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What about Swivel?

Presenter 1
Amy West
University of Minnesota

An unintended consequence of using social sciences data, especially from government sources, is that users end up devoting a significant amount of time to dealing with the mechanics of data cleanup that could (in theory) be otherwise spent thinking about the content and meaning of the data instead. Often that time is further devoted to learning a great deal about a single piece of proprietary software that may or may not continue to be available over time. Swivel appears to be a tool that resolves this problem by simplifying data visualization. It uses non-proprietary data formats as its input and automatically turns out a range of graphical displays for any table uploaded. But does this really help with the issue of misplaced effort by users? Even if it does, how might it be integrated into a data services program in an academic institution? I will be discussing my efforts to develop a more user-friendly version of the Consumer Expenditure Survey data via Swivel and where/how I think Swivel and similar tools might fit into a data services program.

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