[Air-L] question on how to identify email threads on listserv

Michael Lee michael at nexodigital.net
Thu Jun 18 16:59:32 PDT 2009

Hi Dhanaraj, I would try to export them to data files. Let's say HTML,
ODT, etc. Then I would run software for content/text analysis (also
called computer assisted qualitative data analysis software).

Here you can find a lot of possibilities:

Here you have a review:

Resources related to content analysis and text analysis

I am sure there are others you can find using a search engine. Let us
know which one worked for you,

Michael Lee.
michael at nexodigital.net
MSc Candidate
School of Communication
University of Costa Rica

On Thu, 2009-06-18 at 19:16 -0400, Dhanaraj Thakur wrote:
> hey all,
> part of the research I am doing requires that I identify threads on a 
> listserv for analysis. Threads consist of emails that are a series of 
> responses to an initial email.
> of course the easiest way to do this is to sort emails by subject 
> line. however as you might know this is not complete as, for example, 
> some participants will change the subject for a variety of reasons 
> while still remaining in the same thread. Thus one could analyze info 
> in the email header to identify threads, but in my case this data is 
> not always available. Alternatively, one could manually scan though 
> the text of the emails - which is very time consuming when using a 
> large email corpus.
> Therefore, what I need is a method (preferably automated) that can 
> identify email threads by looking at the texts of the emails. I can 
> imagine some software that does this and can create clusters of 
> emails based on semantic similarities that I could equate to threads 
> - but I haven't been able to identify any just yet...
> the units of analysis that I have described are fairly common and, I 
> imagine, so is my problem. Thus perhaps people on this list can point 
> me to existing methods/software/papers that have already addressed this issue?
> thanks
> Dhanaraj
> Dhanaraj Thakur
> Ph.D. Candidate
> School of Public Policy
> Georgia Institute of Technology
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