[Milton-L] Culturomics? Genome?

Campbell, W. Gardner Gardner_Campbell at baylor.edu
Fri Dec 17 15:33:21 EST 2010


"High-throughput" means about what you'd guess: "throughput" is a way of talking about quantity going through a system or interface of some kind per unit of time. So "high-throughput data collection and analysis" suggests the extraordinary scale of the project. An unprecedented number of words has been entered into the database at great speed (that is, over just a few years), and the various patterns one can seek within that database, as well as (this is crucial, actually) the results those searches generate, can be compared, combined, concatenated, and so forth in similarly high quantities and speeds. 

Quantity is important for obvious reasons: it's easier to make the case that the data are representative if more data are collected. Speed is just as important, for less obvious reasons perhaps: we can ask more questions sooner, iteratively refine the means of collection, maintain a certain level of investigative consistency, broaden access, and so forth. 

The work of interpretation, as the article suggests, is different, and essential. I would venture to say that the authors would readily say that the work of interpretation is more important, since that's a conversation about meaning. But I'm speculating here.

Gardner

P.S. No smart-alec postscript, but something I find genuinely useful: if one enters into a Google search box the word "define" (sans question marks) and the word one seeks to define, various definitions emerge from around the web. It's actually quite fascinating, in my view--a bit like a real-time OED of the present. I know the latter makes little sense, but after my technical explanations I reclaim the squishy privileges of my nonce analogies!

--until February 18--
Dr. Gardner Campbell
Director, Academy for Teaching and Learning
Associate Professor of Literature, Media, and Learning, Honors College
Baylor University
One Bear Place #97189
Waco, TX 76798-7189
254-710-4064
www.gardnercampbell.net

--beginning February 21-
Dr. Gardner Campbell
Director, Professional Development and Innovative Initiatives, Division of Learning Technologies
Associate Professor of English
Virginia Tech
Gardner.campbell at vt.edu




-----Original Message-----
From: milton-l-bounces at lists.richmond.edu [mailto:milton-l-bounces at lists.richmond.edu] On Behalf Of Gilliatt, Cynthia Ann - gilliaca
Sent: Friday, December 17, 2010 1:47 PM
To: John Milton Discussion List
Subject: RE: [Milton-L] Culturomics? Genome?


."Culturomics is the application of high-throughput data collection and analysis to the study of human culture. .

Will someone explain what "high through-put data collection?"  This is not a smart alec question.  I don't understand a word of it except "data collection."

C
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