R-Shief is an open and public archive of social medias content with a focus on Middle Eastern Languages. This innovative media system launched in 2009 collects, archives and provides tools for analyzing and visualizing data published on social medias such as Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, or Instagram. The advisory board is composed of media makers, researchers, and software developers. Today, R-Shief is a unique repository archiving almost six years of multilingual social media, including lots of content from the Arab revolutions.
Arab Digital Expression Foundation, University of Washington, U.S. Embassy in Islamabad, OccupyData, Access to Knowledge for Development (American University of Cairo) are some of the contributors supporting this independent non for profit organization.
The main page offers various options to accessing the archive. Users looking for social media content on a specific topic can either use the kal3a search feature, or browse the detailed index of more than 1600 English and Arabic hashtags collected between 2010 and 2013: in both cases, the results display as a list, and can be refined by author, language, etc… The search help available with kal3a is extremely useful to optimize searches.
Users more interested in analyzing data dynamically can use one of the numerous interactive applications:
- the visualizers for real-time and historical hashtags, as well as the real-time hashtags comparisons producing interactive graphs
- the Arabic Text Analysis tools (Arabic Entry Extraction Engine using Wikipedia as its knowledge base to show various occurrences of Arabic words in Wikipedia, and the soon-to-be-launched Arabic Sentiment meant to identify the related sentiment of a Tweet by analyzing the text based on several Arabic language rules)
- the Instagram Geolocator allowing researchers to use a finger to circle a part of a geographical map, and returns all the Instagram posts taken in that location
- the Hashtag Trends widget measuring trending words in real-time.
Although the website can sometimes appear confusing and difficult to navigate, R-Shief is an extremely valuable resource for any scholar working on social media activism in the Middle East.
R-Shief includes content in a number of languages, but the website is in English.