Meeting: Saving Our Present For The Future: Personal Archiving 2010, February 16th At The Internet Archive

Meeting: Saving Our Present for the Future: Personal Archiving 2010, February 16th at the Internet Archive


I will attend an interesting discussion organized by Jeff Ubois on February 16th at the Internet Archive in San Francisco.

Saving Our Present for the Future: Personal Archiving 2010

From family photographs and personal papers to health and financial information, vital personal records are becoming digital. At the same time, creation and capture of new digital information has become a part of the daily routine for hundreds of millions of people. But what are the long term prospects for this data?

The combination of new capture devices (more than 1 billion camera phones will be sold in 2010) with the move from older forms of media is reshaping both our personal and collective memories. The size and complexity of personal collections growing, these collections are spread across different media (including film and paper!), and the lines between personal and professional, published and unpublished are being redrawn.

Whether these issues are described as personal archiving, lifestreams, personal digital heritage, preserving digital lives, scrapbooking, or managing intellectual estates, they present major challenges for both individuals and institutions: data loss is a nearly universal experience, whether it is due to hardware failure, obsolescence, user error, lack of institutional support, or any one of many other reasons. Some of these losses may not matter; but the early work  of the Nobel prize winners of the 2030s is likely to be digital today, and therefore at risk in ways that previous scientific and literary creations were not. And it isn’t just Nobel winners that matter: the lives of all of us will be preserved in ways not previously possible.

On Tuesday, February 16, the Internet Archive will host a small conference for practitioners in personal digital archiving.

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Book: E-Research: Transformation In Scholarly Practice

Book: E-Research: Transformation in Scholarly Practice

A new book E-Research: Transformation in Scholarly Practice edited by Nicholas W. Jankowski on the ways social science research is being changed by the rise of social media has just been released by Routledge.  My colleagues and I contributed a chapter on the ways that information visualization of social media is a useful technique to identify research questions and discover answers about the nature of human association when mediated by computation.  The volume contains work from an all-star line-up of researchers who address the opportunities and challenges of performing research with computer-mediated data about social life.

The blurb about the book describes it as:

“No less than a revolutionary transformation of the research enterprise is underway. This transformation extends beyond the natural sciences, where ‘e-research’ has become the modus operandi, and is penetrating the social sciences and humanities, sometimes with differences in accent and label. Many suggest that the very essence of scholarship in these areas is changing. The everyday procedures and practices of traditional forms of scholarship are affected by these and other features of e-research. This volume, which features renowned scholars from across the globe who are active in the social sciences and humanities, provides critical reflection on the overall emergence of e-research, particularly on its adoption and adaptation by the social sciences and humanities.”

Our chapter is “A Picture is Worth a Thousand Questions: Visualization Techniques for Social Science Discovery in Computational Spaces”, co-authored by  Howard T. Welser, Thomas Lento, Marc Smith, Eric Gleave and Itai Himelboim.  In it, we describe the ways that using information visualizations of social media data sets is a useful way of discovering insights, patterns, and clusters.  We illustrate the paper with several examples of social media information visualizations that display the range of behavior among contributors to social media spaces.

Here is the table of contents for the volume:

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