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

Gilad Ravid gilad at ravid.org
Thu Jun 18 22:48:52 PDT 2009


the appendix  of Jones Q., Rafaeli S and Ravid G. (2004) 'Information 
Overload and the Message Dynamics of Online Interaction Spaces: A 
Theoretical Model and Empirical Exploration'. Information Systems 
Research (Vol. 15, No. 2, June 2004, pp 194-210) 
(http://www.ravid.org/gilad/isr.pdf) describe the method we take to 
tackle the  issue.

mainly we use weighted sum with threshold.


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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"The Mind is not a vessel to be filled, but a fire to be kindled." -- Plutarch, On Listening to Lectures

Gilad Ravid, Ph.D.
Department of Industrial Engineering and Management
Ben Gurion University of the Negev, Israel

Office: +972-8-6472772
Mobile: +972-54-4905391
Skype: giladravid

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