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Archer and the Global News Index

About this Guide


The Cline Center for Advanced Social Research is a leader in computational research in the social sciences and humanities at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. The Cline Center offers social scientists, humanists, and data scientists advanced tools and techniques to transform immense information into knowledge to better understand our most pressing societal issues.

The Cline Center Global News Index is a searchable database of textual features extracted from millions of news stories, specifically designed to provide comprehensive coverage of events around the world. In addition to searching documents for keywords, users can query metadata and features such as named entities extracted using Natural Language Processing (NLP) methods and variables that measure sentiment and emotional valence.

Archer is a web application built by the Cline Center that provides a user-friendly interface for querying the Global News Index (with the back-end indexing handled by Apache Solr). By default, queries are built using icons and drop-down menus. More technically-savvy users can use Lucene/Solr query syntax via a ‘raw query’ option. Archer allows users to save and iterate on their queries, and to visualize faceted query results, which can be helpful for users as they refine their queries.

What is the Cline Center?

The Cline Center for Advanced Social Research in the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign equips and empowers social scientists, humanists, and decision-makers with tools to address key challenges that threaten human flourishing—climate change, civil unrest, inequality, and injustice, to name a few—by applying advanced computational techniques to extract structured insights out of millions of news stories from around the world. 

Since 2004, the Cline Center has been connecting data science and engineering experts with researchers in the social sciences and humanities to improve lives around the world. Key to this effort is the Cline Center’s network of faculty and research affiliates hailing from universities across five continents, including on-campus affiliates from more than a dozen departments in six colleges at the University of Illinois.

By creating structured data out of unstructured news text and building software to analyze data at extreme scales, the Cline Center aims to foster transformative research with potential to improve societies around the globe. The Cline Center also supports a wide range of teaching and outreach activities, from fellowship programs for faculty and graduate students to undergraduate internships, public lectures and topical symposia.

These activities have positioned the Cline Center within our campus’s data science ecosystem as a data provider supporting a wide range of Illinois research on unstructured data analytics, a bridge-builder connecting the engineering campus with researchers in the social sciences and humanities, and as a translational site for connecting research expertise on campus to both private and public-sector partners with capacity to advance human flourishing around the world.

To learn more, please visit the Cline Center's website.

Need More Help?

The Archer application is currently in beta phase with limited access to the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign faculty, students, and staff. If you are interested in requesting access to the system, please fill out this form. For additional materials, like a codebook and user manual, visit our databank page here. If you have any additional questions, please contact the Cline Center at


Creative Commons License

Except where otherwise indicated, original content in this guide is licensed under a  Creative Commons Attribution (CC BY) 4.0 license. You are free to share, adopt, or adapt the materials. We encourage broad adoption of these materials for teaching and other professional development purposes, and invite you to customize them for your own needs.