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How to Follow Global Digital Cultures, or Cultural Analytics for Beginners


The ubiquity of computers, digital media software, consumer electronics, and computer networks led to the exponential rise in the numbers of cultural producers worldwide and the media they create – making it very difficult, if not impossible, to understand global cultural developments and dynamics in any substantial details using 20th century theoretical tools and methods. But what if we can we use the same developments – computers, software, and availability of massive amounts of “born digital” cultural content – to track global cultural processes in ways impossible with traditional tools?

To investigate these questions – as well as to understand how the ubiquity of software tools for culture creation and sharing changes what “culture” is theoretically and practically – in 2007 we established Software Studies Initiative ( Our lab is located at the campus of University of California, San Diego (UCSD) and it housed inside one of the largest IT research centers in the U.S. - California Institute for Telecommunications and Information ( Together with the researchers and students working in our lab, we have been developing a new paradigm for the study, teaching and public presentation of cultural artifacts, dynamics, and flows. We call this paradigm Cultural Analytics.

Article  2009