Hello everyone!  It’s been a while.  Blog posts are like college essays for me (they’re never “done”), so you’ll have to bear with me while I try to bang this one out before the day gets too terribly late.

On Monday, I gave a presentation at Notre Dame on the role of the academic library in supporting social sciences research.  I put my slides on SlideShare and I’ll put them here, as well, with a little more detail.  I warn you, someone whose presentations I admire told me it’d be a good idea if my slides were *very* incomplete without my narration (thanks, aaron! your post was just in time), but the slides do contain references and other links. 

View SlideShare presentation or Upload your own. (tags: data librarianship)

You can also download the .ppt from the SlideShare page.

Basically, data is huge.  Visualization as a tool for understanding the data we’re surrounded by has really exploded in the past few years.  There are a bunch of web services that will let you upload data sets and visualize them.  More and more researchers (undergrads, grad students, professors) are going to aim for the insight that visualization can bring.  

The library has a role in fulfilling these data needs — help with data services shouldn’t be holed up in one institute or department that researchers aren’t sure if they can or should use.  The library is for everyone, is funded for everyone, and is a place where everyone in the campus community can go to get help with their research.   This is also an excellent opportunity for libraries to advocate for the use of social sciences data — to spark interest in data, data analysis, and the beauty of visualization to an academic population that is already increasingly immersed in data themselves.

I’ll end with these links and a plea for you to let me know what you come up with if you start using any of these visualization services to manipulate your data!


data visualization services

mycrocosm: “a web service that allows you to share snippets of information from the minutae of daily life.”

data360: “Data360 is a non-profit, non-partisan organization helping people and organizations clarify issues that are of importance to them. Issues can be local, regional, national or international… business, economics, sports, arts, social or environmental… personal, group or organizational.”

swivel: data visualization, data set sharing, exploration.

manyeyes: IBM project “for shared visualization and discovery.”

the new york times visualization lab: data from NYT, visualization fueled by manyeyes

data blogs & sites

dataspora: “the evolving economics of data” by Michael E. Driscoll and Jason R. Morton.

flowingdata: “strength in numbers.”

datawrangling: “machine learning, data mining, and more” by Peter Skomoroch. 

junk charts: a very entertaining look at what happens when good data goes bad.

IASSIST communique: “IASSIST is an international organization of professionals working in and with information technology and data services to support research and teaching in the social sciences.”


other tools: what is data, where to find it

readwriteweb.com – Where to Find Open Data on the Web (a ton of useful links)

Peter Skomoroch’s dataset bookmarks @ delicious – that’s what social bookmarking is all about, right?

infochimps.org: “free redistributable rich data sets.”

datamob.org: “public data put to good use.”

numbrary: “Numbrary is a free online service dedicated to finding, using and sharing numbers on the web.”

ICPSR: “Established in 1962, ICPSR is the world’s largest archive of digital social science data. We acquire, preserve, and distribute original research data and provide training in its analysis. We also offer access to publicationsbased on our data holdings.”

ICPSR’s Online Learning Center: “ICPSR’s Online Learning Center (OLC) supports quantitative literacy in the social sciences by providing an effective and reliable means of bringing secondary data into the classroom.”

Social Explorer: maps and reports on census data, but not a whole lot of interactivity.

Library Trends 30 (3) Winter 1982: Data Libraries for the Social Sciences: 1982! A collection of articles based about social sciences data + libraries. From 1982.

What is Social Science Data? @ UCLA

Written by Michelle Hudson

Michelle Hudson is a science & social science data librarian at Yale University's Center for Science and Social Science Information.