Data Mining Event Strikes Gold

“It was a great success. We had ten computers, and 13 people,” summed up Daniel Szugyi (MPA ’16). The 13 people who crowded into the Student Computer Lab on the second floor of Oktober 6 utca 7 on June 1 participated in a unique event: crowdsourcing to collect data that will be used to build a database with information about accidents and violations in the garment industry of Bangladesh. The event, which was organized by the Human RigthS Initiative (HRSI) and three SPP students, attracted participants from throughout CEU.

Jonathan Vega (MPA ’16) says that there were several reasons why people volunteered to spend most of their day staring at computer screens. “It’s a topic that interests a lot of us, it was a chance to get some training and experience with LexisNexis, and it was fun,” he explains.

After Ivett Molnar, head of Library Electronic Resources and Services, provided a short introduction to LexisNexis, the students got down to work. “Usually when you do research, you’re on your own. We set it up so that everyone was contributing information to the same Google Sheet and then projected it onto a screen so we could all track the progress we were making. For most of us, this was our first time taking part in a collective research project,” explained Aderoju Alao (MPA ’16), the third member of the team.

To ensure that the collected data was consistent, each volunteer was asked to use the same key words and assigned a specific month and year during a two-year period from the Rana Plaza building collapse in April 2013 to April 2015. “We documented 120 incidents that happened during these two years – and these are only the incidents that were severe or dramatic enough to attract international media attention,” says Szugyi.

The next challenge for the SPP student team is to turn their data into a dataset. There are also plans for a second data mining event in the fall. “We’re hoping that some Bengali speakers will be able to join us next time. With their help, we could also gather data from the local Bangladesh media as well,” said Vega.