Participating in Oxford Internet Institute’s Summer Doctoral Programme

For years I have wanted to attend the Oxford Internet Institute’s Summer Doctoral Programme, but I never applied for it. Either I missed the application deadline, or I had other plans for that period. However, at the beginning of this year, I managed to hand in an application and I am really excited that I have been awarded with a spot.

Together with 29 other young Internet researchers from all over the world I will be staying for two weeks in Oxford’s Hertford College in the first half of July. We will discuss our dissertation research and attend classes on Internet research theory and methodology. The tutors are drawn from the OII’s own faculty, with additional guest seminars by visiting faculty. I look forward to meeting them as well as my fellow participants. The official hashtag is #oiisdp.

New side project: Good deeds for good data

Gute Taten für gute Daten, which means “good deeds for good data”, is a new side project of mine that I run with a few others under the umbrella of Open Knowledge Austria.

The objective of the project is to free important datasets about the Austrian federal state that matter to the general public. We do that because progress in open government data in Austria has been slow in the past years compared to other countries. Especially ministries and other institutions of the federal state have been rather reluctant to publish their data in open, machine-readable formats. If you take a look at, the official Austrian open government data portal, you will only find a few datasets from these important institutions but many more from provinces and municipalities.


Visiting Scholar at Berkeley’s Center for Science, Technology, Medicine and Society


Two of Berkeley’s landmarks: The Campanile (in the back) and the Doe Memorial Library.

It has been a while since this blog has received an essential update. This happened mainly because I moved to the U.S. to begin my time as a visiting scholar at the University of California, Berkeley. I have been here for exactly two months and will stay for almost another half a year. I also maintain blog that covers my spare time experiences and is updated more frequently – it is written in German, since it is intended for my family and friends at home.


Julian’s Databyte #3: New Research on Data Journalism. And More.

This is a new issue of Julian’s Databyte, an occasionally published compilation of links, news and reviews from the world of open data, data journalism, internet research and political entertainment.


#Aufschrei: A dynamic Co-Hashtag Analyis (Updated)

In the past weeks, I have been working together with Christian on a Twitter analyis that focuses on the agency of hashtags in political debates. Below are the slides of our talk we gave at DGPuK 2014, the annual conference of the German Communication Association (Deutsche Gesellschaft für Publizistik- und Komunikationswissenschat). Update: Yay, our contribution won the “Best Paper Award” at the conference.


Rektor Pfeiffer bei einem Tee mit… Julian Ausserhofer

Bei meinem Arbeitgeber, der FH Joanneum, gibt es den so genannten Rector’s Blog, in dem Rektor Karl Pfeiffer aus seiner Arbeit berichtet. Immer wieder werden dort auch MitarbeiterInnen und ihre Tätigkeiten vorgestellt. Vor kurzem hatte ich die Ehre, auf einen Tee mit dem Rektor zu gehen. Und weil der Blog nicht öffentlich zugänglich ist, reposte ich hier das Interview.

Rektor Karl Peter Pfeiffer und Julian Ausserhofer

Rektor Pfeiffer und Julian Ausserhofer, Mitarbeiter am Studiengang „Journalismus und Public Relations (PR)“, trafen sich am Campus Graz auf einen Tee.


I Did Not Know How a Researcher Can Pack Words Like Sachertorte, #Aufschrei, Wanderlust and Paradigm Shift into Five Paragraphs. And Then I Read This Text.

I spent last summer in Berlin as a visiting research fellow at Humboldt Institute for Internet and Society (HIIG) (documented here and here). They now asked me to contribute to their annual report with a short account of my experiences. The challenge: It would have to include the following words: Sachertorte, fellowship, hiig, berlin, paradigmshift, currywurst, #Aufschrei, Wanderlust. This is what I submitted. 


The visiting research fellows Han-Teng Liao (Oxford Internet Institute), Ulrike Klinger (University of Zurich), me and Giovanni Navarria (University of Sydney) (f.l.t.r.) in front of the Humboldt Institute for Internet and Society. Photo: Elena Pfautsch.


Julian’s Databyte #2: Das österreichische Parteienspektrum, Ideas for Journalism Developers, a Horse. And more.

Recently, I started with a new series: Julian Databyte. This is the second edition of this occasionally published compilation of eight links from the world of data culture and beyond. Read more about the Databyte.

Here we go:

Where do you stand in Austria's domestic politics? This visualization helps you to find your place.

Where do you stand in Austria’s domestic politics? This visualization helps you to find your place.


Julian’s Databyte #1: Twitterpolitik, Datenjournalismus zur Bundestagswahl, Noah. And More.

I am starting with a new series here: Julian’s Databyte. An occasionally published compilation of eight bits (= 1 byte) of information: Links, news and reviews from open data, data journalism, digital media, politics, internet research. And: entertainment. Every Databyte will also feature pieces that are worth consuming when you look for distraction.

The Databyte is in English and German, depending on the source that it links to. I launch this series because Facebook and Twitter make it so difficult to retrieve content that you have shared a while ago. Databyte is also a tribute to the beginning of blogging, when people logged their tours on the web.

Here we go:

Screenshot from Twitterpolitik 2013.


Metaphors of Data

When scientists and practitioners try to explain matters about data, they very often refer to metaphors from the physical world. Most of the terms have been established long before the digital era, they come from commerce (“data storage”, “data retrieval”, “data mining” or “data harvesting”) and nature (“data explosion”, “data is the new oil”, “Datenberg” (in German)). Han-Teng likes to speak of “data massage”. He uses the term to describe the manual effort of getting raw data (!) into the right shape before it can be further processed.

The terminology of data is full of metaphors. And – as it lies in the nature of metaphors – they are never never precise, because the words are taken out of context, they stem from another sphere of meaning and should explain entities that are difficult to understand otherwise. For instance, the “new oil” comparison is inadequate because data is (usually) not a finite resource.