A little while ago, some conversations with Hasan Bahkshi of NESTA and Gill Johnson of Arts Council England caused me to suggest, somewhat rashly, that I would like to research the potential to use big data and semantic analysis in the cultural sector. With their support, I spent the best part of a year working on the document below, Counting What Counts. Once my collaborator, Professor Paul Moore, came on board, things got a little easier. It’s not intended to be an exhaustive survey of the field – although a lot of reading and talking went into it. The resulting project lead us to explore the theoretical possibilities of semantic analysis, try to ground some of it in reality and, in the course of that work, get swept up in a wider exploration of big data itself. The report is academic in tone – for which no apology as it was commissioned that way. Over the next month or two, we’ll be following it up with some practical tips and, eventually, maybe even some tools.
If you just want to get the gist, I won’t be offended if you stop at the end of the Executive Summary. And, naturally, I’m keen to keep on learning from comments although I reserve the right, as Graham Linehan once said, not to read the bottom half of the internet if things get too rough.
Download the Report Counting What Counts