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Avoiding the traps of big data

Ikhlaq Sidhu, Chief Scientist and Founding Director, Sutardja Center | October 22, 2013

By now it’s well known that Target Corporation (Target) “knew a teen girl was pregnant before her father did.” Not only was the story told many times over in the New York Times, but it also became one of the lead examples illustrating the intrinsic value of “big data.” A bit creepy, yes, but basically … Continue reading »

Word counts and what counts

Claude Fischer, professor of sociology | September 27, 2013

A post back in June on “digital humanities” discussed the promises and perils of turning to “Big Data” to answer questions about American history. I focused there on a study that looked specifically at the history of American literature. A paper in Psychological Science this August uses the same tool – the Ngram function in … Continue reading »

Novel data: promise and perils

Claude Fischer, professor of sociology | June 20, 2013

“Big Data” and “Digital Humanities” are two of the hot terms – “with a bullet,” as they used to say on the pop music charts – in the academy these days. The terms label a variety of projects: preserving large archives by digitizing them and crunching vast amounts of raw data to address topics in … Continue reading »