"FOLDIT IS PART of a growing trend toward citizen science: enabling ordinary people, often without formal training, to contribute to scientific research in their spare time. The range of involvement varies. Some citizen scientists donate idle time on their home computers for use in solving problems large in scale (the search for intergalactic objects, as in Einstein@home) or small (folding proteins). Other projects encourage participants to contribute small bits of data about themselves or their environments. The Great Sunflower Project, for instance, provides a platform for logging and sharing observations of pollinators like bees and wasps. Still other efforts enlist laypeople to tag and analyze images: Eyewire, for example, a game developed by Sebastian Seung ’86, Ph.D. ’90, a professor of computational neuroscience at MIT, involves participants in mapping neurons in the brain."
The full blossoming of `citizen science` has a long history in the social sciences and humanities that is now becoming much more important thanks to enabling digital technologies. One major example is the ways in which genealogists and academic researchers have collaborated to study demographic change by using sources such as church parish registers to track births, marriages and deaths. The former paper methodology now involves sophisticated digitization, computation and visualization that underpins both academic research and global businesses such as Ancestry. Other examples include public participation in developing museum exhibits and scholarly editions of significant texts.
Big Data has been a hot topic for several years now. The term was actually coined by META Group already in 2001. Since then Big Data has become almost a sort (#BigData will turn everything into gold, right?
Chad Gaffield's insight:
happily, greater sophistication is becoming evident in discussions about Big Data as we move from revolutionary fervour to an appreciation of the challenges and possibilities of gaining meaningful insights esp about human thought and behaviour.
Digital data stem from our own personal and social cognitive processes and thus express them in one way or another. But we still don’t have any scientific tools to make sense of the data flows produced by online creative conversations at the scale of the digital medium as a whole.
I think Big Data enables interpretation at the level of `gold nuggets` in the case of humans (rather than Big Theory at the macro level) since specific context makes so much difference. Could any theory fully accommodate the infinite diversity of human interaction with endless contexts?
Data companies are scooping up enormous amounts of information about almost every American. They sell information about whether you're pregnant or divorced or trying to lose weight, about how rich you are and what kinds of cars you have.
As organisational budgets tighten and economic uncertainty threatens, many digital projects struggle to develop coping strategies when funding, supporting core operations and/or essential development, is not forthcoming.
helpful for sure but we also must recognize that, embedded in algorithms, are all the kinds of interpretive judgments that are associated with journalism...are these judgements made explicitly? shared by journalists? etc - my sense is that journalists (like all `users` need to see themselves as partners in all the analytic-interpretive steps)
At a time when journalism is undergoing a profound crisis as a result of the rise of social networks, financing difficulties, and increasing layoffs in the media industry, the 1st Data Journalism Conference organised by the Spanish chapter of the Open Knowledge Foundation opened up a new direction for the profession; a future that paradoxically goes back to its origins: to the search for new sources, to objective accounts of events and to data analysis.
'Big Data' now a big deal at business schools SmartPlanet.com (blog) As Asha Omelian and Cory Weinberg of GWU's The Harchet report, the proposed program “will include courses like data mining and social network analytics aimed at mid-career...
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