IRC16 - Proposed Session - #SpottingData

Posted by Sumandro Chattapadhyay at Nov 23, 2015 03:30 PM |
This is a session proposed for the Internet Researchers' Conference (IRC) 2016 by Dibyajyoti Ghosh and Purbasha Auddy.



The proposed workshop will focus on internet usage in India and the possibilities that the internet offers for representation of data. The workshop will be divided into two parts, the first, of a more general nature, and the second, will focus on one specific aspect of data—representation. While the first part will be more of a documentation exercise, the second part will be a hands-on exercise of some data representation tools that are available on the internet.



Part I: The Nature of Internet Usage in India

The workshop will engage the participants in trying to map the ways that they use the internet in their daily lives, such as circulating emails, using social networks, downloading software, online commerce, academic research, circulating audio and video, etc. This part of the workshop will try to study ‘the starkly hierarchical and segmented experiences and usages of the [internet] in India’. The study will try to distinguish between those who are consumers of data and systems and those who, in addition to consuming, also produce data and systems. Various types of production of data will also be looked at, such as crowdsourcing data (such as in Wikipedia, or restaurant review or hotel review websites).

The workshop will be conducted in an interactive manner, where the participants will enter their responses in an online collaborative platform (Google Sheets), which will be editable by all the participants. This brief documentation exercise will also be used to prepare a report at the end of the conference.

After completing this exercise of mapping the usage of the internet, the second segment of the workshop will try to explore various ways of representing data. This exercise will be done by using tools available online.

Part II: Representation of Data

This part of the workshop will deal with various kinds of data representation, of various kinds of data that users contribute to the internet through websites, such as social networks, blogs, etc. The workshop will try to look at the various existing ways in visualising and representing such data through the internet, such as chronology timelines, location mapping, network mapping, enhanced text representation such as through display of XML-Text Encoding Initiative (XML-TEI) files, etc. so as to enhance the data and open up other aspects of the data not usually evident in forms such as lists and spreadsheets.

The participants will be led through to the creation of small chronology timelines and location mapping in particular. Therefore participants will be requested to contribute data in the form of simple and small English texts which have either several markers of time, or several markers of location, so as to enable such visualisation. Examples of such texts include biographies, travel narratives, etc. The workshop will discuss how to filter ‘structured data’ from prose text to get desirable result from the softwares.

This part of the workshop will try to answer the question as to ‘how do we begin to use the internet as a space for academic and creative practice and intervention?’ The workshop will use open-access tools and software so as to highlight the low-investment infrastructure that is often sufficient enough to represent and enhance data.



Participants are requested to look at two visualisation tools in particular (both of which were developed by the Knight Lab in Northwestern University, USA), one for creating a chronology timeline ( and the other for creating a location map (


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