Empowering Data Citizens
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Impact The broad impact of our research will be to increase understanding of the datafication of culture. As detailed in the Pathways to Impact and the Case for Support, all components of our work deliver direct impact. We will attain significant impact from collaborating with the Open Data Institute (ODI), the world's leading such body, founded by Sir Tim Berners-Lee and Sir Nigel Shadbolt. Our Amplification project will be the first step of a long-term research relationship with the ODI with the aim of catalysing the evolution of open data culture to create scholarly, social, and economic value. We will draw on the ODI's vast network across industry and the public sector to engage a broad range of other stakeholders in big data and open data. From initial workshops through the development of tools and apps to international conference participation, we will learn and engage with open data researchers and practitioners, and create and disseminate knowledge and tools. We will thus capture the requirements of different groups within this broad field while forging networks for future research on digital culture, especially regarding open data in relation to personal data and BSD. Our proposal aims to cultivate a new interdisciplinary community for arts and humanities research on digital culture. Given the predominance of BSD in the quantification of the self and environment, there is a redoubled need for the deployment of humanities and arts skills in a technological realm heretofore dominated by scientific research. As with our current AHRC grant, we will create an open, interdisciplinary digital culture research environment. Drawing on our existing research and in discussion with collaborators, we have identified a range of needs and questions that would benefit from knowledge exchange with arts and humanities research. These can be clustered around the following: i) Developing research-related knowledge and skills in open data culture. We will make a particularly acute contribution in deepening understanding on the relationship between private and open data. ii) Contributing to worldwide academic advancement in humanities research in the wider information society. We will demonstrate how traditional humanities skills can be leveraged into BSD and open data. iii) Developing and use of new methodologies for data-driven research in the humanities. Our project will have a long-term impact by advancing the state-of-the-art of the tools, technologies, infrastructures and methodologies provided by the digital humanities community for both public sector (including mobile operators) and commercial organisations. iv) Enhancing cultural enrichment. We will empower individuals to access and use their personal data as open data. This innovative research into mobile cultural application will generate profound possibilities for small and medium enterprises. v) Contribute to the knowledge economy, a central policy for the UK's continued prosperity. We will contribute to the improvement of developing open data tools in advanced mobile culture technologies, particularly to work more effectively with mobile open data. vi) Foster digital inclusivity for long-term social benefits. Given the recent revelations on the mining of mobile data for person identification, such research is of immense social importance. By developing greater data literacy and creating tools and environments to transform BSD into open data, we are concretely impacting on the well-being and quality of life in the UK.
Status Closed
Identifier AH/M002551/1
abstract Our project will examine born-digital cultural material by addressing the grey area between private mobile phone data and its publication and use for research and beyond. This builds directly on our current AHRC project 'Our Data Ourselves' (http://big-social-data.net/), which studies the content we generate on our mobile devices, what we call 'big social data' (BSD), and explores the possibilities of its ethical storage. We will progress this research by engaging the cultural and technological elements entailed in the ethical sharing of that data. Our proposal addresses a basic research question: How do we transform BSD into open data, and in turn, empower the digital human and cultivate new data communities? There are basic contradictions here that necessitate our cultural-technological approach. On the one hand, (meta)data is private data, digital traces identifying who, what, where and when. This is data already deeply embedded in digital enterprises and the security state as a source of both economic value and surveillance. Yet, it remains largely out of the hands of the everyday use of those who produce it. On the other hand, (meta)data is more than just a source of economic value or surveillance; it reveals a surprising breadth and depth of cultural activities. In identifying the who, what, where and when, these digital traces offer innovative approaches to the core of arts and humanities research. We posit this new form of born-digital content as constitutive of the paradigmatic contemporary figure of what we call the 'digital human'. Our research proceeds on the premise that culture only ever unfolds in a technologically mediated environment and that the human is constituted therein. What is unique about the digital human is the ubiquity of our intimate relationship with technology and our existential expression in the discrete digital form of metadata. What remains largely unexplored is the multivalent potential manifested in this supersaturated data-state of being. The main vector of our research amplification is in approaching such born-digital cultural content via the model of open data. Open data refers to data available for anyone to use for any purpose and free of cost. Open data should be in formats that are interoperable, that is, it can be linked, and thus easily shared, in a standard and structured format for easy reuse. Open data is critically important for adding value to our existing research project because it is designed to realise the potential of data. If, as we claim, the digital human is always already in a constitutive relationship with technology, then metadata needs to do more than provide raw material to digital enterprise and surveillance fodder. Open data is one way to expand the potential of data, its application to big social data facilitates an open data culture and helps to empower the digital human. We will make significant and innovative contributions through a twofold amplification strategy. First, we will develop an open linked data framework to effectively embed anonymised born digital cultural data. Our technological research will develop proof-of-concept demonstrators that investigate the use of advanced anonymisation technologies for publishing cultural data. This will be done by our Research Associate in collaboration with Dr. Tom Heath, the head of research at the Open Data Institute. Second, we will investigate what cultural research can still do with such an anonymised resource, making possible fundamental humanistic research and the investigation of (meta)data in the context of the material turn in cultural and media studies.
Type Project
Label Empowering Data Citizens
homepage http://gtr.rcuk.ac.uk:80/projects?ref=AH%2FM002551%2F1
Title Empowering Data Citizens
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Has principal investigator Mark Edward Coté
Has co-investigator Tobias Blanke

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Subject Property
King's College London Of
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