Endangered Data Week, April 17-21

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Today is the start of the first-ever Endangered Data Week!

The goal of the week is to increase visibility for at-risk public datasets – either from deletion, repression, or loss.

The website for Endangered Data Week has some background information as to why this issue is coming to prominence now:

Political events in the United States have shed new light on the fragility of publicly administered data. In just the first few weeks of the Trump administration and 115th Congress, the Environmental Protection Agency was allegedly ordered to remove climate change information from its website, the USDA removed animal welfare data from its website, and the House passed H.Res.5, specifically excluding changes to the Affordable Care Act from mandatory long-term cost data analysis. The Senate and House of Representatives have both received proposed bills (S.103 and H.R.482) prohibiting funding from being used “to design, build, maintain, utilize, or provide access to a Federal database of geospatial information on community racial disparities or disparities in access to affordable housing.” While researchers, archivists, librarians, and watchdog groups work hard to create and preserve open data, there’s little guarantee that information under federal control will always survive changes to federal agencies.

Endangered Data Week is building on two other noteworthy data rescue programs that have sprung up in the last few months: Data Refuge (focusing on climate data) and ICPSR’s DataLumos (focusing on social science data). 

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Check out the Endangered Data Week website for more information about how to get involved.

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Upcoming Zotero and EndNote Troubleshooting Workshops

Having trouble with your citation management in EndNote or Zotero? Join us for one of our 30 minute drop-in workshops.

All workshops will be in Library L17.

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EndNote Troubleshooting

Friday 4/14/17 3:00-3:30
Tuesday 4/18/17 4:00-4:30

 

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Zotero Troubleshooting

Wednesday 4/12/17 4:30-5:00
Friday 4/21/17 11:00-11:30

 

We can help with: downloading, populating a library, back-up, sharing, creating collections, making standalone bibliography, cite while you write, footnotes, adding page numbers, etc.

Questions? Ask A Librarian!

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Common Data Quandaries: Finding Data

Finding data for your research project can be difficult. You may not be sure the data exist or where to start looking. Further complicating matters, interfaces for retrieving data vary greatly. Ask yourself the following two questions to get your search started on the right foot:

1. Are you looking for Data or Statistics?

statabstIt is easy to get the two terms confused. Statistics are an interpretation or summary of data. They are the result of analysis and usually come in the form of a table or chart. Examples of statistics can be found in the Statistical Abstract of the United States.

Data is the raw information from which statistics can be created. Data usually comes in datasets which are machine-readable files that can be analyzed in programs like Excel, Stata, and R. To get a deeper understanding of phenomenon, you need to analyze data.

2. Who may have created the data or statistic that you seek?

Instead of thinking about the data itself, think about the source. Possibilities include:

The Government. Governments collection all sorts of data on populations, health, business, and many other topics. Department and agency websites often have a data section. Data.gov is the portal to the federal government’s open data. 

Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs). NGOs often collection data in line with their mission. NGOs can be helpful when looking for local and international data.

Private companies. Business often gather and package data for sale. The library can help with the process of purchasing proprietary data when necessary.

Other researchers. Sharing data is becoming increasingly common among researchers who share their data in data repositories. Re3data is a searchable catalog of data repositories.

These are just two questions to get you started, but there are many more brainstorming questions to help with a data search. Need help? Email me to set up an appointment.

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Tales + tips from the (data) trenches

Welcome to the third week of spring term, where schedules start feeling familiar and you may be looking ahead toward spring break, rather than over your shoulder at the last snowstorm.

This semester, the Data@Reed team will bring you a series of posts on commonly-encountered data quandaries, frequent requests that cross our desks, and good things to know as you move forward in your own data work — be that for a methods course, seminar, or your thesis.

Watch this space or follow us on Twitter for updates; questions, feel free to ping the team at data /at/ reed \dot\ edu. 

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Statista Database Trial

Starting today, the library has a two week trial of StatistaStatista logo, a statistics portal for market data, consumer survey results, and industry trends.

Try searching the database and let us know your feedback. Are the included data sources useful? Do you find the user interface easy to use? Send your thoughts to isaakd@reed.edu.

Note: The database is not available off campus.

 

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Looking for Historical Data

Index Numbers of Union Wages, Living Costs, and Salaries of Portland Teachers. http://rdc.reed.edu/i/8822dfcb-ffd5-4d25-9da5-bb348df8370b

Index Numbers of Union Wages, Living Costs, and Salaries of Portland Teachers. From Women’s Wages, Compared With Living Costs and General Community Standards, 1914-1932

When looking for relatively recent statistics, there are a number of databases that members of the Reed Community can access such as American FactFinder (1990 – present) and Proquest Statistical Abstract of the United States (1929 – present). Coverage of some of our newer databases go back even further in time like Data-Planet Statistical Datasets (1850 – present) and Social Explorer (1790 – present).

There is another place to look for historical data besides databases – inside historical documents themselves! Archives have been digitizing their collections for many years now and this is making new sources of data available online. For a local example, check out theses three reports from the Reed College Archives. The first two were written in whole or part by math professor Jessie Short.

Cost of Living Survey, Portland, Oregon
In 1924, the price of coffee in Portland was $0.35 per pound.

Women’s Wages, Compared With Living Costs and General Community Standards, 1914-1932
For the time period of the study, living costs in Portland peaked in 1919.

A study of unemployment in Portland, Oregon during the winter of 1913-1914
On January 18, 1914, Thomas Clark of Portland had a temperature of 103.2 degrees.

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Data analysis using Stata

Join me this morning for an hour-long introduction to using Stata. You’ll find slides, notes, data, a do file, and additional challenge exercises here (Reed login required). You can work your way through the do file to get a sense of some basics (the slides mirror this file), and/or attack the bonus problems if you would like to flex your Stata skills a bit on your own. Feel free to contact me with questions, or get in touch to chat one-on-one about your stats needs. Continue reading

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Mapping for everyone [Paideia workshop]

Join me in ETC 205 for a workshop on maps and mapping. Below find some tutorials / exercises and data for your perusal. Feel free to contact me with questions.

Social explorer : instructions | website

Adding x/y data in ArcGIS : instructions | data

Buffering in ArcGIS : instructions | data

 

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Data-related Paideia offerings

UPDATED with schedule adjustments for weather delays

The 2017 Paideia schedule is out; here we’ve highlighted a handful of data-related offerings including sessions on mapping, data visualization, and digital humanities as well as working with Stata, R, and multimedia materials.
Continue reading

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An Easy Way to Determine Federal Funder Data Requirements

Since 2013, more and more federal agencies have begun requiring data management plans (DMPs) with research funding proposals. Each funder has slightly different requirements for what should be included in the DMP and how the data created during the research project should be shared.  Continue reading

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