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Data Modeling & Design

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  1. 5.1 hrs • 11/1/2015 • Unabridged

    When “metadata” became breaking news, appearing in stories about surveillance by the National Security Agency, many members of the public encountered this once-obscure term from information science for the first time. Should people be reassured that the NSA was “only” collecting metadata about phone calls—information about the caller, the recipient, the time, the duration, the location—and not recordings of the conversations themselves? Or does phone call metadata reveal more than it seems? In this book, Jeffrey Pomerantz offers an accessible and concise introduction to metadata. In the era of ubiquitous computing, metadata has become infrastructural, like the electrical grid or the highway system. We interact with it or generate it every day. It is not, Pomerantz tell us, just “data about data.” It is a means by which the complexity of an object is represented in a simpler form. For example, the title, the author, and the cover art are metadata about a book. When metadata does its job well, it fades into the background; everyone (except perhaps the NSA) takes it for granted. Pomerantz explains what metadata is, and why it exists. He distinguishes among different types of metadata—descriptive, administrative, structural, preservation, and use—and examines different users and uses of each type. He discusses the technologies that make modern metadata possible, and he speculates about metadata’s future. By the end of the book, listeners will see metadata everywhere. Because, Pomerantz warns us, it’s metadata’s world, and we are just living in it.

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    Metadata

    5.1 hrs • 11/1/15 • Unabridged
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  2. 7.5 hrs • 9/9/2014 • Unabridged

    What is the secret to a stable marriage? How many gay people are still in the closet? Do we truly live in a post-racial society? Has Twitter made us dumber? These are just a few of the questions Christian Rudder answers in Dataclysm, a smart, funny, irreverent look at how we act when we think no one’s looking. For centuries we’ve relied on polling or small-scale lab experiments to study human behavior. Today a new approach is possible. As we live more of our lives online, researchers can finally observe us directly, in vast numbers and without filters. Data scientists can quantify the formerly unquantifiable and show with unprecedented precision how we fight, how we age, how we love, and how we change. Our personal data has been used to spy on us, hire and fire us, and sell us stuff we don’t need. In Dataclysm, Rudder uses it to show us who we are as people. He reveals how Facebook “likes” can predict, with surprising accuracy, a person’s sexual orientation and even intelligence; how attractive women receive exponentially more job interview requests; and why you have to have haters to be hot. He charts the rise and fall of America’s most reviled word through Google Search and examines the new dynamics of collaborative rage on Twitter. He shows how people express themselves, both privately and publicly. What is the least Asian thing you can say? Do people bathe more in Vermont or New Jersey? What do black women think about Simon & Garfunkel? Hint: They don’t think about Simon & Garfunkel. Rudder also tracks human migration in real time, showing how groups of people move from certain small towns to the same big cities across the globe. And he grapples with the challenge of maintaining privacy in a world where these explorations are possible. Provocative and illuminating Dataclysm is a portrait of our essential selves—and a first look at a revolution in the making.

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    Dataclysm

    7.5 hrs • 9/9/14 • Unabridged
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