Big Content/Big Data Quickies

My interactions article Content, The Once And Future King has just come out. Here are some other examples, articles, resources, and so on that build on the topics of Big Content and Big Data that I explored.

99 Problems (Explicit Political Remix) [YouTube] – Jay-Z’s 99 Problems “covered” by Barack Obama. Astonishing.

99 Problems (Explicit Political Remix) ORIGINAL UPLOAD

Look to the skies. The flying saucers will always be there [MetaFilter] – Overview of Dickie Goodman and break-in records.

After Buchanan and Goodman got sued for copyright violations, they exploited the situation for more publicity, by releasing Buchanan and Goodman on Trial, in which the district attorney was portrayed by Little Richard. Their actual trial turned out even better, establishing a precedent for parodic fair use quotations of hit records, as long as copyright holders were compensated. Goodman would then spend several decades making more “break-in” records, where snippets from Top 40 hits were used to “break in” with commentary on the action. Because the records exploited contemporary news events and pop cultural trends, Goodman’s break-in records sound like little time capsules, inspired by topics as varied 50s folk music (The Banana Boat Story), Sputnik (Santa and the Satellite), Westerns (The Flying Saucer Goes West), monster movies (Frankenstein ’59/Frankenstein Returns), the Cold War (Russian Bandstand), TV cop shows (the Touchables in Brooklyn), the Berlin Wall (Berlin Top Ten), the 1968 Democratic convention (On Campus), the Apollo moon landing (Luna Trip), blaxploitation (Superfly Meets Shaft), Richard Nixon (Watergrate), and gas shortages (Energy Crisis ’74)

Raiders of the Lost Archives [YouTube] – “Shot-by-shot comparison of ‘Raiders of the Lost Ark’ vs. scenes from 30 different adventure films made between 1919-1973.

Raiders of the Lost Archives

Big data: The next frontier for innovation, competition, and productivity [McKinsey] – Definitive report on Big Data, with downloadable reports, podcasts, and more.

The amount of data in our world has been exploding, and analyzing large data sets-so-called big data-will become a key basis of competition, underpinning new waves of productivity growth, innovation, and consumer surplus, according to research by MGI and McKinsey’s Business Technology Office. Leaders in every sector will have to grapple with the implications of big data, not just a few data-oriented managers. The increasing volume and detail of information captured by enterprises, the rise of multimedia, social media, and the Internet of Things will fuel exponential growth in data for the foreseeable future

How Big Data Became So Big [NYT] – A brief cultural history of the concept of Big Data and how it’s tipped into the mainstream this past year.

Rising piles of data have long been a challenge. In the late 19th century, census takers struggled with how to count and categorize the rapidly growing United States population. An innovative breakthrough came in time for the 1890 census, when the population reached 63 million. The data-taming tool proved to be machine-readable punched cards, invented by Herman Hollerith; these cards were the bedrock technology of the company that became I.B.M.

The Ethnographer’s Complete Guide to Big Data: Small Data People in a Big Data World [Ethnography Matters] – Jenna Burrell has a three-part series of posts looks at qualitative cultural work and both traditional and emerging approaches to larger and larger data sets.

Being an ethnographer makes me more of a “small data” person. It seems counter-intuitive at first, but I find there are good, sound reasons to sometimes forgo the opportunity to collect more data. This gets to ever present questions about how much is sufficient when doing qualitative or, more specifically, ethnographic research (i.e. how many people to interview? how many months to spend in the field? etc). I find memory limits are an important bounding factor. Can I remember key points from each interview, distinctive elements of that individual’s story? Can I recall the setting and some of the things I observed there? Reading a transcript or my field notes, can I put myself back in that time and place? To have good recall and mastery of your data helps you to move through it with agility and to draw the kinds of surprising thematic connections across data that make ethnographic work, at times, profound.

Designing for Big Data [Jeffrey Veen] – A 20-minute talk from Web2.0 Expo in San Francisco. Veen describes how “technology has enabled massive amounts of data to be recorded, stored, and analyzed. Putting those things together has resulted in some fascinating innovations that echo data visualization work that’s been happening for centuries.”

Web2ExpoSF 09: Jeff Veen, "Designing for Big Data"


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