The final speaker (that went fast) at the CCC Symposium is Annette Markham, who begins by posing the question "What counts as data?" An answer to that question might provide an opportunity to bridge 'big data' and qualitative research - because what counts as data also defines what is considered to be viable, credible, or interesting findings.
We continue at the CCC Symposium with the great Alex Halavais, who is interested in the first place in the hidden patterns in data, and the learning - the evolution of ideas - which might result from them. But how do we detect such learning, such change? One indicator could be the popularity of content or users - success may be measured in the amount of attention received, for example.
The next speaker at the CCC Symposium is Christina Lioma, whose focus is on search engines. These, too, are repositories of data, but contain unstructured, heterogeneous, and noisy data - we're using them to find needles in haystacks (using various search logics, in fact: known needles in known haystacks, unknown needles in unknown haystacks, etc.). The discipline of information retrieval aims to develop theoretical principles for modifying and quantifying information and topical relevance.
My own paper started the post-lunch session at the CCC Symposium, discussing our Mapping Online Publics work in the field of Twitter research. I'll post up the slides and audio properly as soon as I can!
The next speaker at the CCC Symposium is Rasmussen Helles, who takes us back to the problem of 'big data'. Such data lend themselves well to visualisation, but this also creates substantial new problems as we make sense of data through their visual representations: we may see the patterns in the data, but we still don't necessarily know what they mean.
The next speaker at the CCC Symposium is Casper Radil, whose interest is in the analytical construction of Web data. How might we talk about the relationship between server access data and the actual communication processes which take place as users engage with the Websites themselves? Casper's approach is digital space analysis, which is an approach to contextualising the different forms of metadata which are created as users access Web content.
The next speaker at the CCC symposium is the fabulous Nancy Baym, who begins by noting how overwhelming the buzz about 'big data' has become. There's a great deal of fascination just with the things we can do with big data sources - tracing interesting patterns, attempting to predict future processes, making sense of data by using algorithmic tools.
I'm spending the day at the Centre for Communication and Computing at the University of Copenhagen, where Klaus Bruhn Jensen has brought together a bunch of AoIR folks, including myself, for a one-day symposium called "Digital Data - Lost, Found and Made". I'll be speaking about our Twitter research in the afternoon.