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Technological Responses to Mass Email Campaigns in US Regulatory Rulemaking

Date & Time:
17:00:00 - 18:30:00,
Friday 28 January, 2005


US interest groups now contract with an e-advocacy sub-sector of the Washington, DC economy to set up clusters of web-based ‘action’ centers. The systems at times generate voluminous email comments. One firm promotes itself with a homepage counter claiming credit for more than 16 million constituent messages last year. Meanwhile, practitioners in federal agencies face mounting congressional and executive demands for efficiency and effectiveness in the highly charged political and ideological environment that is the backdrop for reading and responding to comments.

This seminar will report recent research undertakings and findings from two US National Science Foundation-funded studies. Specifically, Dr Shulman will discuss the use of Atlas.ti to code samples of public comment datasets. The coding scheme being developed serves dual purposes:

  • as part of testing several social science hypotheses about electronic media that may be enhancing democratic deliberation

  • helping to build natural language processing tools for navigating through large, unstructured text datasets

Dr Shulman’s seminar will conclude with a discussion of plans for a new interdisciplinary PhD in eGovernment, featuring innovative curricula at the intersection of the social, computer, and information sciences.

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  • Name: Dr Stuart W. Shulman
  • Affiliation: Assistant Professor, Information Sciences and Public Administration,
    University of Pittsburgh
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