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Cultural Analytics

Full text of the book (PDF):

book PDF

Color illustrations and projects:

Visuals and descriptions of all projects by Cultural Analytics Lab discussed in the book.

color illustrations


How can we see a billion images? What analytical methods can we bring to bear on the astonishing scale of digital culture—the terabytes of photographs shared on social media every day, the hundreds of millions of songs created by twenty million musicians on Sound Cloud, the content of four billion Pinterest boards? In Cultural Analytics, Lev Manovich presents concepts and methods for computational analysis of cultural data, with a particular focus on visual media. Drawing on more than a decade of research and projects from his own lab, Manovich—the founder of the field of cultural analytics—offers a gentle, nontechnical introduction to selected key concepts of data science and discusses the ways that our society uses data and algorithms.

Manovich offers examples of computational cultural analysis and discusses the shift from “new media” to “more media”; explains how to turn cultural processes into computational data, and introduces concepts for exploring cultural datasets using data visualization as well as other recently developed methods for analyzing image and video datasets. He considers both the possibilities and the limitations of computational methods, and how using them challenges our existing ideas about culture and how to study it.

Cultural Analytics is a book of media theory. Arguing that before we can theorize digital culture, we need to see it, and that, because of its scale, to see it we need computers, Manovich provides scholars with practical tools for studying contemporary media.

From reviews:

"Lev Manovich’s latest book starts from an indisputable reality: the scale that contemporary cultural production has reached cannot be systematically analyzed with traditional research tools and techniques...It is an accessible book for those who are new to statistics or data science and will undoubtedly become basic reading for any curriculum that wants to embrace quantitative analysis in the study of cultural phenomena" - New Media & Society.

"Cultural Analytics is one of the best books for teaching how to study digital culture with cutting-edge tools and appropriate methods" - AfterImage.

To purchase the book

Available formats: E-book, hardcover. You can purchase the book in either format on Amazon.

You can also find it at other booksellers including Barnes & Nobles, IndieBound, Indigo, Powell's, and Waterstones - the MIT Press book page has links to all of them. For the e-book, you don't need to own a Kindle - instead, you can read the book online using a free Amazon Kindle app that runs on Mac, Windows, iPhone, and Android devices.

Book  2020