Monday, February 20, 2012

Donate Your Cell Phone Text Mesages to Science

Photo Courtesy: Dmitri N.
Cell phones and text messaging have made our lives so much easier.  They coordinate our lives, keep us in touch with families, and even help us find our friends at the bar.  It just takes a minute for quickly-typed message to head across the world and be answered immediately.  But we've made it even easier.  An entire "language" of simplified spelling and grammar has developed to maximize the amount of content with the minimal amount of typing.  Researchers are now looking for help understanding this new language.

The SMS4Science and Text4Science researchers are trying to collect a large volume of text messages from individual users.  Once collected, they hope to analyze the use and spread of this new language.  So every "OMG, "ur", and "l8r" can provide insights into both communication methods as well as the human brain creating those messages.  It can also be used to help computer scientists understand the new language and develop systems and "speak" it as well. 

All the researchers ask is for users to complete a short registration and forward their text messages to the project team.  To encourage participation, each person submitting five or more text messages is entered into a monthly drawing for iPods, USB Drives, and free movie tickets.  So it's a nice potential prize bounty for such a simple request.

This project is currently limited to Canadian text message users but sister-projects are working across the globe to create the most comprehensive data set possible.  So even if you are not living in Canada stay tuned for projects coming soon to your country.

Getting Started is Easy:
  • Visit the Text4Science web page to learn about the Canadian project and the international SMS4Science initiative.
  • Click on "Form" and "Registration" to sign up for the project.  You can also just click here to access the registration form directly.
  • Fill out the (relatively) short questionnaire with your cell phone number, primary language, education level, and text messaging habits (e.g., use at home, use at work, etc.), as well as your texting style (e.g.,  if you normally use simplified messages or full English sentences).  It will take less than five minutes to complete.
  • Provide your informed consent to participate.
  • Forward your text messages to the phone number provided. 
That's all there is to it!  So start texting away with your family and friends, then shoot off a copy to the project.  It's simple for you and appreciated by science.  Another Win-Win for citizen science.


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    4. It just takes a minute for quickly-typed message to head across the world and be answered immediately. But we've made it even easier. An entire "language" of simplified spelling and grammar has developed to maximize the amount of content with the minimal amount of typing. Researchers are now looking for help understanding this new language. EE Customer Service

    5. Language is a convoluted matter. Keep in mind to what extent it took you to know when to utilize which words, and how? Language is not something we learn overnight, and we continue adapting new words consistently! Presently envision you need to show a machine to handle simply a modest bit of dialect... You will require samples, parts and loads of cases to learn from.This is the thing that Texto4science construct for.
      The European piece of the Texto4science project was launched in 2004 as the sms4science at the Université Catholique de Louvain (UCL) in Belgium. "The goal is to manufacture an international text message database to examine what dialect is used - would it say it is defectively composed or a parallel code? Is the code comparable and does it utilize the same rationale starting with one mainland then onto the next? Starting with one area then onto the next? Also how do individuals living in a multilingual environment communicate?"


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