Love Data Week: Data is for Everyone

By: Dr. Nick Ruhs

INTRODUCTION

It’s once again time for Love Data Week!  LDW is a yearly, international outreach event taking place the week of Valentine’s Day (February 14-18 this year). The week is focused on promoting good data stewardship and best practices around working with and interpreting data. LDW was started in 2015 and is currently celebrated by academic libraries and data organizations around the world. While every institution celebrates in their own way, common activities include data workshops, social media outreach, and more! 

Each year, a theme is chosen around which organizations can theme their Love Data Week activities. For 2022, the theme is “Data is for everyone.” This year, we are shining a light on the “people-side” of data, and on how different folks use and interact with data. Data often means something different to everyone, and how someone interacts with data varies based on their chosen discipline, research project, life experiences, and their own beliefs and values. There are also often inherent biases that exist in data collection, analysis, and interpretation, which can affect one’s own impression of a dataset. Despite these differences, the ability to critically evaluate data and interact with it is a universal skill that is crucial for everyone. 

One poignant example of data that applies to and is for everyone is government data. Data collected by federal, state, and local governments contains information that applies to all aspects of our lives. FSU Libraries has a rich collection of resources and experts available to help you navigate these data collections. In the next section, we would like to highlight government data resources available through FSU Libraries. 

SPOTLIGHT: GOVERNMENT DATA RESOURCES AT FSU LIBRARIES

Guest Author: Mohamed Berry, Social Sciences Librarian, Coordinator for Government Information

As a federally mandated depository library, FSU Libraries commits to providing free equitable access to print and electronic publications distributed by the Government Publishing Office. Our collections come in different formats, including data from key federal statistical agencies like the Bureau of Economic Analysis (BEA), the Bureau of Justice Statistics (BJS), the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the National Center for Health Statistics, the National Center for Education Statistics, the National Center for Science and Engineering Statistics, and the Bureau of the Census.

The United States Open, Public, Electronic, and Necessary (OPEN) Data Act, which is Title II of the Foundations for Evidence-Based Policymaking Act of 2018 (PL 115-435; 132 Stat. 5529), requires the United States Government to make public data available in open machine-readable formats, while ensuring the privacy and security of the dataset. To this end, FSU collects and provides access to electronic datasets from the U.S. Government in support of FSU’s curriculum, and the needs of the Tallahassee community.

Some aggregated sources where you can look for U.S. Government data are: www.data.census.gov, www.data.gov, and the Interuniversity Consortium for Political and Social Research (ICPSR). Also visit the ICPSR thematic data collections in education, aging, criminal justice, substance abuse, terrorism, etc. We encourage our patrons to use and apply the data in our collection, and reach out to the Government Information unit in Strozier when you need assistance. In the meantime, know more about the U.S. Census and available specialty data by visiting the U.S. Census Tools page. You can also visit the FSU Libraries U.S. Census Research Guide to know more about the Census and how you can use their data in your research.

ACTIVITIES FOR LOVE DATA WEEK @ FSU LIBRARIES

FSU Libraries is once again celebrating Love Data Week with a variety of activities and opportunities for the community to become involved and engaged with data. We are kicking things off with a special blog mini-series, intended to highlight the theme of Love Data Week. This post is the first one in that series, with two more coming on Wednesday (16th) and Friday (18th) of this week. These posts, which will be written by the FSU STEM Libraries Data Fellows, will each feature one of the fellows describing their experiences with data and how the fellowship has shaped their current thoughts on data. 

On Tuesday @ 3:00 pm, we will be holding a workshop titled “Correlation does not equal causality: An Introduction to Data Literacy.” This workshop is a great opportunity to learn how to critically evaluate and make conclusions about the data you interact with, no matter your discipline or area of study! After that, join us on Wednesday from 10am-12pm as we do a LDW takeover of the FSU Libraries Twitter and Instagram, wherein we will share fun facts and tips about data. There will be ample opportunity for the community to engage and ask questions of data experts at the Libraries! 

Finally, we will be doing a special Love Data Week drawing for our Level Up Data Services! survey. This survey is a great way to provide feedback on our research data services and let us know if there are any services you are interested in seeing! Any student who completes the survey by Friday, February 18 at 12 pm will be entered into a drawing to win limited edition FSU Libraries swag, including water bottles, fanny packs, and possibly more! The survey should only take about 2-4 minutes to complete. 

CONTACT US
If you have any questions about Love Data Week at FSU Libraries, please reach out to Dr. Nick Ruhs (nruhs@fsu.edu). If you are interested in research data services at FSU Libraries, check out the RDS web page for more information:  https://www.lib.fsu.edu/service/research-data-services

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