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Love Your Data Week, Day 4: DataLumos

The theme for Day 4 of “Love Your Data Week” is “Finding the Right Data”. There’s a lot of open national health data out there– Data.gov’s health portal, and the “Data and Tools” tab on the main page of the National Center for Health Statistics are good sources (also this list of open access data repositories has a good section on medicine).

But, any open data on the internet can be vulnerable if there isn’t a commitment to preserve it or if organizational priorities change, and government data are no exception. Enter DataLumos! This service, launched (not coincidentally) during “Love Your Data Week”, aims to preserve government data by archiving it into the future. The data will be gathered and maintained by ICPSR, the respected data center at the University of Michigan. Want to hear more? There’s a webinar about it tomorrow! You can register here.

Also, check out the wider work of DataRefuge and Data Rescue projects springing up across the United States (in fact, the University of Washington is hosting a Data Rescue event next weekend). We may not know yet why a data set could be important to preserve for the future, but careful and committed archiving at least will give future data scientists and seekers the option to use it.

And, it’s also no coincidence that the creators of the archive are using the term Lumos; it is the spell, in the Harry Potter series by J.K. Rowling, that turns a wand into a flashlight. The idea is that they are working to keep data sets well-lit by keeping them open.  In future, there will be these and many other open data sets to choose from, to advance research and data science!

 

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