January 30, 2011 by Sandro Saitta
Data Mining Research (DMR): Could you please introduce yourself to the readers of Data Mining Research?
Stuart: I am a political science professor, software inventor, and garlic growing enthusiast who coaches U9 boys travel soccer...go Tigers! I am also the founder and CEO of Texifter, LLC, Director of the Qualitative Data Analysis Program (QDAP) at UMass Amherst, and the Editor-in-Chief of the Journal of Information Technology & Politics.
DMR: How did you come up with your company Texifter?
Stuart: I began work in this area in the fall of 1999, when a mid-level agency manager at the USDA's National Organic Program shared 20,000 electronic public comments that were submitted in response to new proposed standard for organic food. The agency also wrote a letter to the NSF pledging support and collaboration as I undertook a pilot study of the viability of commercial-off-the-shelf (COTS) qualitative software for sorting large numbers of public comments. It was clear that agencies needed more powerful human language tools to meet the demands of electronic democracy, especially when the pulse of the nation was inflamed.