Digital Documents and their Discontents (2 of 2)

This lecture asks ‘what is a document?’ and takes a closer look at the issues of assessing digital documents for research including authority, authenticity, information overload and information scarcity.

This lecture is based on Chapter 2 of ‘Digital Culture Industry: A History of Digital Distribution’

This lecture was delivered as part of the BA in Sociology at the University of Essex, Spring 2014.

http://www.essex.ac.uk/sociology/

Writing a Digital History with Digital Documents (1 of 2)

Digital Culture Industry: A History of Digital Distribution was the result of a three-year research project into the history of digital piracy. The project attempted to understand how media retail went from discs to downloads, accounting for individual agency, software design and the wider social changes. This lecture will provide an overview of the project and examine how the research method topic and structure all influenced each other within a social research project.

This lecture was delivered as part of the BA in Sociology at the University of Essex, Spring 2014.

http://www.essex.ac.uk/sociology/

Osborne’s Player Piano: The Post-Industrial Society and Kurt Vonnegut

“If it weren’t for the people, the god-damn people’ said Finnerty, ‘always getting tangled up in the machinery. If it weren’t for them, the world would be an engineer’s paradise.”
(Player Piano by Kurt Vonnegut)

The internet (and therefore I presume the humans – or maybe algorithms – behind it) is in a furore about Osborne’s Work-for-Benefits plan. The key message of it is that those who fail to find work on the privatised back-to-work systems will be required to work in various occupations such as picking up litter, cleaning graffiti and caring for the elderly. They will do this or lose their benefits, and they will do it until they make the conscious decision not to be unemployed any more and take on one of the many jobs in this burgeoning economy of ours. If they don’t get a job, they will remain as a worker for the state. The whole thing seems a little bit Player Piano to me.

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Issues of Using Digital Documents in Social Research

A brief outline of my project ‘Digital Culture Industry: A History of Digital Distribution’ and some of the issues I faced when using ‘Digital Documents’ for my research. It’s a bit of a shallow overview of the issues and I’m hoping to get my working paper on the same topic buffed up (massively overhauled) in the next few months.