The University of Michigan Library (UM) has launched Deep Blue Data, an open repository for sharing and archiving large datasets generated by UM researchers. Soft launched in February and officially announced in September, Deep Blue Data complements the university’s long-running institutional repository, Deep Blue, and is part of a suite of research data services that the library has been developing for UM faculty and students.
A new pilot study by DePaul University scholars in collaboration with the Chicago Public Library (CPL), has received one of 18 National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) Digital Humanities Start-Up Grant awards. Reading Chicago Reading: Modeling Texts and Readers in a Public Library System plans to use data from One Book, One Chicago (OBOC), CPL’s robust 15-year-old community reading program—including circulation statistics, social media data, neighborhood demographics, and textual data—to analyze reading patterns for OBOC books and develop a predictive modeling tool to help drive CPL’s collection development and future OBOC choices.
A new report published March 29, “Core Customer Intelligence: Public Library Reach, Relevance, and Resilience,” brings together market segmentation from ten public library systems across the United States to explore how libraries can examine and act on granular data about their core customers—the 20 percent of cardholders who check out the most physical materials. Using 2014 customer and checkout data to group top library users by lifestyles, interests, preferences, and behaviors, the study drills down into community demographics to reveal that core customers aren’t found in any one segment of the population but occur across all lines, reflecting the diversity of their communities.
On May 9, President Obama signed an open data executive order and released an open data policy. Only a couple of weeks later, on May 22, Data.gov responded by launching a new data catalog on an open source data management system called CKAN, which, the site says, will enable the central implementation of the Open Data Policy, as it will harvest the data inventories that federal agencies will be creating under the directive. LJ caught up with members of the library and data-driven research communities to see what this may mean for their missions.
I recently attended a local “hackfest” sponsored by the government of the county in which I reside. This “App Challenge” was one of a series of events encouraging citizens to invent new ways to use the considerable open data resources of the county, and to make those available to others. The meeting was held at the local high school, and to my surprise, over sixty people turned out, many from the far corners of the county. The group was notably diverse. There was one contingent, however, which was not in evidence: librarians.
Academic librarians are exploring new roles in big data, and how they can emerge as campus leaders in helping faculty to acquire, store, retrieve, analyze, and preserve it. Big data is being used in interesting ways, but let’s avoid become victims of “solutionism.”
OverDrive is in the initial stage of rolling out more robust data and reporting tools that company officials say will allow libraries to improve their services.