The big story of small data

Alan Dix
Talis and University of Birmingham

Computers and Learning Research Group Seminar, Open University, 11th November 2014.

download slides (PDF, 8Mb)

Full reference:
A. Dix (2014). The big story of small data. Talk at Open University, 11th November 2014.
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slides of the talk (PDF, 8Mb)
Talis Lighthouse project
Open Data Islands and Communities
Tiree Tech Wave
In Concert project
Information Processing Context and Privacy (first HCI paper in provacy)
Alan Walks Wales
Website: Alan Walks Wales
Facebook: AlanWalksWales
Twitter: @AlanWalksWales
Data: documentation and download
Video: "Sensing the Miles" about the data and challenges


Big data is big money and big news, in academia no less than elsewhere with numerous new research groups, conferences, journals and, not least, funding initiatives.  However, in this talk I will weave together a number of stories about smaller data: from learning analytics, from musicology, from small communities, and from my own 1000 mile walk round Wales.  Previously I’ve talked about the value of looking at the ‘long tail of small data’, not just vast monolithic data sets such as Twitter streams, DBpedia, or MOOC analytics, but instead those that arise, bottom up, from individuals, small groups, and even islands.  These small data sets together can make ‘big data’, but typically non-homogeneous and more complex than monolithic big data, thus posing algorithmic and interaction challenges.  However, perhaps more important are the social and political challenges: the way we value or fail to value data as academics, and how the control of the production and use of data is fundamental to power, democracy and identity.

The big story of small data. from Alan Dix


Alan Dix 31/12/2014