Data histories / edited by Elena Aronova, Chistine von Oertzen and David Sepkoski.

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About this work


: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."-- Publisher's website.


Chicago, IL : University Of Chicago Press, [2017]

Physical description

iv, 354 pages : black and white illustrations ; 26 cm.


"This volume is the culmination of a working group at the Max Planck Institute for the History of Science titled "Historicizing Big Data," which convened between 2013 and 2015. First and foremost, our gratitude goes to the participants in two workshops--the first in October 2013, and the second in October 2014--most of whom have contributed essays to this collection."--Page iv.


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.

Bibliographic information

Includes bibliographical references and index.


Where to find it

  • LocationStatus
    History of Medicine
    Open shelves

Permanent link



  • 9780226538778
  • 022653877X