Digging Into Data, Day 2: Making Tools and Using Them

I just discovered (thanks to the Digging Into Data site) that the Chronicle of Higher Education Wired Campus Blog has a nice story on the Digging Into Data Challenge Conference (2011) that talks about the Criminal Intent project I am on. See Digging Into Data, Day 2: Making Tools and Using Them. The article nicely summarizes Steve Ramsay who was our respondent to the effect that,

Mr. Ramsay’s talk celebrated how this kind of Big Data work can enhance rather than diminish the humanities’ traditional engagement with human experience. “The Old Bailey, like the Naked City, has eight million stories. Accessing those stories involves understanding trial length, numbers of instances of poisoning, and rates of bigamy,” he said in his response. “But being stories, they find their more salient expression in the weightier motifs of the human condition: justice, revenge, dishonor, loss, trial. This is what the humanities are about. This is the only reason for an historian to fire up Mathematica or for a student trained in French literature to get into Java.”

The article is by Jennifer Howard and was published June 12, 2011. This nicely contrasts with the Nature article on the event that focused on the culturnomics keynote by Erez Lieberman-Aiden & JB Michel from Harvard rather than the serious work of digging into data. You can see my earlier post on this conference (with a link to my conference report) here.