Colloquium: Amelia Acker: Data Cultures and the Future of Large-scale Digital Collections


Abstract: Currently, we are witnessing the emergence of new kinds of human trace data supported by networked infrastructures, captured in vast digital collections and mediated through new kinds of data work. Large-scale digital collections of data cultures represent a range of stewardship problems, particularly related to that of storage, processing, fusing, and curation. The nature of these ?data problems? rests on a figurative seesaw of expertise and technical constraints: at one end are issues of how trace data are figured in creation and collection contexts. At the other end are the actual motives, skills, techniques, models, and theoretical frameworks for processing, appraising, and accessioning heterogeneous data into large-scale digital collections for future use as data archives. At this threshold of large-scale collections are data creators who are subject to near-constant data creation and collection regimes, and those data workers and information professionals that address these problems of storing and processing data. How do creators, collectors, and information professionals understand human trace data and the challenges they represent? What is the impact of data shadows, such as telephony metadata, in documenting present data cultures? This talk will present a survey of data created with mobile communication infrastructure and argue that the future of digital collections will increasingly require navigating mobile software updates, new forms of trace data, and next generation mobile networks. Here, I discuss what this means for the future of libraries, archives, and information institutions concerned with documenting and preserving the cultural record.

Bio: Amelia Acker (M.L.I.S. & Ph.D., University of California, Los Angeles) is an assistant professor in the School of Information Sciences at the University of Pittsburgh. Her research interests include information infrastructure studies, archival science, and data studies, specifically the material production and transmission of information objects in wireless communication systems over time.


8:15am to 9:30am


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