Big data search and rescue – a call for data scientists

Recruiting a data scientist for the Arts Data Impact (ADI) project, funded Digital R&D Fund for the Arts...

Below is an extract from Cimeon Ellerton’s blog on recruiting a data scientist for the Arts Data Impact (ADI) project. Funded Digital R&D Fund for the Arts, the ADI project will support arts organisations to make data-driven decisions by in-depth analysis and improvement of current approaches, delivered through consultancy and the employment of an embedded data scientist-in-residence.

At its heart, Audience Finder is about a process of collecting information, understanding what that means and then applying the insight to achieve the audience development goals of the organisation. We already know what type of data is useful, box office data analyses and audience surveys have been the bread and butter of cultural data for years. Even the relative newcomer, web analytics, has a well-established suite of tools and hypotheses.

ADI gives us the opportunity to look to the future – linked data, open data, social and semantic data – from all sorts of sources including the Audience Finder box office and quant survey warehouses, web and social media, open data sources and probably many more that I haven’t even considered. It’s easy to talk big data, but much harder to put it into practice. Just dealing with all this data demands more computational capacity, more complex analyses and, most importantly a way to find meaning in it. If our decision-making is to become data driven, we need new tools to deal with the avalanche of data available. How do we know what’s junk and what’s not. How can we, to misquote Nate Silver, find the signal in the noise?

The data scientist is here to do just that job. The data scientist will have the skills and expertise to bring order and meaning to types of data we might not be used to dealing with…

Read Cimeon’s full post on the Arts Data Impact blog.