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Osiris, Volume 32

Data Histories

The history of data brings together topics and themes from a variety of perspectives in history of science: histories of the material culture of information and of computing, the history of politics on individual and global scales, gender and women’s history, as well as the histories of many individual disciplines, to name just a few of the areas covered by essays in this volume. But the history of data is more than just the sum of its parts. It provides an emerging new rubric for considering the impact of changes in cultures of information in the sciences in the longue durée, and an opportunity for historians to rethink important questions that cross many of our traditional disciplinary categories. 

304 pages | 6 x 9 | © 2017


History of Science

Table of Contents

Introduction: Historicizing Big Data
Elena Aronova, Christine von Oertzen, and David Sepkoski
Anthropology’s Most Documented Man, Ca. 1947: A Prefiguration of Big Data from the Big Social Science Era
Rebecca Lemov

“Digital Natives”: How Medical and Indigenous Histories Matter for Big Data
Joanna Radin
Genealogy as Archive-Driven Research Enterprise in Early Modern Europe
Markus Friedrich
The History and Political Economy of Personal Data over the Last Two Centuries in Three Acts
Dan Bouk
Names and Numbers: “Data” in Classical Natural History, 1758–1859
Staffan Müller-Wille
Machineries of Data Power: Manual versus Mechanical Census Compilation in Nineteenth-Century Europe
Christine von Oertzen
A Feeling for the Algorithm: Working Knowledge and Big Data in Biology
Hallam Stevens
The Database before the Computer?
David Sepkoski
From Lexicostatistics to Lexomics: Basic Vocabulary and the Study of Language Prehistory
Judith Kaplan
Tell Data from Meta: Tracing the Origins of Big Data, Bibliometrics, and the OPAC
Markus Krajewski
The Biggest Data of All: Making and Sharing a Digital Universe
W. Patrick McCray
The Field in the Museum: Puzzling Out Babylon in Berlin
Mirjam Brusius
A Centrifuge of Calculation: Managing Data and Enthusiasm in Early Twentieth-Century Bird Banding
Etienne S. Benson
Geophysical Datascapes of the Cold War: Politics and Practices of the World Data Centers in the 1950s and 1960s
Elena Aronova
Big Data Is the Answer … But What Is the Question?
Bruno J. Strasser and Paul N. Edwards

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