Tag Archives: data

Coming Soon: Love Your Data Week!

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Love Your Data week is fast approaching on February 13-17, 2017! Please tell us if you plan to participate and we will list your institution’s name on the site so we can continue to grow the community of data lovers.

This year’s theme is emphasizing data quality for researchers at any stage in their career:

Blue heart for Monday Monday: Defining Data Quality
Green heart for Tuesday Tuesday: Documenting, Describing, Defining
Yellow heart for Wednesday Wednesday: Good Data Examples
Orange heart for Thursday Thursday: Finding the Right Data
Red heart for Friday Friday: Rescuing Unloved Data

Visit our website (https://loveyourdata.wordpress.com/) for content, resources, and activities for each day.  And join the conversation on Twitter #LYD17 or #loveyourdata!

  Continue reading Coming Soon: Love Your Data Week!

Infographics: Tips to help you spot the b.s.

Image by dkalo some rights reserved
Image by dkalo some rights reserved

We live in an age of Big: Big Computers, Big Data, and Big Lies.

As information professionals, we need to keep our skills sharp in steering clear of inaccurate data. And, if we are better in honing our skills, we can better help our end users too!

Randy Olson writes: “Faced with an unprecedented torrent of information, data scientists have turned to the visual arts to make sense of big data. The result of this unlikely marriage—often called ‘data visualizations’ or ‘infographics’—has repeatedly provided us with new and insightful perspectives on the world around us. However, time and time again we have seen that data visualizations can easily be manipulated. Here are three easy steps we can follow to save ourselves from getting duped in the data deluge.”…

Get the details  at Infographics lie: Here’s how to spot the b.s.,

Fast Company, Jan. 6

Webcast: Data-Driven Academic Library

Image by Bionic Teaching. Retrieved from Flickr. Used under Creative Commons' licensing.
Image by Bionic Teaching. Retrieved from Flickr. Used under Creative Commons’ licensing.

ProQuest, Springer, Library Journal and ER&L are sponsoring a series of upcoming webcasts. The first in the series addresses how academic libraries use data to make decisions. Identifying best practices to effectively communicate data to various stakeholders.  

This webcast will include presentations from both Sarah Tudesco, Assessment Librarian, Yale University and Bonnie Tijerina, Head of E-Resources and Serials, Harvard Library

What Is a Data-Driven Academic Library?
Wednesday, December 4, 2013
2:00-3:00 PM CT


Here are the links for the next two webcasts in this series:

  • Click here to register for Part 2 of this series: The Evolution of Usage: Analyzing and Benchmarking Use.
  • Click here to register for Part 3 of this series: Measuring Impact: Redefining Scholarly Value Through New Data.

2013: Where Have the Media Specialists Gone?

Some rights reserved by Taber Andrew
Some rights reserved by Taber Andrew

This is the third year I have been pulling the Minnesota Department of Education data and studying the slow decline of school library media specialists in our twelve county region. I have no answers for fixing this problem, but sharing the data is my attempt to engage people in helping me think of solutions. If there is inadequate media specialist staffing in high schools, are students going to be prepared with the skills they need to be successful in college? Will middle schoolers be prepared to do high school work, and when students have no library program at school, are they simply going to the public library for assistance? Are the public libraries funded or staffed to absorb this work on a large scale? Everyone is stretched for resources, so we all need to do our part. So, without further ado, here is data for Aitkin, Benton, Chisago, Isanti, Kanabec, Mille Lacs, Morrison, Pine, Sherburne, Stearns, Todd and Wright counties. Please use the comment field in this post as needed.

  • 53 individual schools (28 percent) in Central MN have no licensed media specialist (compared to 48 last year)
  • 25 schools (47 percent) percent of the 53 schools are middle, secondary or high schools
  • 28 elementary schools have no media specialist, yet we are hell bent on demonstrating reading proficiency by 3rd grade!
  • Fourteen of our school districts have no media specialist in any school in the district at all (compared to nine last year)
  • The great news is that 32 percent of our schools have a full time media specialist. Let’s applaud those school administrators for understanding the value of maintaining a professionally staffed media center.

CMLE will use this data in its advocacy work, in targeting its programming, and in working statewide to bring attention to this growing problem. We all need to think about how we can change this trend so that all students have the benefit of a well-maintained, relevant, and properly staffed school media center.

Paying for “Free” Cloud Services

Like many, I have to admit that I’m often attracted to “free” cloud services, programs, and software. Who wouldn’t want to save money where they can – especially when the service offered seems virtually the same as what others are paying their hard earned money for. Well, like everything in this world, there always seems to be a trade-off, doesn’t there?

The Journal’s 12/4/12 article The Price of Free Cloud Resources, highlights the positives and negatives of free cloud resources. There are so many cloud-based resources that either are entirely free, or are free but offer a less-robust version of a for-fee resource. Either way, free resources are tempting, both to the average user as well as to libraries, media centers, and schools. Who wouldn’t want to save money where they can, especially now, when many budgets are so dramatically reduced? Additionally, many cloud-based resources are cutting-edge, new, exciting, and flexible! It’s hard not to be attracted and drawn to that.

But with free, comes a catch… For cloud-based resources the catch or the “payment” for the service is often privacy and personal data. According to Jim Siegl, Chair of the Consortium of School Networking, “Data is the most common (yet invisible) fee extracted from users by companies that make search engines, e-mail, and other cloud computing resources accessible to schools.” As schools (or individuals) enter into agreements with a cloud-based resource, they may be required to sign and agree to a contract. It is crucial that the person reading and signing that contract understands the language and the agreement they’re entering into — and what it means to their school and their students (or patrons in the case of a library). However, because cloud computing is fairly new, Siegl believes that federal regulations are about twelve years behind in responding to cloud computing and related privacy concerns. privacy2So what are schools and individuals to do? Read! And read carefully! Understand what you’re reading, ask questions if need be. Research it! (This could be a natural fit for librarians….). In schools and at libraries, individuals responsible for technology services need to carefully analyze the agreements they’re entering into. Additionally, technology specialists (or those that sign the agreements) should consider providing opportunities to inform other parties at their school or library about the privacy issues, and about the data that is being collected. For students, it’s important to remind them that what they do on the internet is not private. And that everything they do leaves a digital footprint, and can be tracked back to them.

Additionally, it’s important to know that even some for-fee resources gather data… Again, contracts must be carefully reviewed and privacy should always be of utmost concern. There will always be trade-offs, but we have to be certain the trade-off is truly worth it, and that the cloud-based service meets our basic privacy requirements (whatever they may be depending upon your library, your school, or your personal wishes).

Interested in reading more on this important topic? Checkout the following links to get started…

Cyber Security for the Digital District from the Consortium for School Networking: Tools and Resources

Privacy Technical Assistance Center: Frequently Asked Questions – Cloud Computing

Scholastic Article: Demystifying Cloud