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

Caroline Haythornthwaite haythorn at illinois.edu
Fri Jun 19 08:15:13 PDT 2009

You may also want to look at the tools Anatoliy Gruzd has developed for analysis of threaded texts. 

www.textanalytics.net or 


---- Original message ----
>Date: Thu, 18 Jun 2009 19:16:45 -0400
>From: Dhanaraj Thakur <dthakur at gatech.edu>  
>Subject: [Air-L] question on how to identify email threads on listserv  
>To: <air-l at listserv.aoir.org>
>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?
>Dhanaraj Thakur
>Ph.D. Candidate
>School of Public Policy
>Georgia Institute of Technology
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Caroline Haythornthwaite
Professor, Graduate School of Library and Information Science, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, 501 East Daniel St., Champaign IL 61820
haythorn at illinois.edu OR haythorn at uiuc.edu

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