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Monday, October 31, 2011

Tech@ICPSR returns from Gartner

Tech@ICPSR is still recovering from a week-long trip to the 2011 North American Gartner Symposium/ITxpo.

The event had nearly 10,000 technology leaders, CIOs, and other folks from the world of IT. The original game plan was to generate a few short blog posts about the event while attending the symposium, but no such luck.  Kudos to those intrepid bloggers who can both attend an event all day and then blog about it all night.

The major themes at Gartner this year were:  cloud, social, video, big data, and managing the explosive growth in the amount of content that is being produced and retained.  ICPSR has its toes in all of these, and so it felt like the program was a very good fit.

In some ways the event was disappointing in that there were obvious take-aways.  But in other ways it was rewarding because it confirmed that ICPSR is on the right track in many of these areas, such as making use of the cloud to solve certain problems.  And so while the speaker, a Gartner Analyst, may have been encouraging the audience members to conduct an experiment with the cloud, ICPSR is already using the cloud as part of its production operations.

The sessions on "social" were the most interesting.  Again, it feels like ICPSR is already making use of social media in some ways, but it also feels like there is a vast, untapped opportunity to use the content that "social media" generates in social science research.  Is there an opportunity for ICPSR to partner with another organization to create, curate, preserve, and disseminate datasets derived from Twitter feeds?  Facebook walls?

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