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Understanding How Researchers Are Envisaging Big Data

The final presenter at AoIR 2015 today is Anissa Tanweer, whose interest is in the shift towards big data. This has been a major buzzword, and has enabled the rise of data science; her team has conducted an ethnography of the data science environment.

Defining Digital Humanities Scholarship

The next speaker at AoIR 2015 is Smiljana Antonijević, whose interest is in the emerging field of the digital humanities. How did this field come to be imagined? It's founding story is generally associated with the Jesuit priest Roberto Busa and his interest in using digital technologies for information management; this gradually developed into humanities computing or linguistic computing. The arrival of personal computing further broadened this, and the term digital humanities finally emerged in the mid-1990s.

Twitter and the Philae Comet Landing

Up next at AoIR 2015 is the fabulous Luca Rossi, whose interest is in how scientific media events are now mediated via Twitter. His focus here is on the Rosetta mission and the Philae probe's landing on comet Churyumov-Gerasimenko. The mission was launched before Twitter was, but the approach and landing of the probe was covered closely by dedicated Twitter accounts and in widely promoted hashtags like #WakeUpRosetta.

Scientists' Attitudes towards Data Sharing

The next session at AoIR 2015 is starting with Catherine Brooks, whose interest is in scientific collaboration: how do scientists organise themselves and manage their data? This is an increasingly crucial question in (big) data-enabled science. One problem is that of dark data – unused, overlooked, rejected data from past research projects, which could be placed on cloud-based storage platforms to make them useful again.

Does Humour Belong in Politics (on Twitter)?

The next speakers at AoIR 2015 are Kristen Guth and Alex Leavitt, who begin by highlighting Twitter's 2015 attempts to reduce the plagiarism of jokes by retweeting. Their real focus is on humour during the 2012 presidential debates in the US, though, and they focus on the three presidential debates during the campaign.

Addressing Information Overload in Art

The next AoIR 2015 speaker is Stacey May Koosel, whose interest is in the temporalities of digital culture. She worked with articles to explore the concept of tl;dr (too long; didn't read) – in relation to our consciousness of time. Tl;dr is related to information overload, and emerged in 2003; it may point to decreasing attention spans, and show how we are overwhelmed by the information deluge we are now faced with. We negotiate it by employing pattern recognition.

Do Smartphones Result in iTime?

The next speaker in this AoIR 2015 session is Veronika Kalmus, whose interest is in the idea of iTime, or the impact of smartphones on our perceptions of social time (and space). There is a sense of the acceleration of social time and social life, partly due to the impact of digital technologies. What are the social, political, and psychological implications of such a speeding-up?

Do Google Search Recommendations Influence the Public Debate?

The next session at AoIR 2015 is exploring timing issues, and the first paper by Sarah Muñoz-Bates is about the effects of Google on how people perceive topics. For example, what is the effect of seeing the term 'illegal' rather than 'undocumented' in relation to migrants? Does it cross the line and criminalise the person; is it racialised in a way that other terms are not?

Speculative Design for Marginalised Communities

And we're off! AoIR 2015 proper starts with a keynote by Micha Cárdenas, who begins with a choice: as the planet is dying, do we want to stay in hell or move to an ice planet? By popular vote, hell it is.

But hell is, well, hellish, and unbearable, and now we're offered a chance of the ocean moon or the ice planet – this time, we're choosing the ocean moon (and this is all highly interactive, with audience members literally racing up to the podium to choose our adventure).

AoIR 2015: Some Notes ahead of the Digital Methods Pre-Conference Session

It's that time of the year when everything else stops and the international community of Internet researchers assembles for the annual AoIR conference. This time we're in Phoenix – arguably the warmest location AoIR has held its conference to date, and a trend very much worth continuing. I have a particularly good reason for coming to the conference this year – in addition to the usual programme of keynotes and presentations, my colleagues have seen fit to elect me as Vice-President of the Association of Internet Researchers, and I'm humbled by the honour of being able to help AoIR continue to flourish.

We start this year's conference with the pre-conference events, and here the QUT Digital Media Research Centre has put together a one-day research methods workshop which has turned out to be popular beyond expectations – with around 100 attendees for this workshop alone, we've had to make some last-minute adjustments to the format and programme of the event. Some of what could have worked as hands-on elements will now need to turn into methods demos, and this goes especially for my workshop on analysing Twitter data, gathered with TCAT, by using Tableau and Gephi.


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