RESOURCE: On a Collections as Data Imperative

The Library of Congress has published “On a Collections as Data Imperative” by Thomas Padilla (UC Santa Barbara). The article focuses on rethinking and reframing collections as data, which then opens up “potential of a collections as data imperative”:

To see collections as data begins with reframing all digital objects as data. Data are defined as ordered information, stored digitally, that are amenable to computation. Wax cylinders, reel to reel tape, vellum manuscripts, websites, masterworks, musical scores, social media, code, and software in digital collections are brought onto the same field of consideration. The value of such a shift can be explored in part by asking how thinking about an object as data multiplies and/or extends the questions that can be asked. For example, if the notion of a single digitized text is shifted from a surrogate of a bound paper object to consider the possibility latent in a form that is computationally processable at the level of thousands or even millions of texts, a move is made toward meaning making that engages affordances unique to data. When a tweet, website, or work of electronic literature is examined, what interlocking standards and structures can be discerned beneath the representation seen on the screen? How might these standards and structures be traversed computationally to gain a better understanding of networks of meaning built daily across time, space, and language? When art is explored as data what computational tools are available to aid eyes and minds in the assessment of hue, saturation, light, darkness, intention and style?

dh+lib Review

This post was produced through a cooperation between Md Intaj Ali, Suse Anderson, Brian Burns, Rachel Di Cresce, Jason Mickel, Allison Ringness, Stephanie Savage, Dan Tracy, (Editors-at-large for the week), Caitlin Christian-Lamb (Editor for the week), and Caro Pinto, Roxanne Shirazi, and Patrick Williams (dh+lib Review Editors).