Datapool presents at SxSC Creative Digifest

Gareth Beale

I recently presented the Datapool project’s plans for 3D and imaging data management research at #SxSC2 Creative Digifest. The event (organised by the University of Southampton Digital Economy USRG) was held with the aim of better understanding the impact digital technologies have upon our lives. Participants from several institutions came together to talk about their work, but also to talk more generally about the impact of digital technology on communities and individuals. It was the perfect place to present, but also to reflect upon, our work with the Datapool project.

The 3D and imaging strands of the DataPool project, led by Steve Hitchcock and administered by Gareth Beale and Hembo Pagi respectively, aim to develop a better understanding of how 3D and imaging data are currently handled at the University of Southampton: how they are created, how they are shared, how they are archived, and what this means for research and research culture.

A diverse range of technical and theoretical work was presented at #SXSC 2. The presentations served to highlight the highly innovative nature of contemporary research on digital themes, but they also placed repeated emphasis upon the need to understand how the growth of digital technology is affecting the way we live, think and work.

This need to understand the implications of digital technologies and to work in ways which are not only creative but also sustainable represents one impetus behind the Datapool project. It was fantastic to see so many people talking about how we manage our digital lives and to consider how different strategies might lead us in very different directions. It was important for the Datapool project to be at the centre of this discussion. We are left considering how some of the themes raised at the conference may relate to our digital working practice throughout the University.

Two of the talks which I found particularly interesting were Les Carr and Ramine Tinati talking about the Web Observatory. The idea that the web is sufficiently complex and poorly understood that it requires observation, as we might observe a complex natural phenomenon, is highly significant in thinking about relatively small scale data management on an institutional level. While we do not face many of the challenges faced by those seeking to understand the dynamics of an inherently social and dynamic global network, we must be aware that we are not simply looking at how people stucture their files. As research culture becomes increasingly digital and connected our data becomes socially significant. It will be very interesting to see, as we conduct our research, what the social landscape of Southampton’s 3D and imaging data looks like and whether as participants and observers we can develop a better understanding of the changes which are taking place.


Comments are closed.