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  1. null (Ed.)
    With the demand and abundance of information increasing over the last two decades, generations of computer scientists are trying to improve the whole process of information searching, retrieval, and storage. With the diversification of the information sources, users' demand for various requirements of the data has also changed drastically both in terms of usability and performance. Due to the growth of the source material and requirements, correctly sorting, filtering, and storing has given rise to many new challenges in the field. With the help of all four other teams on this project, we are developing an information retrieval, analysis, and storage system to retrieve data from Virginia Tech's Electronic Thesis and Dissertation (ETD), Twitter, and Web Page archives. We seek to provide an appropriate data research and management tool to the users to access specific data. The system will also give certain users the authority to manage and add more data to the system. This project's deliverable will be combined with four others to produce a system usable by Virginia Tech's library system to manage, maintain, and analyze these archives. This report attempts to introduce the system components and design decisions regarding how it has been planned and implemented. Our team has developed a front end web interface that is able to search, retrieve, and manage three important content collection types: ETDs, tweets, and web pages. The interface incorporates a simple hierarchical user permission system, providing different levels of access to its users. In order to facilitate the workflow with other teams, we have containerized this system and made it available on the Virginia Tech cloud server. The system also makes use of a dynamic workflow system using a KnowledgeGraph and Apache Airflow, providing high levels of functional extensibility to the system. This allows curators and researchers to use containerised services for crawling, pre-processing, parsing, and indexing their custom corpora and collections that are available to them in the system. 
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  2. null (Ed.)
    The first major goal of this project is to build a state-of-the-art information storage, retrieval, and analysis system that utilizes the latest technology and industry methods. This system is leveraged to accomplish another major goal, supporting modern search and browse capabilities for a large collection of tweets from the Twitter social media platform, web pages, and electronic theses and dissertations (ETDs). The backbone of the information system is a Docker container cluster running with Rancher and Kubernetes. Information retrieval and visualization is accomplished with containers in a pipelined fashion, whether in the cluster or on virtual machines, for Elasticsearch and Kibana, respectively. In addition to traditional searching and browsing, the system supports full-text and metadata searching. Search results include facets as a modern means of browsing among related documents. The system supports text analysis and machine learning to reveal new properties of collection data. These new properties assist in the generation of available facets. Recommendations are also presented with search results based on associations among documents and with logged user activity. The information system is co-designed by five teams of Virginia Tech graduate students, all members of the same computer science class, CS 5604. Although the project is an academic exercise, it is the practice of the teams to work and interact as though they are groups within a company developing a product. The teams on this project include three collection management groups -- Electronic Theses and Dissertations (ETD), Tweets (TWT), and Web-Pages (WP) -- as well as the Front-end (FE) group and the Integration (INT) group to help provide the overarching structure for the application. This submission focuses on the work of the Integration (INT) team, which creates and administers Docker containers for each team in addition to administering the cluster infrastructure. Each container is a customized application environment that is specific to the needs of the corresponding team. Each team will have several of these containers set up in a pipeline formation to allow scaling and extension of the current system. The INT team also contributes to a cross-team effort for exploring the use of Elasticsearch and its internally associated database. The INT team administers the integration of the Ceph data storage system into the CS Department Cloud and provides support for interactions between containers and the Ceph filesystem. During formative stages of development, the INT team also has a role in guiding team evaluations of prospective container components and workflows. The INT team is responsible for the overall project architecture and facilitating the tools and tutorials that assist the other teams in deploying containers in a development environment according to mutual specifications agreed upon with each team. The INT team maintains the status of the Kubernetes cluster, deploying new containers and pods as needed by the collection management teams as they expand their workflows. This team is responsible for utilizing a continuous integration process to update existing containers. During the development stage the INT team collaborates specifically with the collection management teams to create the pipeline for the ingestion and processing of new collection documents, crossing services between those teams as needed. The INT team develops a reasoner engine to construct workflows with information goal as input, which are then programmatically authored, scheduled, and monitored using Apache Airflow. The INT team is responsible for the flow, management, and logging of system performance data and making any adjustments necessary based on the analysis of testing results. The INT team has established a Gitlab repository for archival code related to the entire project and has provided the other groups with the documentation to deposit their code in the repository. This repository will be expanded using Gitlab CI in order to provide continuous integration and testing once it is available. Finally, the INT team will provide a production distribution that includes all embedded Docker containers and sub-embedded Git source code repositories. The INT team will archive this distribution on the Virginia Tech Docker Container Registry and deploy it on the Virginia Tech CS Cloud. The INT-2020 team owes a sincere debt of gratitude to the work of the INT-2019 team. This is a very large undertaking and the wrangling of all of the products and processes would not have been possible without their guidance in both direct and written form. We have relied heavily on the foundation they and their predecessors have provided for us. We continue their work with systematic improvements, but also want to acknowledge their efforts Ibid. Without them, our progress to date would not have been possible. 
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  3. null (Ed.)
    The Tweet Collection Management (TWT) Team aims to ingest 5 billion tweets, clean this data, analyze the metadata present, extract key information, classify tweets into categories, and finally, index these tweets into Elasticsearch to browse and query. The main deliverable of this project is a running software application for searching tweets and for viewing Twitter collections from Digital Library Research Laboratory (DLRL) event archive projects. As a starting point, we focused on two development goals: (1) hashtag-based and (2) username-based search for tweets. For IR1, we completed extraction of two fields within our sample collection: hashtags and username. Sample code for TwiRole, a user-classification program, was investigated for use in our project. We were able to sample from multiple collections of tweets, spanning topics like COVID-19 and hurricanes. Initial work encompassed using a sample collection, provided via Google Drive. An NFS-based persistent storage was later involved to allow access to larger collections. In total, we have developed 9 services to extract key information like username, hashtags, geo-location, and keywords from tweets. We have also developed services to allow for parsing and cleaning of raw API data, and backup of data in an Apache Parquet filestore. All services are Dockerized and added to the GitLab Container Registry. The services are deployed in the CS cloud cluster to integrate services into the full search engine workflow. A service is created to convert WARC files to JSON for reading archive files into the application. Unit testing of services is complete and end-to-end tests have been conducted to improve system robustness and avoid failure during deployment. The TWT team has indexed 3,200 tweets into the Elasticsearch index. Future work could involve parallelization of the extraction of metadata, an alternative feature-flag approach, advanced geo-location inference, and adoption of the DMI-TCAT format. Key deliverables include a data body that allows for search, sort, filter, and visualization of raw tweet collections and metadata analysis; a running software application for searching tweets and for viewing Twitter collections from Digital Library Research Laboratory (DLRL) event archive projects; and a user guide to assist those using the system. 
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  4. null (Ed.)
  5. Abstract Natural language processing (NLP) covers a large number of topics and tasks related to data and information management, leading to a complex and challenging teaching process. Meanwhile, problem-based learning is a teaching technique specifically designed to motivate students to learn efficiently, work collaboratively, and communicate effectively. With this aim, we developed a problem-based learning course for both undergraduate and graduate students to teach NLP. We provided student teams with big data sets, basic guidelines, cloud computing resources, and other aids to help different teams in summarizing two types of big collections: Web pages related to events, and electronic theses and dissertations (ETDs). Student teams then deployed different libraries, tools, methods, and algorithms to solve the task of big data text summarization. Summarization is an ideal problem to address learning NLP since it involves all levels of linguistics, as well as many of the tools and techniques used by NLP practitioners. The evaluation results showed that all teams generated coherent and readable summaries. Many summaries were of high quality and accurately described their corresponding events or ETD chapters, and the teams produced them along with NLP pipelines in a single semester. Further, both undergraduate and graduate students gave statistically significant positive feedback, relative to other courses in the Department of Computer Science. Accordingly, we encourage educators in the data and information management field to use our approach or similar methods in their teaching and hope that other researchers will also use our data sets and synergistic solutions to approach the new and challenging tasks we addressed. 
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  6. null (Ed.)
    In the United States, every state has a tourism website. These sites highlight the main attractions of the state, travel tips, and blog posts among other relevant information. The funding for these websites often comes from occupancy taxes, a form of taxes that comes from tourists who stay in hotels and visit attractions. Therefore, current and past tourists fund the efforts to draw future tourists into the state. Since state tourism is funded by the success of past tourism efforts, it is important for researchers to spend their time and resources on finding out what efforts were successful and which weren’t. With this comes the importance of seeing trends in past tourism endeavors. By examining past tourism websites, patterns can be drawn about information that changed, from season to season and year to year. These patterns can be used to see what researchers deemed as successful tourism efforts, and help guide future state tourism decisions. Our client, Dr. Florian Zach of the Howard Feiertag Department of Hospitality and Tourism Management, wants to use this historical analysis on state tourism information to help with his research on trends in state tourism website content. Iterations of the California state tourism website, among other sites, are stored as snapshots on the Internet Archive and can be accessed to see changes in websites over time. Our team was given Parquet files of these snapshots dating back to 2008. The goal of the project was to assist Dr. Zach by using the California state tourism website, visitcalifornia.com, and these snapshots as an avenue to explore data extraction and visualization techniques on tourism patterns to later be expanded to other states’ tourism websites. Python’s Pandas library was utilized to examine and extract relevant pieces of data from the given Parquet files. Once the data was extracted, we used Python’s Natural Language Processing Toolkit to remove non-English words, punctuation, and a set of unimportant “stop words”. With this refined data, we were able to make visualizations regarding the frequency of words in the headers and body of the website snapshots. The data was examined in its entirety as well as in groups of seasons and years. Microsoft Excel functions were utilized to examine and visualize the data in these formats. These data extraction and visualization techniques that we became familiar with will be passed down to a future team. The research on state tourism site information can be expanded to different metadata sets and to other states. 
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  7. The purpose of the Twitter Disaster Behavior project is to identify patterns in online behavior during natural disasters by analyzing Twitter data. The main goal is to better understand the needs of a community during and after a disaster, to aid in recovery. The datasets analyzed were collections of tweets about Hurricane Maria, and recent earthquake events, in Puerto Rico. All tweets pertaining to Hurricane Maria are from the timeframe of September 15 through October 14, 2017. Similarly, tweets pertaining to the Puerto Rico earthquake from January 7 through February 6, 2020 were collected. These tweets were then analyzed for their content, number of retweets, and the geotag associated with the author of the tweet. We counted the occurrence of key words in topics relating to preparation, response, impact, and recovery. This data was then graphed using Python and Matplotlib. Additionally, using a Twitter crawler, we extracted a large dataset of tweets by users that used geotags. These geotags are used to examine location changes among the users before, during, and after each natural disaster. Finally, after performing these analyses, we developed easy to understand visuals and compiled these figures into a poster. Using these figures and graphs, we compared the two datasets in order to identify any significant differences in behavior and response. The main differences we noticed stemmed from two key reasons: hurricanes can be predicted whereas earthquakes cannot, and hurricanes are usually an isolated event whereas earthquakes are followed by aftershocks. Thus, the Hurricane Maria dataset experienced the highest amount of tweet activity at the beginning of the event and the Puerto Rico earthquake dataset experienced peaks in tweet activity throughout the entire period, usually corresponding to aftershock occurrences. We studied these differences, as well as other important trends we identified. 
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  8. The proliferation of Internet-enabled smartphones has ushered in an era where events are reported on social media websites such as Twitter and Facebook. However, the short text nature of social media posts, combined with a large volume of noise present in such datasets makes event detection challenging. This problem can be alleviated by using other sources of information, such as news articles, that employ a precise and factual vocabulary, and are more descriptive in nature. In this paper, we propose Spatio-Temporal Event Detection (STED), a probabilistic model to discover events, their associated topics, time of occurrence, and the geospatial distribution from multiple data sources, such as news and Twitter. The joint modeling of news and Twitter enables our model to distinguish events from other noisy topics present in Twitter data. Furthermore, the presence of geocoordinates and timestamps in tweets helps find the spatio-temporal distribution of the events. We evaluate our model on a large corpus of Twitter and news data, and our experimental results show that STED can effectively discover events, and outperforms state-of-the-art techniques. 
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