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Data infrastructure literacy

Gray, J., Gerlitz, C. & Bounegru, L., 10-Jul-2018, In : Big Data & Society. 5, 2, 13 p., 2053951718786316.

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A recent report from the UN makes the case for "global data literacy" in order to realise the opportunities afforded by the "data revolution". Here and in many other contexts, data literacy is characterised in terms of a combination of numerical, statistical and technical capacities. In this article, we argue for an expansion of the concept to include not just competencies in reading and working with datasets but also the ability to account for, intervene around and participate in the wider socio-technical infrastructures through which data is created, stored and analysed - which we call "data infrastructure literacy". We illustrate this notion with examples of "inventive data practice" from previous and ongoing research on open data, online platforms, data journalism and data activism. Drawing on these perspectives, we argue that data literacy initiatives might cultivate sensibilities not only for data science but also for data sociology, data politics as well as wider public engagement with digital data infrastructures. The proposed notion of data infrastructure literacy is intended to make space for collective inquiry, experimentation, imagination and intervention around data in educational programmes and beyond, including how data infrastructures can be challenged, contested, reshaped and repurposed to align with interests and publics other than those originally intended.

Original languageEnglish
Article number2053951718786316
Number of pages13
JournalBig Data & Society
Volume5
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 10-Jul-2018

    Keywords

  • Data infrastructures, information infrastructure studies, science and technology studies, digital methods, data activism, data literacy, data publics, data journalism, critical data studies, data critique, data worlds, CRITIQUE

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