Rescuing Federal Data

ICPSR has a new portal that allows the public to upload valuable government resources for preservation and dissemination – DATA LUMOS. These government files are snapshots of the data as it existed on the day it was harvested. Obviously, a live version is preferable, but if data disappear from government websites, the last known version is preferable to nothing. And, via crowd sourcing, this harvesting effort can be shared among many.

DATA LUMOS focuses on preserving federal social science data, interpreted broadly. Pollution data from the EPA would be relevant as would be daily temperature data from NASA. The main decision point is whether users of these data would think to search for it at ICPSR.

DATA LUMOS Announcement
ICPSR Webinar on DATA LUMOS

This is not the only “save the data” organization. A few weeks earlier there was an Ann Arbor Data Rescue event, part of a national Data Refuge project and the Internet Archive’s End of Term Presidential Harvest:

Library participates in effort to preserve government data
Lynne Raughley | University Record (University of Michigan)
February 1, 2017

Here are two other similar events:

Saving Data: Preservation during Political Turmoil
Andrew Battista | Data Dispatch (NYU Data Services)
January 26, 2017

Rogue Scientists Race to Save Climate Data from Trump
Zoe Schlanger | Wired
January 19, 2017

More background on some of the larger collaborations driving this:

DataRefuge Project

DataRefuge is also an initiative committed to identifying, assessing, prioritizing, securing, and distributing reliable copies of federal climate and environmental data so that it remains available to researchers. Data collected as part of the #DataRefuge initiative will be stored in multiple, trusted locations to help ensure continued accessibility

End of Term Presidential Harvest 2016

This is a collaborative effort between the U.S. Government Publishing Office (GPO), the Library of Congress, the California Digital Library, the University of North Texas Libraries, Internet Archive, George Washington University Libraries, and Stanford University Libraries to harvest and preserve public U.S. Government websites at the conclusion of the current Presidential administration ending on January 20, 2017.

Note that this web harvest was done at the conclusion of other administrations, e.g., 2008 and 2012.

More on the “End of Term Presidential Harvest”
Harvesting Government History, One Web Page at a Time
Jim Dwyer | New York Times
December 1, 2016

Large portions of dot-gov have no mandate to be taken care of,” said Mark Phillips, a library dean at the University of North Texas, referring to government websites. “Nobody is really responsible for doing this.

Enter the End of Term Presidential Harvest 2016 — a volunteer, collaborative effort by a small group of university, government and nonprofit libraries to find and save valuable pages now on federal websites. The project began before the 2008 elections, when George W. Bush was serving his second term, and returned in 2012.

And, a few more interesting notes:

The EPA Just Posted a Mirror Website of the One Trump Plans to Censor
Matt Novak | Gizmodo.com
February 16, 2017

tweet

And, the Twitter poster above, is a one-man operation that rescues knowledge from the internet:

The Memory Hole

For instance, here are links to recently deleted items posted on the site:

The Education Department’s Deleted IDEA Website
The disappeared website about public education for disabled children still exists….

NASA’s Internal Counterintelligence Newsletter
Twenty-five issues of NASA’s newsletter about information security, terrorism, and spies.

Trump Deletions
A collection of online material deleted by Donald Trump, his campaign, and his transition team.

W.E.B. DuBois and the Hand-Drawn Infographic

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[Link to W.E.B. DuBois infographics at the Library of Congress]
In preparation for an exhibition at the Paris World’s Fair, W.E.B. DuBois commissioned hand-drawn infographics that illuminated how black Americans lived in the 1900s – mostly illustrating the great progress of this population since the end of slavery. In addition to the overview of the life of blacks in the United States, there was a special focus on “The Georgia Negro.” At the time, Georgia had the largest black population among all the states. These infographics were drawn by his students at Atlanta University – now Clark Atlanta University. He wanted his students to combat racism with empirical data.

Link to infographics: Library of Congress
Note that the metadata for each image gives details such as ink and watercolor, size (710 x 560 mm), and material (board).

Hand-drawn infographics commissioned by W.E.B. Du Bois illuminate how black Americans lived in the 1900s
Anne Quito | Quartz
February 10, 2017

W.E.B. Du Bois Was A Master Of The Hand-Drawn Infographic
Meg Miller | Fastcodesign.com
February 9, 2017

Muzzling Federal Scientists

Breaking news: scientists in selected federal agencies have been told to no longer update their websites with reports, factsheets, etc. Here’s a summary of the memo that the Environmental Protection Agency got:

The memo said there would be no press releases, social media posts or blog messages until further notice. It also asked for a list of external speaking engagements for staff and any planned webinars. It warned that listservs would be reviewed and that staff should “only send out critical messages, as messages can be shared broadly and end up in the press.”

Federal Workers Told To Halt External Communication In First Week Under Trump
Sam Stein | Huffington Post
January 24, 2017

Trump bans EPA employees from giving social media updates
Mallory Shellbourne | The Hill
January 24, 2017

Trump Administration Moves to Muzzle Scientists, Block Research
Union of Concerned Scientists | http://www.ucsusa.org/
January 24, 2017

USDA science researchers ordered to stop publishing news releases, other documents
Jose DelReal | Washington Post
January 24, 2017

Information lockdown hits Trump’s federal agencies
Andrew Restuccia, Alex Guillen and Nancy Cook | Politico
January 24, 2017

[Additional News]

Note, that this happened under the Harper government in Canada [summary]. And Canadian scientists warned US scientists of this possibility a month ago:

Canadian Scientists Warn U.S. Colleagues: Act Now to Protect Science under Trump
Dina Fine Maron | Scientific American
December 20, 2016

Quiz: Indicators of Child Well-Being, United States

Indicators of Child Well-Being

Federal Policy for Protection of Human Subjects

A final update to the regulations that govern Human Subjects research that have been in place since 1991 was released today. The original notice to update/change the Common Rule was proposed in Fall 2015 with an opportunity for reactions to it. And, plenty of folks made comments about some of the proposed revisions and at least some of these were dropped. The Science article below briefly discusses the controversial consent proposal, while the Bill of Health Blog gives a quick overview of what stays the same and what has changed. The Bill of Health blog also discusses some implementation issues, e.g., could the 115th Congress reject this, etc.

Update: U.S. abandons controversial consent proposal on using human research samples
Jocelyn Kaiser | Science
January 18, 2017

Final Common Rule Revisions Just Published
Holly Fernandez Lynch | Bill of Health Blog
January 18, 2017

Final rule enhances protections for research participants, modernizes oversight system
Press Release | Health and Human Services
January 18, 2017

Federal Policy for the Protection of Human Subjects
Document Number 2017-01058 | Federal Register
January 17, 2017

This rule is effective on January 19, 2018. The compliance date for this rule, except for Sec. __.114(b) (cooperative research), is January 19, 2018. The compliance date for Sec. __.114(b) (cooperative research) is January 20, 2020.

RAPID Research Community Alert
Dr. S. Jack Hu | Institutional Office for Human Subjects Research [University of Michigan]
January 30, 2017

Selected comments to the original proposed Common Rule
Researchers decry consent proposal
Jocelyn Kaiser | Science
May 20, 2016

Health ABC data available through NIA website

NIA’s Health, Aging and Body Composition (Health ABC) Study is now available on NIA’s website for qualified researchers.

The Health, Aging and Body Composition (Health ABC) Study began in 1997 and collected data for 17 years on a cohort of older black and white adults living in Memphis and Pittsburgh. Participants were aged 70-79 at baseline…

…[It] is an interdisciplinary study focused on risk factors for functional decline in healthy older people. With a particular focus on change in body composition with age, the study was designed to address differences in onset of functional limitation, disability, and longevity between older men and women, as well as between blacks and whites.

Read more on the Inside NIA blog.

Mapping gun violence

The Guardian has some interesting maps showing where gun violence is concentrated, by city and neighborhood.

Even within those cities, violence is further concentrated in the tiny neighborhood areas that saw two or more gun homicide incidents in a single year.

Four and a half million Americans live in areas of these cities with the highest numbers of gun homicide, which are marked by intense poverty, low levels of education, and racial segregation. Geographically, these neighborhood areas are small: a total of about 1,200 neighborhood census tracts, which, laid side by side, would fit into an area just 42 miles wide by 42 miles long.

H/T Flowing Data

New Orleans Bail System

The Vera Institute of Justice released a report finding that New Orleans collected $4.5 million in the form of bail, fines and fees, another $4.7 million was paid to for-profit bail bond agents and in 2015, the city spent $6.4 million to jail those who could not afford the bail, fines and fees.

Last week the New Orleans city council voted unanimously to end bail requirements for most nonviolent city crimes. However, it won’t do much to reduce the portion of the jail population who could not afford bail, fees and fines (about 550 people) because most of them have been charged with felonies and excluded misdemeanors or state crimes.

H/T FiveThirtyEight

History of Human Development in 5 Charts

Our World In Data put together 5 charts which show how global living conditions have changed over the last two centuries. The topics include poverty, literacy, health, freedom, fertility, and education.

H/T Urban Demographics

Quiz: Television Popularity

Television Popularity