Data collection screen


Teaching: 20 min
Exercises: 10 min
  • How do we collect data from Twitter?

  • How can we specify criteria for a data collection?

  • Understanding the data collection process.

Before We Start


1) Collection Process

The Twitter API allows COSMOS to stream public Tweets from the platform in real-time. COSMOS uses filtered stream endpoints to narrow criteria you defined from the COSMOS interface such as keywords, hashtags, account names, language, place(see the Data Collection Screen section). To get more information about filtering realtime tweets, follow the link below:

Creating a filter is helpful because it prevents you from collecting unwanted tweets for your research.

After you start a collection through COSMOS, you will begin receiving a stream of data. All streamig data is saved in JSON format in the /home/COSMOS-files/tmp folder temporarily. For each collection, COSMOS creates a folder which has the same name with the collection in the tmp folder. Folder structure:

<%collection_year%>/<%collection_month%>/<%collection_day%>/twitter-collection-<%hour%>.json Folder Structure

Since COSMOS does not show all entities from the raw streamed data in it’s interface, the temp files could be beneficial if these need to be accessed. Later, COSMOS creates a local database on your machine and moves the dataset to the database from the ‘tmp’ folder.

2) Data Collection Screen

After setting up COSMOS on your machine, you can start the software as instructed.

Once COSMOS is launched in your browser, click the plus button on the top left corner. You will see the options Import Data, Import RSS Feed and Start Twitter Collection. You can generate a Twitter collection by filtering or sampling:

Filter: COSMOS provides a filtering feature to narrow a collection while streaming data from Twitter.

  1. Click Start Twitter Collection.
  2. Choose the collecting type as Filter.
  3. Give an appropriate name for the collection on the Twitter Collector pop-up window. Twitter collector

  4. Start the collection based on filtering criteria: Keywords and hashtags, Language, Location, Twitter accounts and Maximum number of tweets by filling the form.
  5. While filling the Keywords and hashtags, Twitter accounts and Language sections, you should press Enter after typing each entry. Once you press Enter, it should turn blue.

Twitter collector

  1. When the form is filled, click the submit button. Once the collection starts, it appears on the show panel. Collection start


  1. When you enter multiple keywords, hashtags or accounts when filtering the collection, the Twitter API determines which results to return using logical OR. For example; If you start a collection with keywords covid, vaccine and coronavirus and Twitter account @BorisJohnson, you would get;
    • tweets posted by Boris Johnson (they do not have to be related to covid),
    • tweets contains covid, vaccine or coronavirus keywords.
  2. Unlike keywords, hashtags and accounts, the language search term uses logical AND. If we add an English language filter for the example collection above, you will get only English tweets with the keywords or accounts.

You can learn more about this at

Sample: COSMOS can stream tweets without any filter or specification.

  1. Click Start Twitter Collection.
  2. Choose the collecting type as Sample.
  3. Specify the Collection name, Collection description and Maximum number of tweets click the Submit button. Sample data
  4. Once you click, the sample dataset will appears on the showpanel.

3) More on Collections

The collection takes time as it streams tweets in real-time.
While the collection continues, clicking the three dots on the show panel:

  • Stop the collection when enough data has been collected.
  • Snapshot the collection to create a subset consisting of data which has been collected until the snapshot. Snapshot

When the collection has been stopped, clicking the three dots on the show panel: Collection menu

  • Query: You can filter your collected data based on tweets sentiment, date, gender, language and country. Query When you query the dataset, it creates a subset of the data based on the query details. This feature helps to remove noisy data and shorten the data analysis process.
  • Export Data Details
  • Export collected data: Exports collected data as a CSV file.
  • Delete
  • Details of data set: Exports the dataset’s details as a json file e.g. date started, name of the collection, …

You can also watch a YouTube video showing all COSMOS data collection processes by clicking the image below.


  • A maximum of two data collections can be started simultaneously because of Twitter API rate limits. You can learn more about rate limits


Collect 10000 english tweets using , keywords, for , Twitter accounts using COSMOS 2.0


While collection continues;

  1. Create a subset and give it an appropriate name. Which COSMOS feature did you use for this purpose?
  2. Create and name a subset filtering only sentimentally negative tweets in the last two days. Which COSMOS feature did you use for this purpose?


  1. Click 3 dots on the panel and select Snapshot. After creating a subset click 3 dots and choose Details option from the dropdown menu, edit the name of the subset and hit the Update button. Snapshot
  2. Click 3 dots on the panel and select Query. Then, fill the form on the pop-up window choosing sentiment score as a negative number(between -5 to 0) and entering a date of last two days and click the Query button. After creating a subset, click 3 dots again and choose the Details option from the dropdown menu, edit the name of the subset and hit the Update button.

Key Points

  • COSMOS can collect twitter data from Twitter.

  • COSMOS can filter collections based on a variety of criteria.

  • COSMOS can create subsets of the data while the collection continues.