Big Data & Difficult Data: The UC CEISMIC Canterbury Earthquakes Digital Archive

Activity: OtherTypes of External academic engagement - Invited talk


The UC CEISMIC Canterbury Earthquakes Digital Archive was established to collect, preserve and make publically available content related to the devastating earthquakes that hit Canterbury, New Zealand, following a 7.1 magnitude tremor on September 4th 2010. The earthquakes took 185 lives, and led to damage to the built environment estimated to exceed $40 billion. The archive was developed in the context of an ongoing disaster situation involving over 12,000 aftershocks lasting two years. The CEISMIC collection is fast approaching 100,000 items – a considerable size for a digital humanities project – and significant datasets have been identified for inclusion in the future, but the project is still better described as an example of ‘difficult data’ than ‘big data’. Archiving and describing major collections of video, audio, images, and documents presents difficulties of system design and maintenance that surpass that of even genuinely ‘big data’ projects in the commercial world and hard sciences. Rather than indicating that big data has become the central problem of large cultural heritage collections, then, UC CEISMIC indicates ongoing attention needs to be paid to collecting, managing, and analyzing ‘difficult data’.
Period17 Jul 2014
Held atYonsei University, Korea, Republic of