New Trends in eHumanities - Big Data Little Data No Data- Scholarship in the Networked World

Christine L. Borgman, University of California, KNAW visiting professor


October 9, 2014. 15.00-17.00 at the eHumanities Group

Data scholarship in the Humanities
Case studies in the humanities from “Big Data, Little Data, No Data: Scholarship in the Networked World”


“Big Data” offers today’s scholars vast opportunities for discovery and insight, but having the right data is often better than having more data. “Little data” can be just as valuable as big data. In many cases, scholars have no data ¬because relevant data do not exist, or cannot be found, or are not available. Moreover, sharing data is difficult, incentives to do so are minimal, and data practices vary widely across disciplines. The argument of this book is that data have no value or meaning in isolation; they exist within a knowledge infrastructure – an ecology of people, practices, technologies, institutions, material objects, and relationships. After laying out the premises of this wide-ranging investigation – six “provocations” meant to inspire discussion about the uses of data in scholarship; competing definitions of “data;” and social, policy, and economic aspects of research data – the book presents case studies of data scholarship in the sciences, the social sciences, and the humanities. The book also assesses the implications of these findings for scholarly practice and research policy. Concluding chapters explore releasing, sharing, and reusing data; credit, attribution, and discovery; and what to keep and why. In sum, the book argues that to manage and exploit data over the long term requires massive investment in knowledge infrastructures. At stake is the future of scholarship.

Christine L. Borgman. Big Data, Little Data, No Data: Scholarship in the Networked World. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press, 2015.

Please find the powerpoint of the lecture here.

New trends in eHumanities -Christine Borgman Professor Borgman has been awarded a KNAW Visiting Professors Programme and is hosted by DANS for her  one-year appointment, commencing in March 2014.

Christine L. Borgman is Professor and Presidential Chair in Information Studies at the University of California,  Los Angeles. She is the author of more than 200 publications in information studies, computer science, and communication. Borgman’s work analyses changes in research practices due to digital methods, the rise of research infrastructures, advances in information services (digital libraries), and the role of data and data sharing for science. She has addressed those processes empirically and applied findings to research management functions. The breadth and the depth of her studies and insights, together with a critical reflexive attitude, distinguish her work from many others in the information sciences.

Professor Borgman has a long-term collaborative relationship with the eHumanities Group, and the former Virtual Knowledge Studio. The book produced by the Virtual Knowledge Studio of the KNAW was highly praised by Professor Borgman. The book, published in 2013 by MIT Press is called, Virtual Knowledge. Experimenting in the Humanities and the Social Sciences, edited by Paul Wouters, Anne Beaulieu, Andrea Scharnhorst and Sally Wyatt.

More information about Professor Borgman can be found on her website.