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University of Stirling


Article in Journal

Data journeys: Capturing the socio-material constitution of data objects and flows

Bates J, Lin Y & Goodale P (2016) Data journeys: Capturing the socio-material constitution of data objects and flows, Big Data and Society, 3 (2).

In this paper, we discuss the development and piloting of a new methodology for illuminating the socio-material con- stitution of data objects and flows as data move between different sites of practice. The data journeys approach contributes to the development of critical, qualitative methodologies that can address the geographic and temporal scale of emerging knowledge infrastructures, and capture the ‘life of data’ from their initial generation through to re-use in different contexts. We discuss the theoretical development of the data journeys methodology and the application of the approach on a project examining meteorological data on their journey from initial production through to being re- used in climate science and financial markets. We then discuss three key conceptual findings from this project about: (1) the socio-material constitution of digital data objects, (2) ‘friction’ in the movement of data through space and time and (3) the mutability of digital data as a material property that contributes to driving the movement of data between different sites of practice.

critical data studies; data journeys; socio-material; data materiality; data cultures; data practices; big data; data flow;

AuthorsBates Jo, Lin Yu-Wei, Goodale Paula
Publication date01/12/2016
Publication date online13/07/2016
Date accepted by journal21/05/2016
ISSN 2053-9517

big Data and Society: Volume 3, Issue 2


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