Digital data – lost, found, and made

Communication on the internet and in other digital media is continuously recording itself – these data are there to be found. They include meta-data – data about data – that carry much information beyond the actual messages that are ‘sent’ and ‘received.’ Meta-data situate these messages in relation to their contexts – the source of information, its connections with other items of information, their trajectories across sites and servers, and the local users of the information, who, perhaps, add their own meta-data. At the same time, various other kinds of data must be made in order to account for the place of digital media in social interaction on a global scale. The resulting challenges to research are as massive as the amounts of data involved – what is referred to in both academia and industry as big data.

This seminar brings key contributors to the first decade of internet research to the Copenhagen Centre for Communication and Computing in order to address these challenges in an interdisciplinary dialogue. Each presentation is followed by Q&A, and the seminar concludes with a panel debate and plenary discussion.

The seminar is open and free – no registration is required. For further information, please contact Kasper Rasmussen <>


  • 9:45 Welcome (Head of Centre, Professor Jørgen Bansler)
  • 10:00 Lost, found, and made – meta-data, meta-media, and meta-communication (Klaus Bruhn Jensen)
  • 10:30 The data we can’t see (Nancy Baym)
  • 11:00 COFFEE
  • 11:15 The analytical construction of web data (Casper Radil)
  • 11:45 Jumping to conclusions – making sense of the long tail of Danes’ internet use by incorporating content analysis and probabilistic sampling (Rasmus Helles)
  • 12:15 LUNCH
  • 13:15 Twitter, big data, and the search for meaning – methodology in progress (Axel Bruns)
  • 13:45 Towards more intelligent search engines (Christina Lioma)
  • 14:15 Detecting learning in networked environments (Alex Halavais)
  • 14:45 Representation vs. invention in the age of endless data: Looking closely at methodological and ethical choices (Annette Markham)
  • 15:15 COFFEE
  • 15:30 Panel debate with presenters
  • 16:30 Closing


Nancy Baym. Principal Researcher, Microsoft Research Cambridge. She has written on online community, online audiences, and interpersonal relationships and new media. Her books include Personal Connections in the Digital Age (Polity) and, with Annette Markham, Internet Inquiry: Conversations about Method (Sage.)

Axel Bruns. Associate Professor at Queensland University of Technology, Australia. Chief Investigator at the ARC Centre of Excellence for Creative Industries and Innovation (CCI) and General Editor at M/C - Media and Culture. Publications include Blogs, Wikipedia, Second Life and Beyond: From Production to Produsage (2008).

Alex Halavais. Associate Professor of Communications at Arizona State University, USA. Halavais’s recent work has focused on tracing learning within networked communities, particularly using social media ("Do Dugg Diggers Digg Diligently," published in iCS last year, and ongoing research on the use of Twitter in social protest). Other publications include Search Engine Society (2009).

Rasmus Helles. Associate Professor, Department of Media, Cognition, and Communication, University of Copenhagen, Denmark. Rasmus’ work focuses on the everyday use of digital media, especially through log files as a source of empirical data. Recent publications include articles on mobile phone and internet use patterns.

Klaus Bruhn Jensen. Professor, Department of Media, Cognition, and Communication, University of Copenhagen, Denmark. Publications include A Handbook of Media and Communication Research: Qualitative and Quantitative Methodologies, 2nd edition (Routledge, 2012), contributions to the International Encyclopedia of Communication (12 vols, Blackwell, 2008), for which he serves as Area Editor of Communication Theory and Philosophy, and Media Convergence: The Three Degrees of Network, Mass, and Interpersonal Communication (Routledge, 2010).

Christina Lioma. Assistant Professor at the Department of Computer Science, University of Copenhagen. Her research focuses on the computational science behind search engines (Information Retrieval) and human language (Computational Linguistics). Since 2004, she has been working at the crossroads of these two areas, effectively alternating between thinking like a computer scientist and thinking like a linguist.

Annette Markham. Guest Professor, Department of Informatics, Umeaa University, Sweden. Annette serves as the co-editor of the International Journal of Internet Research Ethics. Publications include Internet Inquiry: Dialogue Among Scholars (co-edited with Nancy Baym, Sage 2009); Life Online: Researching Real Experience in Virtual Space (Sage, 1998); and a range of articles and book chapters related to interpretive qualitative research in internet studies. She is currently working on a book manuscript entitled: The Ethics of Fabrication.

Casper Radil. PhD fellow at the University of Copenhagen, Department of Media, Cognition, and Communication, writing his dissertation on how the Internet is changing Danish football fan culture. Outside the university, he is working in the company Interfazes that develops new conceptual tools and methods to comprehend online behavior as well as using these methods to advise large public organizations and private companies.

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