Today we started to work on data mining. Data. That is a very big word. You will see… there is something you must know about me. I have a secret to confess, a reality to share, a burden to be lifted with help. This is how my doctoral research files looked like just a few years ago:
They do not look that different now, truth be told. Those are the files I have on paper. There is another disturbing reality: the folders in my computer.
These two images reflect the two complexities of my research. I have to deal with (1) a huge amount of data that (2) I have collected in research carried in libraries and private archives. I have not found relevant materials in digitised collections. Period. This makes the whole data mining process… elusive, to say the least.
However, this does not mean I would not have found relevant data on digital collections. I may have. But I do not know, since most digital repositories are not free, just waiting to be read: university projects require suscriptions that are beyond the reach of my university and the oldest primary sources from Google Books cannot be read from Argentina (yes, it is true). This situation means that the sources I am interested in are not available in a proper format.
And those are the challenges I face as a Latin America based scholar. So far, data mining seems like a distant dream.