The digital data and methods laboratory, CALDISS (Computational Analytics Laboratory for Digital Social Science), is a shared physical methods laboratory as well as a digital platform for the Faculty of Social Sciences at AAU, where new possibilities with digital data and digital methods are addressed and explored.
The main purposes of the lab is to help everyone associated with the Faculty of Social Sciences at AAU better realize and make use of the potentials that the developments within digital social science has to offer, and to help researchers and students integrate new data or method solutions in their research or in relevant course curriculums. The lab also focuses on cooperation with external partners and will eventually seek to communicate relevant solutions to neighboring companies and organizations.
CALDISS is in 2018 partially funded by The Obel Family Foundation.
CALDISS is in 2019 partially funded by IT-Vest.
The day-to-day activities of CALDISS include:
Regular teaching activities (workshops and lectures) for everyone associated with the Faculty of Social Sciences at AAU
Development of digital tools and utilities for the collection and management of digital data (‘Big Data’)
Creating and gaining access to social science databases
Research collaboration and project work with the faculty’s research environments or with external collaborators
The activities of CALDISS are highly varied. The core principles of the activities are that they are anchored in ongoing research and study activities at the Faculty of Social Sciences at AAU and that they are in accordance with CALDISS’ focus areas.
CALDISS’ focus areas
Creating a data and knowledge center: ”One-stop shop” for available data
CALDISS wants to function as a common datacenter for the Faculty of Social Sciences at AAU. This includes identifying research data that the departments already possess, and making those data more accessible for researchers as well as students.
CALDISS seeks to develop a platform for safe and legal transfer and sharing of data, in which CALDISS will assist in potential anonymization and facilitate GDPR-compliant data collaborations between researchers, researchers and students as well as between researchers and external companies and organizations.
Concurrently CALDISS acts as a knowledge center for available data and how it is accessed. The need for access to new databases is examined regularly.
Keywords: data management, data governance, digitalization, data protection, IT-infrastructure
Advanced data management
As a data and knowledge center, CALDISS will not only help with accessing and using the data but also with the processing and handling of special data-related challenges. Although CALDISS is conceptualized with a focus on the new and the partly unknown within digital data and methodology, CALDISS will also focus on new solutions for known data management issues.
Keywords: data management, data science, data mining, visualization
Collection and processing of digital data
CALDISS investigates the potentials in and develops tools for the harvesting and collection of new data sources. This in particular applies to data that is often referred to as ‘Big Data’ within the social sciences.
CALDISS offer access to especially powerful workstation developed for computational and visualization tasks with large datasets for both students and researchers.
Keywords: digital data, Big Data, web scraping, API, data mining, text mining, data science, visualization, digital methods
Experimenting with new methods
CALDISS’ ambition is to investigate how new digital methods can be used and applied within the social sciences. CALDISS will investigate the usefulness and applicability of these methods within the social sciences while seeking to inform and inspire about using such methods to everyone associated with the Faculty of Social Sciences at AAU through various teaching activities (workshops and lectures).
Keywords: digital methods, computational social science, ‘computational thinking’, data science, visualization
New software and advances use of known software
With new methods come new software. CALDISS will regularly offer workshops in the use of new software solutions like R and Python as well as workshops seeking to up-skill within the use of software that AAU already has acquired licensing for; including STATA, SAS, NVivo and ArcGIS.
The demand for new software and workshops is identified regularly.
Keywords: digitalization, 'computational thinking', data science, computer science, programming, software
The Philosophy of CALDISS
The activities of CALDISS are interdisciplinary and should benefit everyone associated with the Faculty of Social Sciences at AAU as much as possible. You are therefore always welcome to contact CALDISS with suggestions and comments.
CALDISS wishes to promote and facilitate the use of digital data and digital methods as well as encourage interdisciplinary discussions about the possibilities and challenges (practical as well as ethical) that arise with the digitalization of the social sciences.
CALDISS promotes knowledge sharing and collaboration across AAU departments as well as with external organizations and adopts an “open-source” and “open access” philosophy stating that the tools, resources and solutions that CALDISS develops are made available to everyone.
CALDISS hopes to excite about the use of digital methods. We are experimental in our ambition in being curious about what digital methods can offer the social sciences, while being responsible in our actions and always ensuring ethical and responsible processing of data.
Our hope is to become a service that benefits everyone associated with the Faculty of Social Sciences at AAU.