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The Digital Archive: The Data Deluge arrives in the Humanities

Christine L. Borgman, University of California, Los Angeles


The data deluge has began to overwhelm the sciences, as instruments such as sensor networks and space telescopes are generating far more data than can possibly be inspected manually. Only digital tools can make sense of these vast volumes of data. As the humanities draw more heavily on digital archives, their scholarship is taking on many characteristics of the sciences, becoming more data-intensive, information-intensive, distributed, multi-disciplinary, and collaborative. However, the humanities typically lack the technical infrastructure available to the sciences. The scholarly interests of the sciences and humanities also diverge with respect to research practices, sources of evidence, and degrees of control over those sources. This talk will explore some of the challenges facing humanities scholars in mining digital archives.

Suggested Citation

Christine L. Borgman. "The Digital Archive: The Data Deluge arrives in the Humanities" “Time Will Tell, But Epistemology Won't: In Memory of Richard Rorty” A Celebration of Richard Rorty's Archive. University of California, Irvine. May. 2010.

BorgmanRortyTalk20100514.pdf (14633 kB)
Slides from Rorty Symposium Talk