After the launch of n.e.w.s. at ISEA2008 in Singapore I did get attend Lev Manovich's lecture, author of the seminal work, The Language of New Media, (2001) MIT Press, Cambridge Mass, USA, where he pitched his 'cultural analytics' research project, as an ad for data-mining and fancy animations in academia, soon to takeover the world.
Manovich began his lecture by delving into the background of data, terming it a 'data revolution'. As we all realize during the last few years there has been an exponential explosion in the amounts of data, for example in 2011 the digital will be 10 times bigger than in 2006, a 60% growth increase. While people in dozens of areas of science and other fields such as business, banking, retail, etc. are using data-mining and interactive visualization; one area is lagging behind... culture. Manovich is into visualizing the cultural in digital form.