Using Spinn3r to Track Swine Flu

Want to track Swine Flu outbreaks? Just use Spinn3r!

Courtney Corley and Jorge Reyes are two University of North Texas graduate students who have been using Spinn3r under our research program to mine data about the recent Swine Flu outbreak.

The Denton Record-Chronicle has the story:

“We’re looking at what people write in blogs, Web [sites] and social media like Facebook, YouTube, etc. But, in particular, we’re just using blogs,” Corley said. “We have a service that allows us access to all blogs written in whatever language.”

The service is called Spinn3r, and allows them to pull together all media across the Internet that contains the keywords they search for.

“It’s a really rich resource to use for public health to see what people are writing about,” he said. “It’s a massive amount of data. Jorge and I for the past week have been looking at all the blogs that talk about swine flu. There are many words in Spanish for swine flu, so Jorge has been able to navigate that.”

Reyes, who is from Mexico, said he was motivated to work on the project because his family was in the country where the virus originated.

“All my family was there, I was worried,” Reyes said. “We were like, ‘what could we do with the tools we have?’

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caption: Courtney Corley and Jorge Reyes, who are tracking the spread of swine flu in the United States and Mexico, are shown Wednesday on campus.



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