While my training included a stint as a stream ecology technician, most of my work looks backward, to how previous generations imagined and shaped the world around them. But at NC State, I lead an oral history initiative with scientists, regulators and critics of genetic engineering in agriculture. I use a crowdsourced archive of Manhattan menus to trace consumer preference for local food. And I work with the Rob Dunn lab on the sourdough project. These community efforts at creating and analyzing new data are exciting and inspiring ways to think not just about our own time, but to rethink the past experience of living in the world.