DFG project "The sustainable provision of software for cross-media practices and digital traces research"

A ‘co-creation approach’ for developing an infrastructure model for the digital diary and sorting apps MeTag and MeSort.


Principal investigator: Prof. Dr. Andreas Hepp (ZeMKI, Universität Bremen)

Participating institutions: ZeMKI, Uni Bremen, Hans-Bredow-Institute Hamburg, Institut for Information Management Bremen

Funded by the German Research Foundation (DFG)

Duration: 2018-2021

The core aim of this research project is to further develop the media diary software MeTag and the Q-sort resp. free sort software MeSort while establishing in the meantime a good practice model for providing software for research on media and communications.

To undertake this as closely as possible to the needs of researchers in media and communications and to build up a sustainable community of researchers that applies this software we will adopt a co-creation approach. This approach will be centered around the development of two mobile apps and web-based tools for collecting and analysing data on cross-media practices and their digital traces: the media diary software MeTag and the extended sorting software MeSort. This is motivated by the need to address two core demands in empirical research on media practices: The first one refers to the field of cross-media research with its need for research software that is able to collect data on media practices across different kinds of media. The second one refers to the challenge of the digital traces left by users in online media, and which calls for software that is able to collect data to suitably contextualise such digital traces. These challenges are already partly addressed by the prototypes MeTag and MeSort. However, these applications and their infrastructure need further development to fully reflect the challenges involved and to be sustainable.

The final outcome of our project will be a sustainable Open Source infrastructure and model that makes it possible to secure a long-term development and availability of the software. As part of this, we will increase the security, optionality, usability and accessibility of the MeTag and MeSort software. Our aim is that media and communications scholars without advanced technical knowledge, as well as participants in research projects, feel comfortable using this software.

Through our co-creation approach, (future) users of the research software are granted an expanded role and a high degree of involvement: on the one hand they are invited to contribute suggestions and ideas with regard to the field application and further functionalities of the software. On the other hand they can share their experiences after applying the software in their own research projects.

If you are interested in using either MeTag or MeSort, or want to be involved in their further development; if you already have experience with similar software applications or just want to be kept informed about the progress of our project: Feel free to contact research assistant Florian Hohmann. Furthermore, you can follow the project on ResearchGate or subscribe to our mailing list to receive regular updates.

External collaborators

Christopher Anderson (University of Leeds, UK)

Göran Bolin (Södertörn University, SE)

Jean Burgess (Queensland University of Technology, AU)

Irene Costera Meijer (Free University of Amsterdam, NL)

Kirsten Drotner (University of Southern Denmark, DK)

Katharina Lobinger (University of Lugano, CH)

Mirca Madianou (Goldsmiths University of London, UK)

Richard Rogers (University of Amsterdam UVA, NL)

Kim Christian Schrøder (University of Roskilde, DK)

Selected publications

  • Berg, M. / Düvel, C. (2012): Qualitative media diaries: An instrument for doing research from a mobile media ethnographic perspective. In: Interactions: Studies in Communication & Culture, 3 (1), S. 71-89.
  • Bjur, J. / Schrøder, K. C. / Hasebrink, U. / Courtois, C. / Adoni, H. / Nossek, H. (2014): Cross-media use: Unfolding complexities in contemporary audiencehood. In: Carpentier, N. / Schrøder, K. C. / Hallet, L. (eds.): Audience transformations. Shifting audience po-sitions in late modernity. London: Routledge, pp. 15-29.
  • Breiter, A. / Hepp, A. (2017): The complexity of datafication: putting digital traces in context. In: Hepp, A. / Breiter, A. / Hasebrink, U. (eds.): Communicative figurations: Rethinking mediatized transformations. London: Palgrave Macmillan, pp. 387-405.
  • Breiter, A. / Kubicek, H. (2016): Offene Verwaltungsdaten und Verwaltungstransparenz. Stand der Forschung und offene Fragen. In: Verwaltung und Management, 22 (6), pp. 283-296.
  • Göpfert, T. / Breiter, A. (2015): Knowledge Discovery in Big Data: Herausforderungen durch Big Data im Prozess der Wissensgewin-nung am Beispiel des CRISP-DM. in: Douglas Cunningham, Petra Hofstedt, Klaus Meer, Ingo Schmitt, (Hrsg.), INFORMATIK 2015, Lecture Notes in Informatics (LNI). Bonn: Gesellschaft für Informatik, pp. 1219-1230.
  • Hasebrink, U. / Hepp, A. (2017): How to research cross-media practices? Investigating media repertoires and media ensembles. In: Convergence, accepted, 24(3), pp. 362-377.
  • Hasebrink, U. / Popp, J. (2006): Media repertoires as a result of selective media use. A conceptual approach to the analysis of patterns of exposure. In: Communications, 31 (2), pp. 369-387.
  • Hepp, A. / Roitsch, C. / Berg, M. (2016): Investigating communication networks contextually. Qualitative network analysis as cross-media research. In: MedieKultur, 32 (60), pp. 87-106.
  • Loosen, W. (2015): Card Sorting. In: Diaz-Bone, R. / Weischer, C. (eds.): Methoden-Lexikon für die Sozialwissenschaften. Wiesbaden: Springer, p. 61.
  • Loosen, W. / Schmidt, J.-H. (2016): Multi-method approaches in journalism research. In: Witschge, T. (ed.): The SAGE Handbook of digital journalism. New Delhi, London, New York: Sage, pp. 562-576.