[Humanist] 26.86 data mining?
Humanist Discussion Group
willard.mccarty at mccarty.org.uk
Wed Jun 13 22:48:02 CEST 2012
Humanist Discussion Group, Vol. 26, No. 86.
Department of Digital Humanities, King's College London
Submit to: humanist at lists.digitalhumanities.org
Date: Wed, 13 Jun 2012 15:06:22 +1000
From: Willard McCarty <willard.mccarty at mccarty.org.uk>
Subject: data mining?
In a forthcoming article in Interdisciplinary Science Reviews, the
author says that,
> By data mining, I mean the activity of fitting a wide variety of
> models to the data in the opportunistic hope of finding one that fits
How does this definition accord with general usage? Some time ago
someone (perhaps someone here) made the distinction between two kinds of
digging: (1) for diamonds and the like, i.e. very careful search for
precious objects, with the objective of extracting them intact, and (2)
for iron & similar, i.e. excavating huge quantities of raw ore and dirt,
then later extracting the desired substance by means of mechanical,
chemical or thermal processes. The above definition looks like a rather
different sense, and one for which the metaphor of mining doesn't work
I expect that like many terms we use, usage is quite loose. I suspect
that "data mining" often means no more than searching for stuff, but
that it sounds robust, industrial, gritty -- and so real, honest, worthy
of funding etc. Like "knowledge engineering". Instead of a beanie with a
propeller on top a hard-hat encrusted with processor chips?
But if this forthcoming article has nailed an important meaning of the
term, then it would be good to have some description of how such
mining is done.
Willard McCarty, FRAI / Professor of Humanities Computing & Director of
the Doctoral Programme, Department of Digital Humanities, King's College
London; Professor, School of Computing, Engineering and Mathematics,
University of Western Sydney; Editor, Interdisciplinary Science Reviews
(www.isr-journal.org); Editor, Humanist
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