VALA2014 Plenary 1 Borgman

Big data, little data, no data: scholarship in the networked world

Tuesday 4 February 2014, 9:05 – 10:15
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Christine Borgman

University of California, Los Angeles, USA

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VALA2014 Keynote Speaker

Watch the presentationListen to VALA2014 Red Carpet chat with Christine Borgman (Episode 14) with Corin Haines on Corin’s Library Chat website


The enthusiasm for “big data” is obscuring the complexity and diversity of data in scholarship. Inside the black box of “data” is a plethora of behaviour, technology, and policy issues. Publish or perish remains the clarion call of today’s scholars. Now they are being asked to release their data as well, which marks a fundamental transition in scholarly communication. Data are not shiny objects that are easily exchanged. Rather, they are fuzzy and poorly bounded entities. Data flows are uneven – abundant in some areas and sparse in others, easily or rarely shared. Open access and open data are contested concepts that are often conflated. Data practices are local, varying from field to field, individual to individual, and country to country. Data are a lens to observe the rapidly changing landscape of scholarly practice in the sciences, social sciences, and the humanities. The future for libraries to manage the deluge of data is streaming with possibilities – and with challenges. This talk is a preview of the book by this title, forthcoming from MIT Press in fall, 2014.

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