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About Me

I am an Assistant Professor of Data Science at William and Mary (W&M). Before joining W&M, I was a postdoc at the Observatory on Social Media (OSoMe), Indiana University, Bloomington. And before that, a research assistant and member of the Web Science and Digital Libraries (WS-DL) Research Group at Old Dominion University (ODU). I’m a Computer Science graduate of ODU (PhD: 2020, MS: 2014) and Elizabeth City State University (BS: 2011).

Slow news cycle story graph Split attention story graph Mueller report story graph

My research interests include Social media/network analysis, computational social science, web/data science, web archiving, (local)news, and NLP.

Local news collage Local news collage Local news collage Local news collage Local news collage Local news collage Local news collage Local news collage Local news collage Local news collage Local news collage Local news collage

Teaching (Fall 2022)

Recent Publications and Talks

  1. Christopher Torres-Lugo, Manita Pote, Alexander Nwala, and Filippo Menczer, “Manipulating Twitter Through Deletions,” In Proceedings of AAAI Conference on Web and Social Media (ICWSM). june 2022.    
  2. Dhruv Patel, Alexander C. Nwala, Michele C. Weigle, and Michael L. Nelson, “What Did It Look Like: A service for creating website timelapses using the Memento framework,” In Proceedings of ACM/IEEE Joint Conference on Digital Libraries (JCDL). September 2021, pp. 340-341, poster.    
  3. Alexander C. Nwala, Michele C. Weigle, and Michael L. Nelson, “Garbage, Glitter, or Gold: Assigning Multi-dimensional Quality Scores to Social Media Seeds for Web Archive Collections,” In Proceedings of ACM/IEEE Joint Conference on Digital Libraries (JCDL). September 2021, pp. 80-89.    
  4. Alexander Nwala, Michele C. Weigle, and Michael L. Nelson, “365 Dots in 2019: Quantifying Attention of News Sources,” Poster/demo accepted at the Computation + Journalism Symposium (symposium cancelled due to COVID-19), May 2020.    
  5. Alexander Nwala, Michele C. Weigle, and Michael L. Nelson, “Using Micro-collections in Social Media to Generate Seeds for Web Archive Collections,” In Proceedings of the ACM/IEEE Joint Conference on Digital Libraries (JCDL). Urbana-Champaign, IL, June 2019, pp. 251-–260.    
  6. Jayawardana, Yasith, Nwala, Alexander C, Jayawardena, Gavindya, Wu, Jian, Jayarathna, Sampath, Nelson, Michael L, and Giles, C Lee, “Modeling Updates of Scholarly Webpages Using Archived Data,” In Proceedings of IEEE International Conference on Big Data (IEEE BigData 2020). 2020.  

Bio

Dr. Alexander C. Nwala is an assistant professor of Data Science at William and Mary (W&M). Before joining W&M, he was a postdoc at the Observatory on Social Media, Indiana University, Bloomington, with a research focus on dis/misinformation diffusion, detection, and countering of online manipulation. He received his PhD in Computer Science at Old Dominion University and has contributed multiple important tools and datasets to the data/web science, social media, (local) news, and web archiving communities. Dr. Nwala has taught Computer Science courses to High School, Undergraduate, and Graduate students and has collaborated across disciplines and institutions, including with computer scientists/journalists at IU, archivists at the National Library of Medicine, and lawyers at Harvard. And his research has been published in multiple peer-reviewed Journals and Conferences including the ACM/IEEE JCDL, ACM HyperText, iPres, and ICWSM.

Posts

2021-01-20: 366 dots in 2020 - top news stories of 2020

less than 1 minute read

Published:

I join the chorus to say 2020 was a year like no other, and shaped by three historic events: the Coronavirus pandemic, the protests surrounding the Black Lives Matter movement, and the US Presidential elections. According to StoryGraph, in 2018, the top news story was the Kavanaugh hearings. In 2019, it was the Mueller Report. Similar to 2018 and 2019, we analyzed all news stories collected by StoryGraph at 10-minute intervals every day in 2020, to identify the top news stories of 2020. Recall how we identify top news stories, explained briefly in 365 dots in 2019 and in detail by the tech report, and repeated here for convenience.

portfolio

publications

2017

  1. Alexander C. Nwala, Michele C. Weigle, Michael L. Nelson, Adam B. Ziegler, and Anastasia Aizman, “Local Memory Project: Providing Tools to Build Collections of Stories for Local Events from Local Sources,” In Proceedings of the ACM/IEEE Joint Conference on Digital Libraries (JCDL). Toronto, Ontario, Canada, June 2017, pp. 219–-228.  

2018

  1. Shawn M. Jones, Alexander Nwala, Michele C. Weigle, and Michael L. Nelson, “The Many Shapes of Archive-It,” In Proceedings of the International Conference on Digital Preservation (iPres). Boston, MA, September 2018.    
  2. Grant Atkins, Alexander Nwala, Michele C. Weigle, and Michael L. Nelson, “Measuring News Similarity Across Ten U.S. News Sites,” In Proceedings of the International Conference on Digital Preservation (iPres). Boston, MA, September 2018.    
  3. Alexander Nwala, Michele C. Weigle, and Michael L. Nelson, “Bootstrapping Web Archive Collections from Social Media,” In Proceedings of ACM Hypertext (HT). Baltimore, MD, July 2018.  
  4. Alexander Nwala, Michele C. Weigle, and Michael L. Nelson, “Scraping SERPs for archival seeds: it matters when you start,” In Proceedings of the ACM/IEEE Joint Conference on Digital Libraries (JCDL). Fort Worth, TX, June 2018, pp. 263-272.    

2019

  1. Alexander Nwala, Michele C. Weigle, and Michael L. Nelson, “Using Micro-collections in Social Media to Generate Seeds for Web Archive Collections,” In Proceedings of the ACM/IEEE Joint Conference on Digital Libraries (JCDL). Urbana-Champaign, IL, June 2019, pp. 251-–260.    

2020

  1. Alexander Nwala, Michele C. Weigle, and Michael L. Nelson, “365 Dots in 2019: Quantifying Attention of News Sources,” Poster/demo accepted at the Computation + Journalism Symposium (symposium cancelled due to COVID-19), May 2020.    
  2. Jayawardana, Yasith, Nwala, Alexander C, Jayawardena, Gavindya, Wu, Jian, Jayarathna, Sampath, Nelson, Michael L, and Giles, C Lee, “Modeling Updates of Scholarly Webpages Using Archived Data,” In Proceedings of IEEE International Conference on Big Data (IEEE BigData 2020). 2020.  

2021

  1. Dhruv Patel, Alexander C. Nwala, Michele C. Weigle, and Michael L. Nelson, “What Did It Look Like: A service for creating website timelapses using the Memento framework,” In Proceedings of ACM/IEEE Joint Conference on Digital Libraries (JCDL). September 2021, pp. 340-341, poster.    
  2. Alexander C. Nwala, Michele C. Weigle, and Michael L. Nelson, “Garbage, Glitter, or Gold: Assigning Multi-dimensional Quality Scores to Social Media Seeds for Web Archive Collections,” In Proceedings of ACM/IEEE Joint Conference on Digital Libraries (JCDL). September 2021, pp. 80-89.    

2022

  1. Christopher Torres-Lugo, Manita Pote, Alexander Nwala, and Filippo Menczer, “Manipulating Twitter Through Deletions,” In Proceedings of AAAI Conference on Web and Social Media (ICWSM). june 2022.    

Conferences and Workshops (Peer-Reviewed)

  1. Christopher Torres-Lugo, Manita Pote, Alexander Nwala, and Filippo Menczer, “Manipulating Twitter Through Deletions,” In Proceedings of AAAI Conference on Web and Social Media (ICWSM). june 2022.    
  2. Dhruv Patel, Alexander C. Nwala, Michele C. Weigle, and Michael L. Nelson, “What Did It Look Like: A service for creating website timelapses using the Memento framework,” In Proceedings of ACM/IEEE Joint Conference on Digital Libraries (JCDL). September 2021, pp. 340-341, poster.    
  3. Alexander C. Nwala, Michele C. Weigle, and Michael L. Nelson, “Garbage, Glitter, or Gold: Assigning Multi-dimensional Quality Scores to Social Media Seeds for Web Archive Collections,” In Proceedings of ACM/IEEE Joint Conference on Digital Libraries (JCDL). September 2021, pp. 80-89.    
  4. Alexander Nwala, Michele C. Weigle, and Michael L. Nelson, “Using Micro-collections in Social Media to Generate Seeds for Web Archive Collections,” In Proceedings of the ACM/IEEE Joint Conference on Digital Libraries (JCDL). Urbana-Champaign, IL, June 2019, pp. 251-–260.    
  5. Shawn M. Jones, Alexander Nwala, Michele C. Weigle, and Michael L. Nelson, “The Many Shapes of Archive-It,” In Proceedings of the International Conference on Digital Preservation (iPres). Boston, MA, September 2018.    
  6. Grant Atkins, Alexander Nwala, Michele C. Weigle, and Michael L. Nelson, “Measuring News Similarity Across Ten U.S. News Sites,” In Proceedings of the International Conference on Digital Preservation (iPres). Boston, MA, September 2018.    
  7. Alexander Nwala, Michele C. Weigle, and Michael L. Nelson, “Bootstrapping Web Archive Collections from Social Media,” In Proceedings of ACM Hypertext (HT). Baltimore, MD, July 2018.  
  8. Alexander Nwala, Michele C. Weigle, and Michael L. Nelson, “Scraping SERPs for archival seeds: it matters when you start,” In Proceedings of the ACM/IEEE Joint Conference on Digital Libraries (JCDL). Fort Worth, TX, June 2018, pp. 263-272.    
  9. Alexander C. Nwala, Michele C. Weigle, Michael L. Nelson, Adam B. Ziegler, and Anastasia Aizman, “Local Memory Project: Providing Tools to Build Collections of Stories for Local Events from Local Sources,” In Proceedings of the ACM/IEEE Joint Conference on Digital Libraries (JCDL). Toronto, Ontario, Canada, June 2017, pp. 219–-228.  
  10. Alexander Nwala, and Michael L. Nelson, “A Supervised Learning Algorithm for Binary Domain Classification of Web Queries using SERPs,” In Proceedings of the ACM/IEEE Joint Conference on Digital Libraries (JCDL). 2016, pp. 237-238, Best Poster Award, 3rd place.    
  11. Jayawardana, Yasith, Nwala, Alexander C, Jayawardena, Gavindya, Wu, Jian, Jayarathna, Sampath, Nelson, Michael L, and Giles, C Lee, “Modeling Updates of Scholarly Webpages Using Archived Data,” In Proceedings of IEEE International Conference on Big Data (IEEE BigData 2020). 2020.  

Journals and Magazines

  1. Whelan, Eoin C, Nwala, Alexander C, Osgood, Christopher, and Olariu, Stephan, “Selective mutation accumulation: a computational model of the paternal age effect,” Bioinformatics, Vol. 32, No. 24, 2016, pp. 3790-3797.  
  2. He, Wu, Kshirsagar, Ashish, Nwala, Alexander, and Li, Yaohang, “Teaching Information Security with Workflow Technology–A Case Study Approach.,” Journal of Information Systems Education, Vol. 25, No. 3, 2014.  

Other (Poster Presentations, Dissertation, Misc)

  1. Alexander Nwala, Michele C. Weigle, and Michael L. Nelson, “365 Dots in 2019: Quantifying Attention of News Sources,” Poster/demo accepted at the Computation + Journalism Symposium (symposium cancelled due to COVID-19), May 2020.    

Recent Publications and Talks

  1. Christopher Torres-Lugo, Manita Pote, Alexander Nwala, and Filippo Menczer, “Manipulating Twitter Through Deletions,” In Proceedings of AAAI Conference on Web and Social Media (ICWSM). june 2022.    
  2. Dhruv Patel, Alexander C. Nwala, Michele C. Weigle, and Michael L. Nelson, “What Did It Look Like: A service for creating website timelapses using the Memento framework,” In Proceedings of ACM/IEEE Joint Conference on Digital Libraries (JCDL). September 2021, pp. 340-341, poster.    
  3. Alexander C. Nwala, Michele C. Weigle, and Michael L. Nelson, “Garbage, Glitter, or Gold: Assigning Multi-dimensional Quality Scores to Social Media Seeds for Web Archive Collections,” In Proceedings of ACM/IEEE Joint Conference on Digital Libraries (JCDL). September 2021, pp. 80-89.    
  4. Alexander Nwala, Michele C. Weigle, and Michael L. Nelson, “365 Dots in 2019: Quantifying Attention of News Sources,” Poster/demo accepted at the Computation + Journalism Symposium (symposium cancelled due to COVID-19), May 2020.    
  5. Alexander Nwala, Michele C. Weigle, and Michael L. Nelson, “Using Micro-collections in Social Media to Generate Seeds for Web Archive Collections,” In Proceedings of the ACM/IEEE Joint Conference on Digital Libraries (JCDL). Urbana-Champaign, IL, June 2019, pp. 251-–260.    
  6. Jayawardana, Yasith, Nwala, Alexander C, Jayawardena, Gavindya, Wu, Jian, Jayarathna, Sampath, Nelson, Michael L, and Giles, C Lee, “Modeling Updates of Scholarly Webpages Using Archived Data,” In Proceedings of IEEE International Conference on Big Data (IEEE BigData 2020). 2020.  

talks

teaching

CS 432/532 - Web Science

  Catalog Description: The Web has fundamentally changed how we learn, play, communicate, and work. Its influence has become so monumental that it has given birth to a new science: Web Science, or the science of decentralized information structures. Although Web Science is interdisciplinary by nature, this course will be focusing mainly on the computing aspects of the Web: how it works, how it is used, and how it can be analyzed. We will examine a number of topics including: web architecture, web characterization and analysis, web archiving, Web 2.0, social networks, collective intelligence, search engines, web mining, information diffusion on the web, and the Semantic Web. Prerequisites: Standing as an undergraduate senior, graduate student, or approval from the instructor. Read more

CS 432/532 - Web Science

  Catalog Description: The Web has fundamentally changed how we learn, play, communicate, and work. Its influence has become so monumental that it has given birth to a new science: Web Science, or the science of decentralized information structures. Although Web Science is interdisciplinary by nature, this course will be focusing mainly on the computing aspects of the Web: how it works, how it is used, and how it can be analyzed. We will examine a number of topics including: web architecture, web characterization and analysis, web archiving, Web 2.0, social networks, collective intelligence, search engines, web mining, information diffusion on the web, and the Semantic Web. Prerequisites: Standing as an undergraduate senior, graduate student, or approval from the instructor. Read more

DATA 440-03 - Web Science

  Catalog Description: The Web has fundamentally changed how we learn, play, communicate, and work. Its influence has become so monumental that it has given birth to a new science: Web Science, or the science of decentralized information structures. Although Web Science is interdisciplinary by nature, this course will be focus mainly on the computing aspects of the Web: how it works, how it is used, and how it can be analyzed. We will examine several topics including: web architecture, web characterization and analysis, web archiving, Web 2.0, social networks, (creating/detecting) social bots, collective intelligence, search engines, web mining, information diffusion on the web, Semantic Web, etc. Read more