Drowning in Data?

I haven’t looked at the 10 (!) articles in Science yet, but it is hilarious to read the CHE summary article ‘Drowning in Data‘.

It is not, as denizens of CSID would expect, an account of how we have too much data, with people raising the possibility that this could portend the end of the ‘knowledge society’, ie our thoughtless embrace of the infinite pursuit of knowledge.

We may be drowning in the stuff, but that doesn’t mean we should consider the slowing (stopping? destroying?) of information production. Quite the contrary. We simply need better management of data. And–surprise–NSF and NIH grants will help us work out the technologies necessary to preserve, relate, and enhance all this information.

It makes you wonder when we will first hear of a defense for the burning of books….

This entry was posted in Accountability, Future of the University, STEM Policy, US Science Agencies. Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to Drowning in Data?

  1. Steven Hrotic says:

    This reminds me of Vinge’s sf book Rainbows End. (Note the lack of apostrophe.) In it, he wonders whether the digitization of the information in libraries is worth destroying the library itself. No, I’m not going to ruin the ending!

  2. Britt Holbrook says:

    I read the article in the Chronicle differently. It is true that no one there is suggesting that the overproduction of data portends the end of the knowledge society. But it is false that what they suggest is contrary to slowing the flow of data production.

    Indeed, as the last quotation of Timothy Rowe in the article makes clear, focusing on something other than data production is exactly what they are suggesting:

    “Right now they [agencies like NIH and NSF] are financing data generation, but not the release of that data, or the ability of other scientists to analyze it. I think, with all respect, that they are really missing the boat.”

    The point, then, is precisely to stem the flow of knowledge production and focus instead on sharing the knowledge we’ve already produced.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>