2.8 Big data: Analog age vs. digital age (2)

  • Traditionally research data designed for scientific purpose (e.g. Entwisle and Elias 2013, 12)
    • e.g. survey data to measure people’s ideas and behaviours (history)
    • e.g. censuses provide coverage of national populations (history)
  • “Increasingly […] forms of […] data not specifically designed for research purposes are emerging” (Entwisle and Elias 2013, 12) and classic data (e.g. gov. records) become more accessible
  • Entwisle and Elias (2013, 12) suggest 6 data categories
    • Data stemming from the transactions of government, for example, tax and social security systems
    • Data describing official registration or licensing requirements
    • Commercial transactions made by individuals and organisations
    • Internet data, deriving from search and social networking activities
    • Tracking data, monitoring the movement of individuals or physical objects subject to movement by humans
    • Image data, particularly aerial and satellite images but including land-based video images
  • Other data taxonomies (e.g. Richthammer et al. 2014) or types


Entwisle, B, and P Elias. 2013. “New Data for Understanding the Human Condition: International Perspectives.” Paris, France: OECD, available at http://www. oecd. org/sti/sci-tech/new-data-for-understanding-the-hu man-condition. pdf[ 1477].
Richthammer, Christian, Michael Netter, Moritz Riesner, Johannes Sänger, and Günther Pernul. 2014. “Taxonomy of Social Network Data Types.” EURASIP Journal on Information Security 2014 (1): 11.