Welcome to the Digital Methods Summer School 2012

New Media & Digital Culture, University of Amsterdam, 25 June - 6 July 2012
Reality Mining Project pages
Full detailed Schedule Summer School Flickr Stream

The call for this 6th annual Summer School, "Reality Mining and the Limits of Digital Methods", generated tremendous interest, as you'll see from the list of participants and invitees in the welcome package. We've compiled a reader (of about 600 pages) and numerous tutorials and posted them online. In order to get the most out of the experience it is recommended that participants take time to prepare for the workshops and reading groups in advance.

Looking forwards to seeing you all for what promises to be a gorgeous summer in Amsterdam,

Best regards, Lonneke and Marc (Summer School Coordinators)

Digital Methods Summer School 2012

New Media & Digital Culture, University of Amsterdam, 25 June - 6 July 2012

Festive Opening Location:
Monday, 25 June, 9.30
University of Amsterdam
Nieuwe Doelenstraat 16
1012 CP Amsterdam
Room 3.01

Directions and Map

Quick links:

Reality mining, and the limits of digital methods

When it becomes simple to trace your friend’s network, your movements online and even the provenance of the can of Coke next to your computer screen, reality becomes subject to prediction and to speculation -- in both the financial and the philosophical sense. This transparency discourse is limited by access to data. Indeed, our actions often generate effect far in excess of our own awareness -- how “open” is the open graph really? The concept of “ethical traceability” has been developed for instance as a regulatory discourse to ensure the security of supply chains, yet in spite of the proliferation of digital traces, consumers have only very limited access to these logistical data. How then do we use digital methods to become more “aware”? Can we adapt our methods to work in recommended or relatively closed environments? How do we use devices to test their claims, but also to reveal and circumvent their blind alleys?

After developing a semiotics and structuralism of the link and the network, we explore how digital methods deal with notions of absence. Building on past work in post-demographics and networked content, these workshops will unpack the paradox of online awareness, from social recommendation devices to product and service review sites. Building tools and working with leaked data, our approach this time will be to go beyond merely tracing things in order to make mute objects speak.

About "Digital Methods" as Concept

Digital methods is a term coined as a counter-point to virtual methods, which typically digitize existing methods and port them onto the Web. Digital methods, contrariwise, seek to learn from the methods built into the dominant devices online, and repurpose them for social and cultural research. That is, the challenge is to study both the info-web as well as the social web with the tools that organize them. There is a general protocol to digital methods. At the outset stock is taken of the natively digital objects that are available (links, tags, threads, etc.) and how devices such as search engines make use of them. Can the device techniques be repurposed, for example by remixing the digital objects they take as inputs? Once findings are made with online data, where to ground them? With more online data?

About the Summer School

The Digital Methods Summer School, founded in 2007 together with the Digital Methods Initiative, is directed by Professor Richard Rogers, Chair in New Media & Digital Culture at the University of Amsterdam. The Summer School is one training opportunity provided by the Digital Methods Initiative (DMI). DMI also has a Winter School, which includes a mini-conference, where papers are presented and responded to. Winter School papers are often the result of Summer School projects. The Summer School is coordinated by two PhD candidates in New Media at the University of Amsterdam, or affiliates. This year the coordinators are Lonneke van der Velden and Marc Tuters both of the University of Amsterdam. The Summer School has a technical staff as well as a design staff. The Summer School also relies on a technical infrastructure of some five servers hosting tools and storing data. Participants bring their laptops, learn method, undertake research projects, make reports, tools and graphics and write them up on the Digital Methods wiki. The Summer School concludes with final presentations. Often there are guests from non-governmental or other organizations who present their issues. For instance, Women on Waves came along during the 2010 Summer School. Digital Methods people are currently interning at Greenpeace International and the Global Reporting Initiative.

Previous Digital Methods Summer Schools, 2007-2011, https://wiki.digitalmethods.net/Dmi/DmiSummerSchool.

The Digital Methods Initiative was founded with a grant from the Mondriaan Foundation, and the Summer School is supported by the Center for Creation, Content and Technology (CCCT), University of Amsterdam, organized by the Faculty of Science with sponsorship from Platform Beta.

Summer School Training Certificate

The Digital Methods Summer School issues completion certificates to participants who follow the Summer School program, and complete a significant contribution to a Summer School project. For previous Summer School projects, see for example https://wiki.digitalmethods.net/Dmi/WikipediaAsASpaceOfControversy.


The Summer School meets every day. Please bring your laptop. We will provide abundant connectivity. We start generally at 9:30 in the morning, and end around 5:30. On the last Friday we have a boat trip on the canals of Amsterdam. Detailed schedule.


The Festive Opening Location is:
Monday, 25 June, 9.30
University of Amsterdam

Nieuwe Doelenstraat 16
1012 CP Amsterdam
Room 3.01

For the location of the project workshops see the detailed schedule per day.

Preparations: Online Tutorials and Lectures

On this page you will find online tutorials and lectures.

Audio and Video Tutorials

Social Media & User-Generated Content

Twitter hashtag #dmi12

List of summer school participants on Twitter: https://twitter.com/#!/silvertje/dmi-summer-school-2012

Google Docs spreadsheet with tweets: https://docs.google.com/spreadsheet/ccc?hl=en_GB&key=0ArL3Kbzi2EuwdGdONGFDOWtjOUNUZ3hBaEt6S3B1bkE (Go to tab: Archive)

Photos from group work, final presentations, boat ride and dinner on Flickr.

Presentation materials

Slides & notes from the Presentations: Summerschool2012Presentations

Project Pages

An overview of all summer school projects: Projects 2012

Suggestions for Evening Hangouts

Page with suggestions for the evenings.

Digital Methods Winter School 2012 Revisited

We have a bonus session that draws upon the Digital Methods Winter School 2012 on "Interfaces for the Cloud" and API critique. We have invited Metahaven, the critical Dutch design group, to present their work that actually renders the politics of the cloud.

We look forward to welcoming you!
Topic revision: r28 - 17 Dec 2015, UnknownUser
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