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Raw Data is an Oxymoron

Raw Data is an Oxymoron BOOK REVIEWS 105 Lisa Gitelman (ed.), 2013 Cambridge, MA, MIT Press 208 pp., ISBN 9780262518284 (pbk £20.95) The rise of the digital humanities has made data particularly visible of late. While there has been plenty of discussion about what data might be used for in the humanities and the methodological problems it presents, data itself has been overlooked. This book— a collection of essays edited by Lisa Gitelman—is an attempt to challenge the ‘naturalness’ of data, deflecting attention from data as abstract entity or tool and instead towards specific data-sets, their conditions of production, and the way that data has been used over time. Gathering together contributors from a range of disciplines and with expertise in historical periods from the early modern to the present day, this book is a timely contribution to the humanities, reminding us that data is an artifact, with its own history, materiality and purposes. It is, in other words, a product of culture and so amenable to historical enquiry. That is not say that scholars in the humanities have not been working with and thinking about data. There has always been an important quantitative element to media history, for instance, helping to track different http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Media History Taylor & Francis

Raw Data is an Oxymoron

Media History , Volume 20 (1): 2 – Jan 2, 2014
2 pages

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Publisher
Taylor & Francis
Copyright
© 2014 James Mussell
ISSN
1469-9729
eISSN
1368-8804
DOI
10.1080/13688804.2013.876265
Publisher site
See Article on Publisher Site

Abstract

BOOK REVIEWS 105 Lisa Gitelman (ed.), 2013 Cambridge, MA, MIT Press 208 pp., ISBN 9780262518284 (pbk £20.95) The rise of the digital humanities has made data particularly visible of late. While there has been plenty of discussion about what data might be used for in the humanities and the methodological problems it presents, data itself has been overlooked. This book— a collection of essays edited by Lisa Gitelman—is an attempt to challenge the ‘naturalness’ of data, deflecting attention from data as abstract entity or tool and instead towards specific data-sets, their conditions of production, and the way that data has been used over time. Gathering together contributors from a range of disciplines and with expertise in historical periods from the early modern to the present day, this book is a timely contribution to the humanities, reminding us that data is an artifact, with its own history, materiality and purposes. It is, in other words, a product of culture and so amenable to historical enquiry. That is not say that scholars in the humanities have not been working with and thinking about data. There has always been an important quantitative element to media history, for instance, helping to track different

Journal

Media HistoryTaylor & Francis

Published: Jan 2, 2014

There are no references for this article.