Jacob J. Walker's Blog

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Archive for November 28th, 2014

Etymology: Surfing

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I have been working on some curriculum to help teach kids about data science, which will also be incorporated as part of the Open Compendium of Countries, and have come up with 4 roles that data scientists work within as they work on knowledge discovery.

The first role is “Data Surfer”, which I’m loosely defining as just exploring data to see what is there, and what might be interesting to look into more deeply.  So I have done some research into the term data surfing, which apparently has also been a synonym for data mining.  And then I also looked into the definition of Surfing, which Merriam-Webster also says is “the activity of looking for information or interesting things on the Internet”.

But, it also says the first known use of the word was in 1926, but a quick Google Books search shows that the Smithsonian actually had this in an ethnology report in 1919, and I found another potential reference in 1911.  I also found earlier uses of the word “surfing”, but it is unclear whether they refer to the act that we now consider surfing (and I didn’t look at them closely to find out)

Written by Jacob Walker

November 28th, 2014 at 9:26 am