Notes on Borgman Chs 1 & 2

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Chapter 1: Provocations


Starts with Derek J. de Solla Price’s contrasting of little and big science in 1963
Weinberg has coined “big science” in 1961 to refer to big aspirations like rockets, flux capacitors, etc.
Price asked about the relative value of big versus little science
Weinberg asked whether big science was ruining science in general
money invested in big science: what’s the true ROI?
“’Big Data’ has acquired the hyperbole that ‘Big Science’ had 50 years ago.” p. 1
unstated question: What are data?
value of data lies in their meaning

digital data are surprising in that they are more fragile than physical evidence because they can’t be interpreted without the technical apparatus used to create them (MT: not really true, can be interpreted by other apparatuses sometimes)
data exist within a knowledge infrastructure

Borgman frames the issues with big data in scholarship in terms of 6 broad provocations:

  1. reproducibility, sharing, reuse
  2. knowledge transfer across contexts and time
  3. publication form
  4. tradeoffs of open access
  5. stakeholder relationships and redistribution of costs/benefits/risks
  6. tension between funding short-term view and long-term development of knowledge infrastructures

“The rise of data in the media hype circle and in scholarly discourse reflects the convergence of several trends.” p.4

  1. sheer volume of digital data
  2. commodification of data and other information sources


What is New Now

Big Data, Little Data


Disciplines and Data

The Long Tail

No Data

Data are not Available

Data are not Released

Data are not Usable



The value

Chapter 2: Digital Scholarship


Knowledge Infrastructures

The Social and the Technical

Communities and Collaboration

Knowledge and Representation

Theory, Practice, and Policy

Open Scholarship

Open Access to Research Findings

Open Access to Data

Open Technologies

Converging Communication

Data Publishing Metaphors

Dynamic Data

Units of Data

Documents of Record