Photo of Diane Wilson's No Formosa file cabinet.
In my research, I’ve learned about important data gaps but also about huge amounts of data collected by activists over years of work. Often this data is stored in activists’ homes, inaccessible to others working on related issues. I’ve thus also learned about the need for civic data infrastructure and begun asking questions about how such infrastructure should be designed, governed and sustained going forward.
In process, I’ve learned that data infrastructure has many layers and technical components (from data collection technologies to repositories, technical services, user agreements, visualization capabilities, etc.), and depends on many types of expertise. I’ve also learned that to build good civic data infrastructure, we’ll also need to continually reflect on what is needed, and on the limits and affordances of the infrastructures we’ve built so far. I’ve come to see civic data practices, expertise and infrastructure as an important focus for ethnographic research, with rich, politically important possibilities for collaboration with the communities ethnographers study.
Tim Schütz, "Tactic: Making Data (Publicly) Available", contributed by Tim Schütz, Tim Schütz Dissertation Project, Platform for Experimental Collaborative Ethnography, Platform for Experimental Collaborative Ethnography, last modified 2 December 2021, accessed 22 January 2022.