21 January 2021
The advent of big data challenges long-held assumptions in historical research. The 59 zettabytes of data generated until 2020 reside in fragile storage devices with an average life span of 7 to 30 years. Unlike paper documents, the networked existence of big data across hundreds of thousands of servers in power-hungry data centers requires considerations of energy demands and digital information’s environmental impact. Not to mention, primary sources are no longer exclusively records left behind by human observers but also include detailed logs and photorealistic data captured by billions of smart devices. From material bibliography to data science and cultural studies, how should we prepare ourselves for this sea change and train the next generation of historians?
From January to June 2021, the Department of History at Lingnan University, the Big Data Studies Lab at Seoul National University, and the History Lab at Columbia University are hosting a series of six roundtables that discuss how the historian’s craft will change due to the advent of big data.
Jan 21: Big Data and History: Some Provocations
Feb 18: Archives of the Future
Mar 18: Securing Big Data Archives
Apr 15: Energetics of Big Data
May 20: Big Data Epistemology
Jun 17: History of the Future