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plackie@carleton.edu's blog

“You can’t have a democratic society, without having a good data base.”

Janet L. Norwood, former US Bureau of Labor Statistics commissioner, dies

On the passing of this iconic defender of the neutrality of public data, I am struck how important Janet Norwood was to establishing a sound path for data advocacy as well as reminded of how necessary it is to have continuous education about this topic.  In fact, swimming in ready-access to data as we are today, it's especially important that we, as data professionals, remain alert to and defend a couple of aphorisms:

  • Stay true to the facts; Zealously retain non-partisan associations in the recording of all public data, analyses and reporting.
  • Use it for GOOD -- never for EVIL”  Encourage the use of public data for the public good.

 In reviewing the memorials to Janet Norwood, a couple of succinct statments seem apt (in addition to the heading of this post).

Simply put, all U.S. policy makers, businesses and families can make better decisions every day because of Janet Norwood’s work at B.L.S. ~Erica L. Groshen, the bureau’s current commissioner

“I believe strongly,” said economist Janet L. Nowood, “that an objective, scientifically created system of data is essential for a democracy to flourish.” ~ Democracy’s Statistician: Janet L. Norwood, 1923-2015 By Social Science Space.

~Paula Lackie (Carleton College & cochair of the IASSIST Professional Development Committee)

New Latin American Open Data site!

Miguel Paz writes:

Poderomedia Foundation and PinLatam are launching OpenDataLatinoamerica.org, a regional data repository to free data and use it on Hackathons and other activities by HacksHackers chapters and other organizations.

We are doing this because the road to the future of news has been littered with lost datasets. A day or so after every hackathon and meeting where a group has come together to analyze, compare and understand a particular set of data, someone tries to remember where the successful files were stored. Too often, no one is certain. Therefore with Mariano Blejman we realized that we need a central repository where you can share the data that you have proved to be reliable: OpenData Latinoamerica, which we are leading as ICFJ Knight International Journalism Fellows.

If you work in Latin America or Central America your organization can take part in OpenDataLatinoamerica.org. To apply, go to the website and answer a simple form agreeing to meet the standard criteria for open data. Once the application is approved, you will receive an account to start running and managing open data, becoming part of the community.

- Friday posting -

One of the highlights of the after hours hanging out during IASSIST conferences is getting to play some pool and make geeky data jokes you don't have to explain to anyone.  

For you pool-playing enthusiasts, I share this YouTube of a potential future IASSIST conference goer .. (note, none of us can play anywhere near the level of this 5 yr old.) 

Happy Weekend everyone! 

Data Visualization tools & greater emphasis on teaching to be incorporated into R-Studio!

Reposted from the RStudio Blog:

Welcome Hadley, Winston, and Garrett!

RStudio’s mission from the beginning has been to create powerful tools that support the practices and techniques required for creating trustworthy, high quality analysis. For many years Hadley Wickham has been teaching and working on his own set of tools for R with many of the same core goals. We’ve been collaborating quite a bit with Hadley over the past couple of years and today we’re excited to announce that Hadley, Winston Chang, and Garrett Grolemund are joining RStudio so we can continue to work together much more closely.

You probably know Hadley from his work on ggplot2plyr, and many other packages. Garrett was a PhD student of Hadley’s at Rice, and you might also know him from the lubridate package, which makes dealing with dates and time easier; he’s also been working on new tools for visualisation and new ways of thinking about the process of data analysis. Winston has been working full-time on ggplot2 for the last couple of months, squashing many bugs and repaying a lot of the technical debt that’s accumulated over the years. Winston’s also writing an R Graphics Cookbook for O’Reilly that should be available in the near future.

What does this mean for RStudio? We’ll of course continue developing open-source software like the RStudio IDE, ggplot2, and plyr (among many other projects). One of Hadley’s core focuses at RStudio will also be expanding our mission to include education, which we plan to offer in a variety of formats ranging from in-person training to some innovative new online courses. We’ll also be working on hosted services (like RPubs) as well as some new products that address the challenges of deploying R within larger organizations.

We’re all excited to begin this next phase of work together and will have lots more details to announce later this fall!

Knight Foundation Data Challenge (FYI)

The Knight Foundation announced a data-related grant opportunity in a kind of "tweet your grant proposal" format.   The call has closed but over 800 of the applications are viewable through Tumblr.   

In a simple search of the applications with the words "data professionals" returned 148 results.  Of these, some of the more related are: 

  1. My submission:  A passion for data, and the professionals who keep it alive
  2. A proposal for a dating service for data professionals :} DATABLE | Data based dating
  3. MetaLayer Turns Anyone into a Data Scientist

Have a look and see if there might be someone or some group out there you could be in collaboration with! 

Stephen S. Clark Library for Maps, Government Information, and Data Services is open for business!

Three cheers for Jen Green!!! 

When not keeping IASSIST finances in check as the IASSIST Treasurer, Jennifer Green, director of the new Stephen S. Clark Library for Maps, Government Information, and Data Services, at the University of Michigan has been busy getting the library in shape for the recent opening day! 

Check out the announcement of the grand opening festivities in the Record Update (a publication of the Office of the Vice President for Communications at the University of Michigan) and don't miss the brand new website of the Setphen S. Clark Library

Green says the new library’s unique combination of collections, government information expertise, and data services will provide scholars and researchers with unprecedented opportunities for exploration, discovery, and collaboration.

“Before the Clark, there was a large degree of interaction among these three units,” Green says. “Our new proximity, in a purposefully designed and equipped space, means that we can more effectively collaborate with each other, which in turn really enhances our ability to creatively collaborate with students, faculty, and researchers.”

From the Record Update

  • IASSIST Quarterly

    Publications Special issue: A pioneer data librarian
    Welcome to the special volume of the IASSIST Quarterly (IQ (37):1-4, 2013). This special issue started as exchange of ideas between Libbie Stephenson and Margaret Adams to collect

    more...

  • Resources

    Resources

    A space for IASSIST members to share professional resources useful to them in their daily work. Also the IASSIST Jobs Repository for an archive of data-related position descriptions. more...

  • community

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    Find out what IASSISTers are doing in the field and explore other avenues of presentation, communication and discussion via social networking and related online social spaces. more...