Friday, June 15, 2012

Let's Hear it for Little Data!

With the advent of "Big Data" we now have new categories for data.  Before, it was just an amorphous term for bits and bytes of information that lived on our PCs or maybe thumb drives or CDs.  Big Data is an emerging term used to describe (or explain) the data explosion that has occurred with the proliferation of social media and the massive amounts of revenue that an analysis and understanding of data sources, traffic, markets, and trends can provide. It also explains the need to be able to aggregate, get access to, and then retrieve a broad, unorganized and unsecured amount of information generated by millions of users of the Internet daily.

To average consumers Big Data may seem unimportant, except to the extent that it may contain their identity or details of their Internet activity specifically.  Summary and trend data is obviously less personal or risky.

But this post isn't really about Big Data, aggregation, or marketing.  Its about Little Data.

What's Little Data?

It used to be the Word document (or other file) - that copy of my resume that I kept on the hard drive of my PC.  Then it became the exact same file that I then kept on an external hard drive attached to my PC for backup.  Or it was the CD (now DVD) onto which I burned another copy of that resume - maybe even updated and modified by me to make it more current.  Or it was a thumb drive that I kept in my pocket to transport between home and office.  Today that file lives in many places.  It may or may not have changed over time, but I've had to protect it from loss, theft, corruption, destruction, and the ravages of time so that I can get it when I need it.  It also now can live in the "Cloud" within some unseen storage system to which I have been given access.  It moves between my PC or mobile device to cloud storage over the Internet and comes back to me when I retrieve it.  Still, though, there may be multiple copies of my same, exact data in multiple places, or a variety of iterations with different date stamps.

Little Data are those personal pieces of digital information, pictures, documents, songs, videos that are mine and need to be saved somewhere for some future purpose.  They are like the shoe boxes or storage bins filled with old love letters and memorabilia that we tuck away in closets, on shelves, or in the attic or basement.  The difference is that they are digital items, ones that have either originated on the computer or else that have been scanned or digitized from hard copy.

The term Little Data seems fitting because we don't want some or all of it to be shared with others.  We just want to archive it, but make certain it is safe for posterity.  And if we are at or near retirement, we want to trust that there's a simple way it can be passed on to our heirs or friends in the event of our passing.

So let's hear it for Little Data!

And if you're interested see my February 15 post as well

Stay Tuned for more potential products and service information that will help you with your Little Data!
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