Eine Hauptkategorie, eigentlich sollten unter dieser keine Blogposts abgespeichert sein.

Metaphors of Data

When scientists and practitioners try to explain matters about data, they very often refer to metaphors from the physical world. Most of the terms have been established long before the digital era, they come from commerce (“data storage”, “data retrieval”, “data mining” or “data harvesting”) and nature (“data explosion”, “data is the new oil”, “Datenberg” (in German)). Han-Teng likes to speak of “data massage”. He uses the term to describe the manual effort of getting raw data (!) into the right shape before it can be further processed.

The terminology of data is full of metaphors. And – as it lies in the nature of metaphors – they are never never precise, because the words are taken out of context, they stem from another sphere of meaning and should explain entities that are difficult to understand otherwise. For instance, the “new oil” comparison is inadequate because data is (usually) not a finite resource.


Bibliography of Research on Data Journalism

This page provides a bibliography of research publications concerning data journalism, computer assisted reporting and other forms of journalism dealing with structured information.

This list collects scholarly work on this topic. If you are looking for outstanding projects, tools, tutorials or data platforms, this open list of websites about data journalism might be a good start. Also, the Twitter hashtag (#ddj) and the OKFN and NICAR-L mailing lists might be helpful resources.

Submit a new citation  / Get the BibTeX file with all citations / Make your own crowdsourced bibliography

The Relevance of Algorithms and Calculated Publics

Recently, Tarleton Gillespie wrote an excellent article on “the relevance of algorithms” [PDF]. I presented a summary of his paper at the weekly journal club at the Alexander von Humboldt Institute for Internet and Society (as you probably know, I am currently a fellow at the institute). For the journal club we are not supposed to discuss our own’s work but to present one interesting publication by other researchers. Below are the slides that summarize the talk and also Tarleton’s paper.


BarCamp Alpbach: We’re live

Together with Robert and a few other engaged people I organize a BarCamp at the European Forum Alpbach. It will take place on the evening of August 14 and is free and open to everyone.

I am happy that the BarCamo Alpbach website is now online and the registration is open. Jürgen is responsible for the logo and the design. If you happen to be in the area in at the time or you haven’t made any summer plans, think about spending a few days in one of the most beautiful and active villages of the Alps.

BarCamp Alpbach

New Publication: Assessing Barcamps

Screenshot from the paper.

A Barcamp is a place for low-threshold exchange of concepts and ideas.

Since 2008, I have been organizing a number of unfonferences, so-called Barcamps in Austria: At these types of events people gather and agree upon the schedule at the beginning. Everybody is expected to contribute to the unconference, either by presenting, by leading a discussion or by documenting the event. Heinz and I co-organized the first camp on political online communication in the German-speaking area. This year, I will organize a Barcamp at the European Forum Alpbach.

As Barcamps differ substantially from regular conferences, we at Wissensmanagementforum Graz decided to investigate this further and to conduct a research project about the Barcamp in Graz. This conference paper to be presented at I-KNOW in September is the first result of our research. 

You can download the full paper in the publication section. Here is the abstract:

Dennerlein, S., Gutounig, R., Kraker, P., Kaiser, R., Rauter, R., & Ausserhofer, J. (2013, forthcoming). Assessing Barcamps: Incentives for Participation in Ad-Hoc Conferences and the Role of Social Media. Presented at the I-KNOW 13th International Conference on Knowledge Management and Knowledge Technologies, Graz.

Barcamps are conferences without predefined content, often referred to as ad-hoc conferences or unconferences. Therefore, the outcomes of a barcamp are largely unknown before the event. This raises the question of participants’ motivations to attend and contribute. To answer this question, we conducted an exploratory empirical study at the Barcamp Graz 2012. We applied a mixed-method approach: first we used a sociodemographic questionnaire (n=99) which allowed us to characterize the ’typical barcamper’. Second, we conducted qualitative interviews (n=10) to get a deeper understanding of the participants’ motivations to attend, ex- pectations and the use of social media in that context. We identified three concepts, which could be deducted from the interviews: people, format and topics. We found that the motivation to attend and even a common identity is quite strongly based on these three factors. Furthermore, the results indicate that participants share a set of activities and methods by following the barcamp’s inherent rules and make extensive use of social media.

I would like to thank my co-authors, especially Sebastian Dennerlein and Robert Gutounig who took the lead in the publication, as well as all Barcamp participants who patiently answered our questions.

Fellowship am Humboldt Institut für Internet und Gesellschaft in Berlin

[English Version below]

Erfreuliche Nachrichten: Ich gehe für drei Monate im Sommer nach Berlin, um am Alexander von Humboldt Institut für Internet und Gesellschaft (HIIG) zu forschen. In der Zeit werde ich mich insbesondere mit einem Projekt über Arbeitsabläufe im Datenjournalismus beschäftigen. Ich freue mich sehr über die Einladung.

Übrigens suche ich noch ein Zimmer oder eine kleine Wohnung in Berin und vergebe in der Zeit auch mein Zimmer in Wien. Wer mir da weiterhilft bekommt eine original Wiener Sachertorte. Alle Details zur Aktion auf den Seiten, die ich extra dafür eingerichtet habe.
Sacher Torte at Sacher Cafe

[English Version]

Great news: For three months this summer I will be in Berlin to conduct research at the Alexander von Humboldt Institute for Internet and Society (HIIG). I will do a research project that investigates workflows in data journalism. I am really happy about the invitation.

By the way, I am still looking for a room or a small apartment during in Berlin and I will let my room in Vienna during this time. The person who helps me with this gets a delicious Original Sachertorte. Please find all details on the deal on the pages I have created specifally for that purpose.

A Week in Summer in the Alps: Open Data and a Barcamp at the European Forum Alpbach

Sonnenaufgang am Gratlspitz

Since 1945 every year in August, the Tyrolean mountain village Alpbach hosts the European Forum Alpbach – an interdisciplinary three-weeks congress with Austrian and international participants from all fields of society. In the last years and decades, the Forum Alpbach has attracted people like Theodor W. Adorno, Jacques Delors, Viktor Frankl, Friedrich von Hayek, Indira Gandhi or Karl Popper. Alpbach is a bit like Davos but smaller, not as elitist and with a broader focus.

The scientific centerpiece of Alpbach is the seminar week: In 16 one-week seminars, researchers and experts explain their fields of work. This week is very lively: It is the start of the forum, where also around 600 students from all over the world come together.

For this week I had proposed a seminar idea on the topic of “Open Data, Open Government, Open Society?” to the Scientific Advisory Board and I am really glad that my seminar was selected. I also had suggested two seminar chairs and now I am even happier that they agreed to teach in Alpbach for a whole week:

  • Rufus Pollock, founder and co-director of the Open Knowledge Foundation
  • Carl-Christian Buhr, civil servant in the cabinet of European Commissioner Neelie Kroes

With Pollock and Buhr, two of Europe’s most important open data advocates as join the discussion in Alpbach for a week. From the seminar description:

“An essential requirement for a modern and democratic society are institutions that act transparently and can be held accountable by the public. Governments and organiza- tions all over the world have therefore started to open up their data in recent years. These measures have not only improved transparency, they have also unfolded an enormous economic potential. This seminar deals with the topic of open (government) data and its implications: It focuses on the social and technological circumstances and gives insight into data analytics and visualization; last but not least, it also brings up questions of “data ethics”: Which rules and types of freedom does a future data-driven society need?”

It was the second time that my seminar was chosen by the Scientific Advisory Board of Forum Alpbach. Last year my proposed seminar on Social Media was held by Mercedes and Heinz with me as their assistant.

BarCamp in Alpbach

During the seminar week there is another event in which I am involved: I am one of the organizers of the first BarCamp in Alpbach. It is an offical Forum event that is free and open for everyone from outside.

Re:trospektive auf die re:publica, Teil 2

In meinem Post letzte Woche habe ich damit begonnen, die re:publica Revue passieren lassen. Dort habe ich unter anderem über unseren Vortrag, über neuen Wissenschaftsjournalismus, das Ende der Arbeit und unkonventionelle Recherchemethoden berichtet.

Hier Teil zwei meiner Notizen rund um die Konferenz. Diesmal mit folgenden Themen:


Souvenirs von der re:publica, Teil 1

Sie selbst nennt sich eine „der wichtigsten Gesellschaftskonferenzen Europas”, ich habe sie den „alljährlichen Opernball der deutschsprachigen Social-Web-Szene” geheißen – irgendetwas dazwischen wird sie wohl tatsächlich sein. Die re:publica in Berlin: Über 5.000 Teilnehmende, unzählige Workshops und Diskussionen, populäre internationale Speaker und aktuelle Themen rund um Internet, Politik, Technik und Gesellschaft. Die Konferenz, die seit 2007 jährlich veranstaltet wird, richtet sich an Vertreter aus Wissenschaft und Praxis zugleich. Für mich bietet sie die einzigartige Gelegenheit, mich auf den aktuellen Stand in Bereichen zu bringen, die meine Arbeit zwar berühren, die ich aber unter dem Jahr nicht schaffe, umfassend mitzuverfolgen. Ich bin aber auch zum dritten Mal nach Berlin gekommen, um die vielen Branchenkollegen, Freunde und Bekannten wieder zu sehen.

Viel von der re:publica ist bereits online dokumentiert, in den kommenden Tagen wird sicher noch mehr folgen. (Fast) jede Session wurde aufgezeichnet und auf YouTube gestellt. Unsere ist leider (noch) nicht darunter. Hier sind die Talkaufzeichnungen sogar schon mit dem Zeitplan verlinkt. Kurze Zusammenfassungen haben auch schon meine Kollegen aus Graz, Heinz und Brigitte, geschrieben. Jakob weist auf die Selbstreferenzialität hin. Wessen Zusammenfassung fehlt hier noch? Gerne Hinweise dazu an mich oder in die Kommentare.

Ich habe versucht, auf der Konferenz live mitzubloggen, musste mir aber eingestehen, dass das kaum möglich ist, will man keine Einheit verpassen. Deshalb reiche ich im folgenden die Zusammenfassungen von einigen Sessions nach, in denen ich gesessen bin. Vor allem bei einigen der Panels lohnt sich aber der Blick in die Videoaufzeichnung.

Hier kommt ihr zu den einzelnen Themen im Text:


Vortrag auf der re:publica: Tagespolitik auf Twitter

Papiertapete auf der re:publica 12. Photo CC by ReneHamburg/Flickr.

Die re:publica in Berlin ist der alljährliche Opernball der deutschsprachigen Social-Web-Szene. Social-Media-Beraterin trifft Künstler, digitale Bohème trifft Marketing-Manager, DJane trinkt Club Mate. Dazwischen: Grandiose Vorträge aus Wissenschaft und Praxis – und ein Hashtag.

Ich freue mich, dass unser Vorschlag akzeptiert wurde und ich heuer mit Axel Maireder zum Thema Tagespolitik auf Twitter: Themen und Strukturen einer politischen Twittersphäre vortragen werde. Axel Bruns  hat ein Panel eingereicht – hier alle Beiträge –, bei dem wir neben Christian Nuernbergk, Sanja Kapidzic und Prof. Christoph Neuberger vom Institut für Kommunikationswissenschaft der Uni München sprechen werden. 

Vor zwei Jahren auf der re:publica habe ich gemeinsam mit Heinz Wittenbrink über Web Literacy referiert. Heinz ist auch heuer wieder mit einem Vortrag über MOOCs vertreten. Und unsere Kollegin Brigitte Radl wird auch da sein und auf der re:campaign sprechen. Damit ist das Kernteam des Web Literacy Lab auf der re:publica vertreten. Große Freude.