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Debates in the Digital Humanities$
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Matthew K. Gold

Print publication date: 2012

Print ISBN-13: 9780816677948

Published to Minnesota Scholarship Online: August 2015

DOI: 10.5749/minnesota/9780816677948.001.0001

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Trending: The Promises and the Challenges of Big Social Data

Trending: The Promises and the Challenges of Big Social Data

Chapter:
(p.460) Chapter 27 Trending: The Promises and the Challenges of Big Social Data
Source:
Debates in the Digital Humanities
Author(s):

Lev Manovich

Publisher:
University of Minnesota Press
DOI:10.5749/minnesota/9780816677948.003.0047

The term Big Data is applied to data sets whose size is beyond the ability of commonly used software tools to capture, manage, and process the data within a tolerable elapsed time. Big data sizes are a constantly moving target, currently ranging from a few dozen terabytes to many petabytes of data in a single data set. This chapter addresses some of the theoretical and practical issues raised by the possibility of using massive amounts of social and cultural data in the humanities and social sciences. These observations are based on the author’s own experience working since 2007 with large cultural data sets at the Software Studies Initiative at the University of California, San Diego. The issues discussed include the differences between ‘deep data’ about a few people and ‘surface data’ about many people; getting access to transactional data; and the new “data analysis divide” between data experts and researchers without training in computer science.

Keywords:   big data, social data, cultural data, digital humanities, Software Studies Initiative, data analysis

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