Data: Data Tidbits 8

Just a few things for you today…
  • Are you reading MathBabe yet? If you’re not, you should be!! (Hat tip to DaveK for pointing me to the link) Cathy O’Neil blogs very regularly about data science and her posts are always fascinating and very accessible. 
  • How the Public Sees Data.  My friend Ruth Kneale writes a lot about how libraries and librarians are perceived by the public, I think we also need to start thinking about when the public sees the word “data” what they are thinking.  Is it that their medical data isn’t safe? Are they thinking about storing their own created data in the cloud? Have they considered that data might not be accessible in our current formats in the future, or that we’ll have to undergo conversion (like VHS to DVD) but this time, we’ll have to try and figure out how to get something from Windows 3.1 to the current MacOS?
  • Chicago Data got another mention by my Alderman.  (As near as I can tell he’s still my alderman, they just redrew the map but I can’t find a visual showing the new lines, only verbal descriptions.  He’s still putting up new campaigning signs on the corner bar so survey says I’m still Ward 1.) This time he pointed to Crime Statistics, which I hesitate to read lest I never wish to leave my home or work building ever again, but it’s certainly a very accessible type of data.
  • Speaking of public use of data or getting the public to see data in relation to themselves, GayData was mentioned recently on Medlib-L. Here, a Dr. Sell from Drexel is pulling together data sources related to a topic: health in the homosexual community.  The site is a little difficult to read but I like the idea–rather than sending people out to hunt for data in the different areas, libraries acan say “here’s the topic, here are the data sources.” We already do this for databases in our research/subject guides, as well evidenced by Springshare’s great success with LibGuides. 
  • I need to set up a calendar of meetings, there are so many that sound FANTASTIC.  See the notes from the Canadian Research Data Summit last fall. (Also, handy other links there to data sets that we might not regularly see)
  • What good is a dataset?  On a larger scale, is there a point to having a data center?  JISC released a report last September on Data Centres: their use, value, and impact.  While this only looks at UK data centers, it provides a nice clear framework for some enterprising body to do a similar comparison in the US. (Has one already been done? If not, somebody working on that or want to work on that? I have three spare minutes on Thursdays between 4:30-8:30 a.m. :p) Hat tip to Eric Lease Morgan.