Broken data: Conceptualising data in an emerging world

Sarah Pink, Minna Ruckenstein, Robert Willim, Melisa Duque

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

28 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

In this article, we introduce and demonstrate the concept-metaphor of broken data. In doing so, we advance critical discussions of digital data by accounting for how data might be in processes of decay, making, repair, re-making and growth, which are inextricable from the ongoing forms of creativity that stem from everyday contingencies and improvisatory human activity. We build and demonstrate our argument through three examples drawn from mundane everyday activity: the incompleteness, inaccuracy and dispersed nature of personal self-tracking data; the data cleaning and repair processes of Big Data analysis and how data can turn into noise and vice versa when they are transduced into sound within practices of music production and sound art. This, we argue is a necessary step for considering the meaning and implications of data as it is increasingly mobilised in ways that impact society and our everyday worlds.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-13
Number of pages13
JournalBig Data & Society
Volume5
Issue number1
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2018
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • broken world theory
  • Digital data
  • ethnography
  • improvisation
  • repair

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