DAH Data

This is the space where we will live blog the event – encouraging engagement, comments and discussion as we speak.  If you wish, the twitterfeed is also a virtual space where we invite questions and comments to the #dahphdie hashtag.  We will respond to, and engage with these feeds throughout the morning.

Here are some sites that we will encounter during the session:

Tim Berners-Lee on the next web Raw Data Now TED.com talk

data.gov US government open data site

data.gov.uk UK government open data site

data.southampton.ac.uk  U of Southampton open data initiative

W3C World Wide Web consortium Standards for the world wide web – excellent, open site with great links you can trust for factual, up – to – date information on contemporary thinking about web technologies – the introduction at http://www.w3.org/Consortium/mission is excellent.

Jaron Lanier on youtube  (at 23 minutes in)Lanier’s recent book ‘You are not a gadget’ is about the primacy of the individual in the digital domain, and his worries about the ‘hive mind’, and what happens to people when they are ‘anonymised people’.  It is, depending on your perspective, a dystopian or prophetic view of the web from within -and a necessary to read.

Clay Shirky’s article on ontologies (2005) ‘Why ontologies are overrated’.  Shirky is known for his ideas about cognitive surplus, there are a number of his TED talks too.  Here he gives the example of the Periodic Table of Elements as an almost perfect ontology, almost.

Tim Berners-Lee on the year Open Data went worldwide.

This Week (at 14 minutes in) President elect Michael D Higgins speaks about restoring the connection between science and culture in his first interview as president elect, RTE radio news, October 30, 2011.

Key terms: all via w3c

The semantic web: In addition to the classic “Web of documents” W3C is helping to build a technology stack to support a “Web of data,” the sort of data you find in databases. The ultimate goal of the Web of data is to enable computers to do more useful work and to develop systems that can support trusted interactions over the network. The term “Semantic Web” refers to W3C’s vision of the Web of linked data. Semantic Web technologies enable people to create data stores on the Web, build vocabularies, and write rules for handling data. Linked data are empowered by technologies such as RDF, SPARQL, OWL, and SKOS.

– linked data – XML technologies… all at W3C and also the basics are introduced via w3schools.com

A useful beginning description of DATA is here:   http://www.systems-thinking.org/dikw/dikw.htm

The Text Encoding Initiative (TEI) is a consortium which collectively develops and maintains a standard for the representation of texts in digital form.


and now for something completely different the Beyonce …remediation or plagiarism and the levels in between http://www.guardian.co.uk/stage/theatreblog/2011/oct/11/beyonce-de-keersmaeker-dance-move



81 Responses to DAH Data

  1. brendandooley says:

    Other data sites we will mention today:

    • mikecosgrave says:

      RT @mikecosgrave Republic of letters map of C18 correspondence skewed by the volume of published Voltaire letters #dahphdie

  2. Any plans to discuss Dbpedia?

  3. brendandooley says:

    here is john unsworth’s article on scholarly primitives (we’ll discuss them in a minute)


  4. Data is the value of a property of an object – Vikas, Jeremy and Catherine

  5. Steven Yi says:

    Maynooth: Data is a recorded observation, without interpretation.

  6. Information is the patterns that we infer when we process the data

  7. ConorLynch says:

    Maynooth: Data is the building blocks on which information is structured.

  8. Knowledge is how we interpret the information – Catherine, Jeremy and Vikas

  9. saratonin says:

    data: raw information yet to be contextualized to form knowledge

  10. Imho, you can’t use ‘information’ to define what is data, as you may end up with a cyclic definition.

  11. Anything can be data, depending on the information or knowledge you are trying to create. For me, Yeats’ poetry is data…

  12. ConorLynch says:

    The Guardian newspaper commonly prints visualizations of data as a means to further understand data sets. They’ve dedicated a section of their website to it…. http://www.guardian.co.uk/data

  13. Data is the abstraction of information into its smallest components

    • mikecosgrave says:

      That’s interesting – how does it. fit with what Nora said on Twitter about data: “#dahphdie when you’re involved in a creative project you are creating data – but you’re so involved can you accurately describe the data?”

  14. noraduggan says:

    Hi from Galway, don’t think you can hear us!
    Quick response-

    Data; info gathered by yourself and others for analysis?

    2 types;
    Quantitive data- own art practice, others, interviews, conferences, live feeds

    Qualitive data- surveys, open data online

    • mikecosgrave says:

      In poli sci, qualitative includes text of speeches, manifrstos, interviews etc. tools like NUDIST can encode images and video for qualitative data analysis

  15. Can you say that Data is something that is processed by computer and information something that needs human interpretation?

  16. Maura McDonnell says:


  17. Jeremy says:

    Catherine, Vikas, Jeremy

    If we don’t describe data we can’t understand it, or how to use it.
    We can’t share it, others can’t use it.

    Describing data helps us analyse and summarise the outcomes.

  18. Jeremy says:

    ..of our research

  19. ConorLynch says:

    The Poughkeepsie Principles (1987) which lead to the establishment of the TEI set out standards for describing encoding schemes for digital texts. Such standards lend themselves to interoperability and a wider understanding of data. Just one example of the importance of describing data.

  20. Maura McDonnell says:

    A description provides a point of entry into understanding the data

  21. Catherine Ann Cullen says:

    Describing data transforms data because in describing it you interpret it in a way that makes it your own. Catherine Ann Cullen

  22. Patrick says:

    Describing data facilitates interoperability. It enables data discovery, sharing, it allows for the creation of data standards.

  23. might data be the collaborative effort to create a substance for a collective memory

  24. David Delaney says:

    @Catherine, it seems that in interpretting data you also create more data, perhaps for others to interpret.

  25. Catherine Ann Cullen says:

    Describing data is like creating an index for a book – without the index the book is unusable or or very little use. Catherine

  26. noraduggan says:

    Is open data believable? Can anybody put anything up there to bend data info for their own purpose?

    Nora, Galway

  27. noraduggan says:

    link as example of ‘fake’ net art;

  28. Maura McDonnell says:

    can you put up link to republic of letters and medici website – cant find email with link

  29. mikecosgrave says:

    According to Russell Ackoff, a systems theorist and professor of organizational change, the content of the human mind can be classified into five categories: 1. Data: symbols 2. Information: data that are processed to be useful; provides answers to “who”, “what”, “where”, and “when” questions 3. Knowledge: application of data and information; answers “how” questions 4. Understanding: appreciation of “why” 5. Wisdom: evaluated understanding.

  30. Maura McDonnell says:

    using the analogy of a picture created from joining the dots, the dots are the data, each dot has a description, the joins between the dots are the connections between the data and provide more information about the dots (data), the final picture from all the joined dots is the knowledge?

  31. Catherine Ann Cullen says:

    Ackoff’s definition sounds like one of a computer. Where does love, affection, emotion fit in to his definition? Catherine

    • OrlaMurphy says:

      We bring the humanity – we direct the machine – in Lanier’s terms … You are not a gadget – the machine is not and never will be a person – or able to understand, intuit, feel and it will never ‘know’ …

  32. hilary dully says:

    All definitions of data can be contested, there appears to be no agreed definition. Does the same apply to definitions of knowledge ?

  33. Mairead Ni Chroinin says:

    re. “knowledge” – can someone give you “knowledge”? (e.g. a local guide to Mount Everest vs. tourist guide) We usually use the words ‘data’ and ‘information’ to signify things that you can pass from one person to another. We use ‘knowledge’ and ‘wisdom’ to signify something that you can possess. You ask someone for ‘information’, but you don’t ask them for ‘wisdom’ … Does this mean that there is an internal human process that has to be gone through to achieve ‘knowledge’ and ‘wisdom’?

    • Catherine Ann Cullen says:

      Yes I think there is a human assimilation and interpretation that leads to wisdom, not sure about knowledge. Not everyone attains wisdom, though many acquire knowledge.

    • OrlaMurphy says:

      I think that you are absolutely right – and this is at the heart of what we are getting at here – and Lanier is key to this – the machine will do what we tell it to do, but nothing else. It cannot think – and there has been a flawed understanding emerging via science fiction and other forms

      • David Delaney says:

        I think this is a very important aspect of Digital Humanites which I posted about on the forum last week. One needs to be careful what it is they are asking the computer to do. If we are submitting a text to a computer we should be prepared to do something with the text after the computer is finished with it.

        • OrlaMurphy says:

          Yes – the machine does not ‘think’ or create meaning, or understand. It is very much at the heart of the last two weeks’ seminars… we organise the data, create relationships… and interpret the operations that the machine performs

      • As demonstrated by Searle’s Chinese Room experiment…

  34. David Delaney says:

    Just had a glance at the Ackoff model of the human brain and I find the last stage, wisdom, to be very interesting. @Catherine, perhaps this is where love, affection and emotion comes into it? There are five stages but I wonder can these be taken to be happening in a non-chronological way?

    • Or can it be that for some aspects of what makes us human, the earlier stages do not apply? where we go by instinct / intuition? where the human brain can make unrelated inferences that are not representable by today’s data tools? Refer Commander Data of Star Trek NG

      • OrlaMurphy says:

        Absolutely – there is no comparable machine ‘model’ of the human brain. I hope that by including Lanier people will read him and insert themselves into their research, as only the individual humanist/creator/performer has the understanding of the knowledge that leads us to ‘wisdom’ (I like to call that ‘meaning’)

  35. Maura McDonnell says:

    when image and music is represented in digital form, the data that is created can be used to power now outputs, so music data can be used to create image data and image data can be used to create music data, but what this sometimes reveals is that there are common points of abstraction that can work in both music and image domains – digitization helps this common access

    • mikecosgrave says:

      Suggest to me a cross ref to Howard Gardeners work on Multiple Intelligence s which, in teaching and learning, leads to the idea that’s it’s is important to create multiple entry points to learning

  36. Catherine Ann Cullen says:

    Maybe you’re right David. I don’t like the way Ackoff calls our moral and ethical codes ‘special types of human programming.’ He seems to think we are basically computers with a soul.

  37. David Delaney says:

    Yes I would agree with you Catherine, it is a very digital definition of the human mind

  38. Jeremy says:

    Sorry for the late entry.
    I agree, Ackoff calling our moral and ethical codes ‘special types of human programming’ is pretty depressing. Makes you wonder whether there is even a place for a soul,

    However, whether we have a soul or not, technology is central to our civilisation, a key component of our intellectual culture, or our ethical viewpoint. I have read several places that technology is alien, even inimical to ethics as part of the humanities and indeed the arts. Which of course is wrong. Mario Bunge, back in ’79 wrote that our culture is a complex system of heterogeneous interacting components some past their creative prime, others blossoming, others, like digital arts and humanities, are just budding.

    Bunge said modern technology is is an essential part to all of these components, however being so young, it is the least understood, even though it interacts so strongly with each one. if fact the humanities and technology are probably the only components of living culture that interact vigorously with all the other components.

    So perhaps Ackoff is wrong, and perhaps programmes likes ours will help prove him wrong because the many contacts between digital arts and humanities, that is, technology enabled arts and humanities and the myriad other aspects of our culture is leading to an organic integration between the digital world and the actual world we still live in. The funny thing is, if we do not have a soul now, perhaps tru’ technology, we as humans will gain one: a “deux ex machina”.

  39. Brendan Dooley says:

    An image we’ll discuss on Tuesday (15 nov):

    It’s the one discussed by Foucault in Les mots et les choses, regarding representation

  40. Brendan Dooley says:

    A “classic” case of 2d to 3d: the Laocoon group, 1c BC, Roman copy of Greek origiinal

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