Documenting the context in which data are collected is an integral part of the scientific research lifecycle. In field-based research, contextual information provides a detailed description of scientific practices and thus enables data interpretation and reuse. For field data, losing contextual information often means losing the data altogether. Yet, documenting the context of distributed, collaborative, field-based research can be a significant challenge due to the unpredictable nature of real-world settings and to the high degree of variability in data collection methods and scientific practices of different researchers. In this article, we propose the use of microblogging as a mechanism to support collection, ingestion, and publication of contextual information about the variegated digital artifacts that are produced in field research. We perform interviews with scholars involved in field-based environmental and urban sensing research, to determine the extent of adoption of Twitter and similar microblogging platforms and their potential use for field-specific research applications. Based on the results of these interviews as well as participant observation of field activities, we present the design, development, and pilot evaluation of a microblogging application integrated with an existing data collection platform on a handheld device. We investigate whether microblogging accommodates the variable and unpredictable nature of highly mobile research and whether it represents a suitable mechanism to document the context of field research data early in the scientific information lifecycle.
This article introduces a methodological framework to compare online patterns of music usage, detected from dedicated online music services, with offline patterns of music performance, evinced from set lists of live concert sets. The presented comparative method is employed to explore the relationship between live concert and personal listening behavior of the Grateful Dead, an American band born out of the 1960s San Francisco, California psychedelic movement, that played music together from 1965 to 1995. Despite relatively little popular radio airtime, the Grateful Dead enjoyed a cult-like following from a fan base that numbered in the millions and, ten years after dissolution, its music is still heavily listened to on online music services, such as last.fm. This article presents a comparative analysis between 1,590 of the Grateful Dead's live concert set lists from 1972 to 1995 and 2,616,990 Grateful Dead listening events by last.fm users from August 2005 to October 2007. While there is a strong correlation between how songs were played in concert and how they were listened to by last.fm members, the outlying songs in this trend identify interesting aspects of the band and their fans 10 years after the band's dissolution.