Recently, I saw a request for reviewers for CILIP for Facilitating Access to the Web of Data: a Guide for Librarians by David Stuart. I’m not a part of CILIP, so I can’t be the reviewer (I assume, if I’m wrong, someone please let me know!), but I tweeted interest in the book and the publisher was kind enough to send me the first chapter and let me know that they should have an American published copy soon.
Stuart provides a very readable introduction to open data, walking introductorily through open science (and how it’s not just a comparison between open and closed), open access and the various levels, moving into e-science and e-humanities, and open source/open notebook science –using software to provide a quickly understandable comparison between proprietary and open source (e.g. MS Office vs. Open Office). He’s quick to point out the big players: governments, academia, and the commercial sector–pointing to times where commercial entities have been able to use data and crowdsourcing to their advantage and how APIs help them reach broader audiences, but also pointing out how scandal from improperly scrubbed data quickly arises. He spends three pages looking at government data (one of the biggest sources) and identifies some of the data portals governments have provided and reminds us that these data sets are likely to have local interest. Finally he touches on types of data libraries collect and how we may be able to allow users to wrangle it for the applications they’re already using.
What I like thus far is that he is very much aware of his audience and is constantly tying it back to how libraries can be a part of it, what their role might be, where we can help. He identifies how resource heavy professional curation of data and digital resources can be–which may be a role, as well as encouraging “the opening up of academic research data through freedom of information requests.” (9)
Also, he likes to start sentences with “Whilst”
I’m looking forward to getting to read a full copy of the book soon.