University of California, San Diego

University of California, San Diego
Academic Partner

Software Studies Initiative ( at UCSD is the lab developing the new paradigm of Cultural Analytics with we define as “the use of computational and visualization methods for the analysis of massive cultural data sets and flows.”

The term “cultural analytics” was coined by Lev Manovich in 2007. At Software Studies Initiative we are focusing on a particular part of analytics paradigm – using digital image processing and visualization for the analysis of large image and video collections.

Here are some of the questions which drive our work:
– How do we navigate massive visual collections which may contain billions of images?
– How do we research interactive media processes and experiences (evolution of web design, playing a video game, etc.)?
– What new theoretical concepts and models we need to deal with the new scale of born-digital culture?
– How can the use of computational techniques and massive cultural data sets help develop cultural theory for the 21st century?

To address these challenges, we are developing techniques and software and applying them to progressively larger image and video sets. In addition to digital humanities, these techniques can be also used in cinema studies, game studies, media studies, ethnography, exhibition design, and other fields.

To date, we have already successfully applied our techniques to films, animations, video games, comics, magazines, books, and other print publications, artworks, photos, and other media content.

Our past and present collaborators include Getty Research Institute, Library of Congress, Austrian Film Museum, Magnum Photos, Netherlands Institute for Sound and Image and other institutions who are interested in using our methodology with their media collections.

Cultural Analytics research is supported by the Mellon Foundation, National Science Foundation (NSF), the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH), National Energy Research Scientific Computing Center (NERSC), University of California Humanities Research Institute (UCHRI), University of California, San Diego (UCSD), California Institute for Telecommunications and Information Technology (Calit2), and the Singapore Ministry of Education.


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