Maybe you’re on Twitter one day and search ‘#Statistics’ to look up some information for your Introductory Statistics course. Before you know it, you scroll through and see several tweets that are also marked with ‘#BigData’, and you’re left with more questions than you had when you started your search. Maybe you try to search for “big data” on Google, see the definition from Oxford, and are then left with even more questions:
How large is “extremely large?”
What kind of patterns, trends, and interactions are we talking about?
What isn’t big data?
Big data as a term has become synonymous with the growth of digital data and the glut of information available to researchers and the public. Furthermore, there is a growing interest by both the public and private sector in utilizing large datasets to provide insight into market trends and to improve decision making. However, the exact definition of big data is sometimes unclear and can vary widely depending on who you ask. Businesses, nonprofit organizations, government agencies, and academic researchers each view big data in a different context and with different goals for its use. (University of Wisconsin Data Science, n.d.)
Above: a Google Trends graph that shows the number of searches for the term “Big Data” from 2007 to 2017
In this blog post, we aim to provide clarity and insight into the origins and definitions of big data. We will also discuss the potential benefits and challenges surrounding big data. In doing so, we will provide some examples linking big data to applications or data that you may interact with on a daily basis.
FSU Libraries participated in the recently published Ithaka S+R report, “What’s the Big Deal? How Researchers Are Navigating Changes to Journal Access.” The article focuses on institutions who have cancelled big deal subscription packages and those who were ready to cancel. For this project, 11 academic libraries were selected to explore faculty research habits, how they obtain research materials, how they view academic publishing models, and how this informs the libraries’ ongoing strategic decision making about Big Deal journal subscriptions.
Valerie Boulos, Associate Dean for Resource Management & Discovery Services, Renaine Julian, director of STEM Libraries, and Scott Schmucker, Electronic Resources Librarian, participated in the project. Julian and Schmucker acted as research partners by interviewing FSU faculty, gathering data, and submitting their findings. Interview questions focused on measuring the impact of these decisions, the exploration of open access models, and how research occurs after cancellation.
The team was pleased to see that the experiences of FSU faculty were well represented in the overall results of the study, which gave insight into the discovery habits, publishing preferences, and appreciation of the library as aspects of faculty research.
To learn more about FSU’s Big Deal cancellation, click here.
Welcome to the third post in the Get Data Lit! blog series. This post will focus on my experience working as a STEM Research Data Services Associate with FSU Libraries during the 2020-2021 school year. In this role, I assisted with outreach and education to FSU students, groups, and organizations at Florida State University around STEM research data services.
My name is Paxton Welton and I will be graduating with a bachelor’s degree in Finance this semester. One question that you might have right from the start-why is a finance major working in a STEM-focused role?
When applying for jobs prior to this academic year, I knew I wanted a role that would challenge me and allow me to develop new skills. I believed that being the Research Data Services Assistant would provide me the appropriate level of challenge and opportunity that I was looking for. By and large, I believe that my experience provided me with just that. There was a major learning curve that I faced when I first started this role. While I had a grasp of the basics of data literacy and research data services, I quickly realized I did not know nearly enough to be able to properly speak to student groups about these topics. During the first few weeks of the fall semester, I spent a significant portion of my time getting a stronger understanding of data and everything FSU STEM Libraries had to offer to its students in regards to research data. By reading countless articles about data literacy and engaging in weekly discussions with my supervisor Dr. Nick Ruhs, the STEM Data & Research Librarian, I became confident in my working knowledge on these topics.
As the STEM Research Data Services Assistant, one of my main responsibilities was conducting targeted outreach to different student organizations across campus. When I first started this process I reached out specifically to STEM-focused groups. This process involved me initiating conversations via email with registered student organizations (RSOs) to introduce them to the research data services FSU Libraries offers them. In several cases, we were invited to meet and/or present synchronously to these groups. This gave us a chance to share more in-depth information about our services and just how valuable they are to students. It also gave students a chance to ask us any questions they may have. Getting the chance to directly interact with students and help them find the right resources to feel more prepared for their future was by far my favorite part of this role.
I also had the opportunity to contribute to data-related events hosted by FSU STEM Libraries. Two examples include Love Data Week in February and the Virtual FSU Libraries Data Services Quest in March. My involvement in these events allowed me to see the entire process of creating programming for students. I was able to sit in on brainstorming meetings, give my input on the marketing materials, and create content for the events.
One of my main focuses throughout this year has been to develop and create this blog series you are reading right now–Get Data Lit! The focus of this blog series was data literacy and its applicability to student’s educational experiences. As such, I had the chance to put into practice the new data literacy skills I learned in this role. I also had the opportunity to connect data literacy to real-world practice and explain the importance of critically evaluating data. Doing so made me realize just how important learning data skills are for my future career and education.
One thing that proved to be a common theme throughout all the work I was doing is that data is powerful and knowing how to work with it is even more powerful. From a career in law to a career in fashion, you are going to be working with data in some form. Learning how to critically evaluate data is going to give you the skills you need to stand out in the future.
By taking on a job in a discipline that I knew very little about, I was able to challenge myself and make the most out of this past year. From getting to work on student programming events to developing a blog series, I was constantly challenged and learning something new.
Think you know what data services are offered through the libraries? Finish the Data Services Quest to find out! Complete the quest and be one of our 3 prize winners! Play for the chance to win a Study Room for Finals Week or a Smoothie King Gift Card!
When?: Play Monday, March 29th – Midnight on Friday, April 2nd to be entered to win one of our 3 prizes!
Are you a patron in need of material that isn’t available at FSU Libraries? If so, their Interlibrary Loan Department has got you covered!
FSU Libraries Interlibrary Loan Department provides the service of giving patrons of the Libraries access to request articles, books and other materials owned by another library or from other outside sources. Through the FSU Libraries Interlibrary Loan services, there are three ways for patrons to get the material they need: using the FSU Catalog, UBorrow, or Interlibrary Loan (ILLiad). FSU Libraries asks for patrons to check the catalog before requesting material from outside sources to see if they have them or not. For a faster delivery of print books from colleges and universities in Florida, patrons can search through UBorrow, an unmediated interlibrary loan service. ILLiad is used to request material from libraries around the world.
Lindsey Eckert, an assistant professor in FSU’s English Department, was able to get access to a copy of Rowden’s A Biographical Sketch of the Most Distinguished Writers of Ancient and Modern Times that she requested from Emory University. Although there were some issues encountered during the process, the endless support of the FSU ILL Department helped her tremendously.
On February 2, 2021, FSU Librarians Liz Dunne, Adam Beauchamp, Rachel Duke, and Lindsey Wharton provided an overview of the online instruction that the Libraries developed before and during the COVID-19 pandemic. The online instruction was presented to the FSU Foundation Board of Trustees to help the members better understand how technology is leveraged by the Libraries to get students engaged in the online learning environment.
Dean of University Libraries Gale Etschmaier started off by mentioning how much FSU Libraries have changed from the past while still being a central center for community at FSU. Even more changes took place in March when FSU Libraries closed their physical spaces as a result of the pandemic. Fortunately, the Libraries were able to provide digital access to materials for the university’s faculty, staff, and students. When FSU Libraries reopened in August, with COVID-19 protocols, fewer students were present in the physical libraries, but a virtual community was still upheld between the Libraries and the students. Online tutoring in chemistry, physics, math, and statistics was offered and subscriptions were made to online books and other educational content that weren’t available beforehand.
The four FSU Librarians who were a part of the given overview took the time to demonstrated the teaching partnerships of FSU Libraries in the online environment that cater to students at the university.
The Alternative Textbook Grant program caters to main FSU campus instructors as it addresses the rising cost of college textbooks. This textbook affordability initiative by FSU Libraries will be awarding grants of $1,000 each over the 2020-21 academic year to instructors who adopt Open Educational Resources (OERs) or library-licensed materials to replace commercial textbooks. These grants support the university’s strategic goals to support overall student success and enhance diversity and inclusion.
Open textbooks go through the process of being written by experts, peer-reviewed and published under flexible copyright licenses for downloading purposes, distributed, and adapted for free. The grants can also be used to purchase eBooks for course textbooks that are purchased as a part of the FSU Libraries collection with unlimited user licenses.
“Data is the sword of the 21st century. Those who wield it, the samurai.”-Jonathan Rosenberg
Data is all around us and we often interact with it in ways we don’t even realize. From using an app to mobile order our coffee to reviewing a chart provided in an article, data surrounds us and has become so intertwined with our lives. However, with the increasing amount of data available at our fingertips, it can be difficult to understand its meaning, accuracy, and relevance to our lives. This is the reason we decided to start this new blog series, Get Data Lit! We realize that data can be difficult to decipher and want to give you the tools to better navigate data you are faced with everyday.
FSU Libraries collaborated with Dr. Lyndsay Jenkins, Madison Woodwall, and her research team to purchase 100 children’s books that focus on childhood bullying experiences. These books show how children are affected by bullying and provides insight into how children’s literature addresses the topic. Many of these books can be found in the Juvenile collection located in the Dirac Science Library. Search the library catalog for the keywords bullying and juvenile and select Dirac Science Library as the location.
Florida State University President John Thrasher and the FSU Libraries will host a Celebration of Newly Tenured Faculty and Showcase of the Library Endowment Book Collection at the President’s House this week. This special initiative serves the dual purpose of honoring the great achievement of earning tenure, while also helping to sustain the University Libraries’ ongoing efforts to develop collections that support teaching, research, and intellectual inquiry.
Every year, members of the new class of tenured faculty hand-pick an item for the libraries to purchase or from the FSU Libraries’ vast collections. These new and current library holdings are then book plated and inscribed with the faculty member’s name and the year. In addition, the faculty members are asked to contribute a brief paragraph explaining why the book they selected is meaningful to them.
Each of the books will be on display at the President’s House during a special reception.