Ensuring access to government information

Interested in efforts to ensure access to gov info? Concerned about future access to our nation’s information heritage?

Check out the special issue pre-prints from Against the Grain from the issue that Shari Laster and I edited. The issue covers a wide range of topics, including the Data Refuge initiative, the End of Term Presidential ArchiveEnd of Term Presidential Archive, the PEGI Project and much more! We even have Canada!

Big thanks to Shari for agreeing to edit with me and to all the authors for being great colleagues!

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Valentine to @ICPSR #lovedata18 #ldw18

In honor of Love Data Week, here’s a shout out to one of my favorite data archives/resources.

Many social scientists are familiar with ICPSR, the Inter-university Consortium for Political and Social Research, but faculty may not always keep up with the new goodies at the archive. Since I became a data librarian in 2007, ICPSR has expanded its resources widely to include a wealth of training materials. Along with its Summer Program in Quantitative Methods of Social Research, ICPSR also has a variety of modules for teaching and learning about data, data concepts, social science concepts, and more. My favorite tool is the Social Science Variables Database that allows users to search for variables in the major data studies, about 76% of ICPSR’s holdings. In addition to isolating data studies with specific, required variables, the tool allows users to examine the questions being asked across data studies. ICPSR has much more in its expansive offerings, especially for members of its consortium. Definitely worth a look and some love!

My favorite data organization @iassistdata #lovedata18 #alamw18

In honor of Love Data Week I am going to do a series of posts on my favorite data resources/tools. I am a data connector, meaning my primary job is to connect people with the data they need. Because of the proliferation of tools and resources, it can be difficult to choose and find great sources. I also often work with newer data users, so I have to figure out ways to lower barriers to using data of all kinds. I can’t do it alone so I rely on a network of professionals to help me learn about new tools and think up lesson plans.

Many professional organizations out there support data librarians and other data professionals. I wish I could be involved with all of them, but only so much time in the day and bucks in my bank account. My favorite data organization is undoubtedly IASSIST, one of the first international data organizations. This group has been around since the 1970s and brings together data professionals of all types, from metadata specialists to programmers to librarians. Although its traditional focus is social sciences, IASSIST has branched out lately and its annual conference includes sessions on GIS, qualitative data, and much more. The conference this year is in Montreal, and we are joining forces with the Association of Canadian Map Libraries and Archives. Conference registration will open up soon, so I encourage you to consider attending if you love data!

In telling our data stories (one of the themes of #lovedata18), I always remember that I am not navigating my data work alone and that I can draw upon the knowledge of my colleagues. IASSIST provides a forum for immediate assistance through its listserv and a long term network that connects me with colleagues from Australia to Nigeria, from the Federal Reserve banks to tiny colleges in the frozen Midwest. It is definitely a data resource worth considering!

ALA Council Day 1 #alamw18 #alacouncil

My first day on Council was awesome! The proceedings went by quickly, which is unusual apparently. We had a few items of interest, however, and much more will be discussed today at Council II.

  • We approved a new ALA award for mid-career professionals called the Lois Ann Gregory-Wood Fellows Program. The award is named after Lois Ann, the ALA Council Secretariat and honors her 50 years of service at ALA. The awards will provide funding for mid-career professionals who want to be involved in ALA governance, but who do not have institutional funding. More information is forthcoming on applying and donating! I will post information as I have it.
  • The Librarian of Congress Carla Hayden was approved to be given honorary ALA membership. We were all happy about that one!
  • The ALA Membership Committee brought forward a resolution to adjust dues with the CPI. The resolution passed and will go before the membership on the spring 2018 ballot. Another good reason to VOTE this spring!
  • The ALA Executive Director Mary W. Ghikas gave figures for the Midwinter conference attendance. As of February 10, registration was 7,894, a decrease from 8,892 last year. This is certainly an ongoing issue for Midwinter, and an issue that we will discuss at Council II today!

If you have questions or concerns for ALA, please feel free to contact me! I hope to represent NC’s interests as fully as possible, but I’d love to do that with feedback from NC librarians.

How much do I love data? #lovedata18

Let me count the ways … Today kicks off Love Data Week, a campaign to raise awareness about the variety of issues and topics related to research data. This year the week’s themes revolve around telling our stories about, with, and connected to data of all types.

Because I am primarily a data connector (I connect people to data) rather than a collector (although I’ll show you my dataset of petitions anytime!), I’ll use the week to celebrate my favorite data resources, people, and tools. Data (of all kinds) are the heart of research and undergird the outputs that everyone needs, from scholarly articles to the demographic stats we use to target our patrons. We rely on the proper collection, protection, preservation, and archiving of data to help us understand the world around us.

Tell your data stories too through the Love Data blog or use the hashtag #lovedata18 on Instagram or Twitter. I’d love to see your favorite data visualization, tools, resources and more. Let’s celebrate!

All promotional Love Data 2018 materials used under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.

Citation: Nurnberger, A., Coates, H. L., Condon, P., Koshoffer, A. E., Doty, J., Zilinski, L., … Foster, E. D. (2017). Love Data Week [image files]. Retrieved from https://osf.io/r8tht

Get ready to support federal funding for libraries! #fundlibraries

Coming soon to a Congress near you …

We are mired in the current year budget process still, but soon the President will release the budget proposal for FY 2019. As such, the ALA Washington Office is preparing its campaign in case we see an attempt to cut federal library funding. While the campaign is still in the early stages and the FY 2019 proposal has not been received, the ALA Washington Office held a conference call today for state chapter councilors and leaders on the general timeline and provided a few resources. The shutdown has pushed back the cycle, but the budget should be coming in the next couple of weeks. In March, ALA will send out its Dear Appropriator letters to representatives and Senators and the long process of outreach will begin. You can do the following in the meantime:

  • Sign up for ala.org/takeaction.
  • Check out the #fundlibraries website.
  • Start the process of inviting your representatives/senators to visit your library and show off your resources and services.
  • Start collecting stories that demonstrate impact of library services based on concrete examples in your state. The #fundlibraries website  will have a form for submitting stories, but go ahead and beginning gathering them now.
  • Once the budget proposal is released and the campaign begins, you can contact you reps. The #fundlibraries website. will have real time information on whether they have signed the Dear Appropriator letters (example below). Please hold off on this step until the budget has been released and the campaign has begun.

The ALA Washington Office will give regular updates, especially once the budget proposal is available, but we can/should start the legwork to get ready!

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