were revolving around machine-learning algorithms used for natural language processing (NLP).

Image provided under CC license by John Trainor

One core question was how the project’s comprehensive database of political speeches could be better explored with sentiment analysis. Sentiment analysis, the classification of text based on the sentiment of the content (polite, incivil, ironic, …), is a science on its own. To make matters worse, the majority of the research is focused on the English language, which is one of the simpler languages. Hence the methods and approaches for German, which is more complex, are technically far less mature.

Another hot topic was if and how far the algorithms and the data used to train these, are subject to gender & diversity bias. While this topic has reached the science community, its full implications are still not being grasped to the full extent. Here is a highly recommended read on this increasingly important topic!

Due to the nature of the meeting (i.e. the whole research team getting a thorough update and discussing the next steps) there were no detailed solutions elaborated. Nevertheless the discussions spawned useful inputs for further work. We are looking forward to implement and test these ideas, and first results seem to be very promising. Time will tell how reliable these results of the sentiment analysis are – and if and how the methods can then be used in practice.

We will keep you updated 😉

Elena Rudkowsky’s PhD proposal accepted

30. January 2017, by Alexander Rind

Elena Rudkowsky

Elena Rudkowsky

Elena Rudkowsky gave her PhD proposal talk at University of Vienna in December 2016. Her PhD proposal and her doctoral thesis agreement got accepted by the university. She’ll work on story discovery in text documents to support investigative data journalists during the next two years (until the end of VALiD’s project duration in Dec. 2018). Her research questions are:

  1. How can journalists be enabled to search for concepts instead of terms?
  2. How can journalists safe time when tagging documents?
  3. How can journalists explore corpus-related named entity networks that are linked to additional relevant information from public named entity databases?



Best Paper Award of the 9th Forum Media Technology Conference

2. December 2016, by Christina Niederer

From 23rd to 24th November, the 9th forum media technology conference was held at St. Pölten University of Applied Sciences. Alexander Rind, David Pfahler, Christina Niederer and Wolfgang Aigner received the Best Paper Award for their paper “Exploring Media Transparency with Multiple Views”.

The paper was written in cooperation with David Pfahler from TU Wien and the VALiD project team from St. Pölten University of applied sciences. The basis for this research work was the Media Transparency Dashboard, an interactive visualization tool for open government data on media transparency in Austria.

Forum Media Technology

© St. Pölten University of Applied Sciences

Forum Media Technology

© St. Pölten University of Applied Sciences


Science Award for Wolfgang Aigner

28. October 2016, by Alexander Rind

On October 13, at the gala night of science in Grafenegg, Wolfgang Aigner received a scientific recognition award from the governor of Lower Austria, Erwin Pröll. The award recognizes Wolfgang’s scientific contributions to the field of Visual Analytics as compiled into his habilitation thesis “Interactive Visualization and Data Analysis: Visual Analytics With a Focus on Time”.

We congratulate our project lead on this achievement!

recognized scientists and politicians

Recognized scientists Hubert Hettegger, Irina Sulaeva, Wolfgang Aigner, Edith Kapeller, Angela Sessitsch, Stéphane Compant, and Birgit Mitter with Barbara Schwarz, Erwin Pröll, and Petra Bohuslav. © Zsolt Marton

Wolfgang Aigner receiving the award

Wolfgang Aigner receiving the award. © Zsolt Marton


Full speed ahead

23. September 2016, by Štefan Emrich, Sonja Fischbauer

The “sommerloch” is over. It’s the end of September, Universities are preparing for the start of the year, politicians are back from their vacation and the sports leagues are starting their seasons…

So is the VALID-team.

Photo by Klaus Graf: Sommerloch Ortsschild (own work, edited by VALiD Project) [License: CC BY-SA 2.0 DE], via Wikimedia Commons

After a bit of relaxation and creative timeout we are eager to start working on the new ideas that were born during the summer time.

One of our next focal points will be to dig into the rich pool of speeches held in the Austrian parliament and to generate new insights out of these.

Also the academic conference season is kicking off now and will be covered by our team – with publications as well as in organizational roles.

We are looking forward to keep you updated on these things here at our blog – thus, come back!

Media Transparency Dashboard launched

19. May 2016, by Alexander Rind

Today launched another interactive tool on the VALiD website: The Media Transparency Dashboard offers a visual analytics solution to explore open government data on media transparency in Austria. This dataset covers money flows from government organizations to media companies for advertisement (§2) and sponsoring (§4) and currently has more than 34,000 (non-null) entries over 3.5 years The dashboard is comprised of multiple coordinated views that can be used together to discover insights.

David Pfahler from TU Wien has developed the dashboard together with the ValiD project team. The source code is available from GitHub as free and open source software.

More visual analytics experiments with the Media Transparency dataset are planned for the future. You can find the Media Transparency Dashboard at http://medientransparenz.validproject.at/dashboard/.

Media Transparency Dashboard

Media Transparency Dashboard filtered to government organizations containing “Energie”

Exhibition at the Long Night of Research

4. May 2016, by Alexander Rind

Poster about VALiD (PDF in German)

Poster about VALiD (PDF in German)

VALiD and related projects in the area of visualization for data-driven journalism were presented at the Long Night of Research. This biennial happening is Austria’s largest science communication event targeting a wide general public at overall 2184 stations. More than 500 visitors came to FH St. Pölten, where the VALiD station was located.

Our team explained the benefits and research challenges of visualization in data-driven journalism and demonstrated visual analytics approaches for media transparency data, networks of members of the Austrian parliament, and a municipal budget as well as the evolution of popular baby names.

Team at Long Night of Science | photo: FH St. Pölten/Jakob Gramm

Team at Long Night of Science | photo: FH St. Pölten/Jakob Gramm

DDJ Literature Explorer launched

21. April 2016, by Robert Gutounig

The interactive tool to explore the research literature on data journalism was presented today by Julian Ausserhofer at the Nordic Data Journalism Conference in Helsinki. It helps to navigate through a carefully selected set of research papers and to find out more about the development of the research concerning this rather young field of study.

Different categories like development over time, type of publications etc. can be selected and visualized. In addition results from an accompanying qualitative content analysis have been included in the database and enable for example filtering the geographical scope of the analyzed studies. By extracting and visualizing the references mentioned in the papers the most influential works can be identified.

The building of the tool is a part of the VALiD project´s aim to investigate current workflows in data journalism. Michael Oppermann from the University of Vienna has developed the tool together with the ValiD project team. We are thankful to receive feedback concerning our research and the application for further development.

You can find the DDJ Literature Explorer here: http://literature.validproject.at

Meet our Team

23. March 2016, by Sonja Fischbauer

Two weeks ago, we got together for our semi-annual consortial meeting at the wonderful drahtwarenhandlung in Vienna. Even though we were quite a crowd, not everyone could make it. Naturally, of course; to a research project of this scale, many people contribute. With busy schedules in different cities, countries and sometimes even timezones, it’s hard to get every team member into one room together.

As you can see in the image below, we barely manage to squeeze into one picture, and there’s always someone missing… But we’ve managed to find a solution to get us all in one place: here!

We’ve set up a page in the About Us section, where you can find out about every team member, their role in the project and their contact details.

Check it out and  meet our team!

the VALiD team

A good part of the VALiD team at the last consortial meeting at the drahtwarenhandlung, Vienna.
In the back row, left to right: Julian Ausserhofer, Wolfgang Aigner, Sarah Matiasek, Michael Seldmair, Martin Bicher. Middle row, left to right: Alexander Rind, Robert Gutounig, Sonja Fischbauer, Štefan Emrich. Front row: Christina Niederer. Here: Everyone who’s missing. (photo: VALiD project, cc-by)

Gender-Sensitive Language for VALiD

30. November 2015, by Sarah Matiasek

Gender-sensitive language plays an important role for our research project. As women are still underrepresented in numerous fields of technology today we want to pay special attention to this factor of diversity.

We agreed on rules for handling the topic of gender in all our publications. You can find the guidelines here.


Bildschirmfoto 2015-11-30 um 13.06.20


Stay informed with our semi-annual newsletter.


COMING SOON: Help us develop our code on GitHub.