How to Follow Software Users? (Digital Humanites, Software Studies, Big Data)

By Lev Manovich | April 6, 2012

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Abstract:

Big data is the new media of 2010s. Like previous waves of computer technologies, it changes what it means to know something and how we can generate this knowledge. So far, all big data projects in digital humanities that I am aware of used digitized cultural artifacts from the past. If we want to apply the big data paradigm to the study of contemporary interactive software-driven media, we are facing fascinating theoretical questions and challenges. What exactly is “big data” in the case of interactive media? How do we study the interactive temporal experiences of the users, as opposed to only analyzing the code of software programs and contents of media files? This article provides possible answers to these questions and proposes a methodology for the study of interactive media as “big data.”