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Data management in Media Studies

Data management in Media Studies

Media scientists usually work with audio visual sources, texts, or (un)structured data. Data can be derived from existing collections. The research currently taking place in the Netherlands and the data that is collected for these projects can be found on NARCIS.

While you can collect data yourself, the access to source materials such as online audio, newspapers, or social media content is usually copyright protected and the materials can be located in several storage places.

The data will usually be studied from different perspectives. The context in which the data are produced, disseminated, and observed is critical for research into the construction, dissemination, and reception of specific social or cultural phenomenon, see for example CREATE.

Managing Digital Data

With Research Data Management (RDM) you ensure that your data remains locatable, accessible, and understandable during your research, as well as after your research has been completed. Furthermore, you provide documentation on, for example, how the data was collated, adjusted, enriched, or in any way edited, so that it can be used for network, topic, or prediction analyses.  You also justify the presentation tools, such as Gephi, because your research will not always result in a book or article; it could result in a 3D reconstruction or a database such as Cinema Context.

A well executed RDM allows for means of examining the work and enhances the research’s integrity, and impact. The FGw has its own Research Data Management Protocol. Furthermore, the Research school for Media Studies offers a manual specifically for MA students, i.e., Academic Integrity in Media Studies.

Data Management Plan

A prominent part of managing research data is the Data Management Plan (DMP). The DMP names all aspects of data management for conducting and finishing research. Other institutions apart from the UvA, such as the KNAW, NOW, and ERC, set their own requirements for managing data and offer their own DMP.

You cannot immediately record all that happens in a research project. This is especially the case when several people are involved in collecting and editing data because it involves frequently making new agreements.

Planning: data management plan


Metadata are an important element in RDM. They are indispensable when describing and or enriching data and data files, and when researching different source materials together. Of course one is free in their choice of metadata. It is preferred however, when possible, to use standards within the field, such as GIS coordinates.

Due to the specific nature of audio visual material there are additional measures in place to search through them on a larger scale. These measures involve matching the material to a description of the content and some of its contextual details (metadata, subtitle file), and on the other hand it involves using new technology such as speech recognition in order to automatically generate a transcript or image recognition.


If everything goes smoothly you might just be in need of storage capacity. Since September 2017 all UvA and AUAS researchers have access to UvA/AUAS figshare where you can securely save your DPM, your schedule, the data and the edited data, the used tools, and the accompanying documents. Each faculty has appointed a data steward to help you with UvA/AUAS figshare.

More information about UvA/AUAS figshare

Naturally you are also free to use other storage capacities. There are several UvA communities, such as the Amsterdam Centre for the Study of the Golden Age, that have their own storage capacities, and SURF offers storage on their SURFdrive.


Upon completing your research you can archive your data (files), or a representative selection thereof. Doing so has its advantages: the data can be made available for future research, teaching purposes, and peer review. Sealed datasets can be archived in DANS Easy, the most important data archive in the Netherlands for the Humanities. Other data archives, such as Fine Arts, Music, Theatre and Media Studies, can be found via Archiving.


If you have any further questions please contact dhr. drs. M. G. (Martien) Versteeg, the information specialist for Media Studies.

drs. M.G. (Martien) Versteeg

Information specialist Media Studies