Källkritiken och data

För 20 år sedan uppmanade Tim Berners-Lee oss att lägga upp våra dokument och skapa länkar mellan dem. Han mekade ihop ett protokoll för att det skulle satte upp regler som lade grunden för utvecklingen av world wide web. Det var nog svårt att förutse vilken makalös resa vi haft sedan dess.  Vid en TED-föreläsning 2009 uppmanar Tim Berners-Lee oss att lägga upp vår data och skapa möjlighet att länka till den.

Det är en hissnande tanke att han än en gång skulle pricka rätt och det är svårt att idag förutse vilka effekter det kommer att få. Samtidigt är det detta vi nu börjar se tecken på. Det bubblar om öppen data. Jag vill påstå att internetutvecklingen har inneburit en helt ny källsituation och utmaningarna för källkritiken har varit stora.

Det är hög tid att börja fundera runt vad en stor mängd data och sammankopplat data innebär för källkritiken. Vilka metoder måste vi utveckla för att källkritisk kunna möta de alster som möjliggörs av stora mängder sammankopplad data?

Vissa yrkesgrupper kommer att av nöd behöva vara skickligare än oss vanliga nätanvändare. En sådan grupp är journalistiker. När en myndighet presenterar tillgänglighet till sina data behövs dessa ifrågasättas. Varför tillgängliggörs de? Vad tillgängliggörs inte? Vilken är datakvalitén? Vilken data tillgängliggörs inte? När marknaden tillgängliggörs data – vilka bakomliggande syften finns då? osv osv.

Men var skulle då en skillnad ligga? Källa som källa?!! Jag tänker mig att om vi till fullo lyckas släppa begreppet dokument (vilket ligger i sakens natur) och snarare ser på tillvaron som flöden behöver vi resonera om de traditionella synsätten inom källkritiken. Källkritiken har sitt ursprung i historieforskningen och historien är som bekant allt som skett fram till nuet. Källkritiken är en metod i historikerns (och i dag allas) arbete att förstå det som varit. Källan står alltså i relation till dåtid. Dokumentet (i bred bemärkelse) är mycket central inom källkritiken. Om vi omfamnar flödessynsättet på data och information ligger det en utmaning för källkritiken som i än mer utsträckning blir en metod för att förstå nuet.

Har ni förresten sett Andreas Krohns ambition att skapa en katalog över svenska APIer? Målet beskrivs som att göra svenska APIer lätta att hitta och att det i sin tur ska få fler utvecklare att börja använda APIer för att skapa nya tjänster. Ett projekt väl värt att följa och hjälpa till med.

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