April 2013

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I just came across some intensive data science training programs.  It is all part of the Data Deluge and I am sure universities are going to go big on this topic in the next 5 years, especially with the ubiquitous talk every time I turn around about big data.  I am also sure there will soon be a boom of Master of Data Administration (MDA) programs along with the usual MBA – MPA like programs with big fees.  IBM defines data scientists here and of course there is a Wikipedia definition. In the US a constellation of data science courses are emerging. The universe in Canada however seems a little slim and trim!  NSERC has the Discovery Frontiers Grants in Genomics, there is a new research chair position Canada Excellence Research Chair in Data Science for Real-Time Decision-Making and there are a couple of dots in Canada on this Data Scientist Meetup Map while UBC hosts a Data Science Portal.  Below is a list of what I found in terms of curricula without much digging.

  1. University of Chicago Data Science for Social Good
  2. Silicon Valley INSIGHT Data Science Fellows Program
  3. University of Washington Introduction to Data Science
  4. University of Illinois Data Sciences Summer Institute (DSSI)
  5. Columbia University Introduction to Data Science
  6. Berkeley Introduction to Data Science (Great Resources here!)
  7. Syracuse University Data Science program in the ISchool and Open Introduction to Data Science,
  8. New York University Data Science related courses
  9. EMC Data Science and Big Data Analytics
  10. Tetherless World Constellation (TWC) Data Science Courses

This NY Times article reports many more: Data Science: The Numbers of Our Lives as does this Computer World article  Colleges Incorporate Data Science Into Curriculum. Wired looks at The Modern Data Nerd Isn’t as Nerdy as You Think and Of course O’Reilly media back in 2011 released this report What is Data Science and an article written in 2010 What is Data Science.  The supply of data scientists seems to be low while the demand is high according to Computer World and IT World Canada. Interesting times ahead.


  1. CODATA Data Science Journal
  2. Columbia University Journal of Data Science

Open data is happening on one side of government while access to data and information is getting either reduced or locked down in other parts.  This story about muzzling archivists was released some weeks ago.

An anecdote.  Yesterday I went to see the movie NO, about the marketing campaign for the NO side of the plebiscite against the Chilean Pinochet dictatorship. The movie was terrible, the sentiment excellent, and the timing with the ongoing trials, probably no accident.  As my son and my visiting friend were lamenting the quality of the film, I explained the politics of it to them, but also, why it is so important to have an impartial and protected national archive that allows for access to all the footage, news clips and story boards that were shown in the film.  I explained what was going on with our archive, and, they got the picture. They began to rethink how they understood the role of the archive.

Will our archives, librarians and archivists be able to answer the following questions in the future?

I mean honestly? What first world democratic country does that?

Below are links to material that librarians and archivists sent my way in confidence.

This presentation contains the Code of Conduct statements Library and Archives (LAC) Archivists must now follow.

  1. Calgary Herald: ABCs of ‘behaviour regulation’ for federal librarians and archivists
  2. CBC Podcast: of the Library Code of Conduct on As It Happens
  3. BoingBoing blog post: Canadian government muzzles librarians and archivists, creates snitch line to report those who speak online or in public without permission
  4. British Columbia Library Association Response.
  5. Save Library and Archives Campaign

The Open Data Exchange (ODX13) was a really great day. Below are my slides and related URLS.  The main point was to discuss how we take the learning by doing that has been ongoing in the open data field and now begin to integrate long standing and well established open access to data thinking such standards, governance, collaboration and cross-domain.  Also, how to approach ad-hoc open data initiatives and move them toward an interoperable and standards based way of doing things, much like how geospatial data infrastructures have been developed.  In addition, to think about data management, their life-cycle and preservation for future generations.

Slide 1:
Geospatial Data Infrastructures s are the institutions, policies, technologies, processes and standards and framework data that direct the who, how, what and why geospatial data are collected, stored, manipulated, analyzed, transformed and shared, MULTIDIMENSIONAL, INTERSECTORAL, CROSS-DOMAIN, INTERDEPARTMENTAL, REQUIRING NATIONAL CONSENSUS BUILDING.

  • Global Spatial Data Infrastructure (GSDI) Association – http://www.gsdi.org/
  • GSDI Cookbook – http://www.gsdidocs.org/GSDIWiki/index.php/Main_Page

Slide 2:
Canadian Geospatial Data Infrastructure (CGDI): http://geoconnections.nrcan.gc.ca/home

Slide 3:
Global Earth Observation System of Systems (GEOSS) – http://www.earthobservations.org/geoss.shtml

Slide 4:
Global Map International Steering Committee for Global Mapping Specifications: http://www.iscgm.org/cgi-bin/fswiki/wiki.cgi?page=Documentation

Slide 5 :
Agenda 21 Rio 1992 Chapter on Information for Decision Making – http://www.unep.org/Documents.Multilingual/Default.asp?documentid=52

Slide 6:

  • IPY Data Management Policy: http://www.api-ipy.gc.ca/pg_IPYAPI_055-eng.html
  • Canadian Polar Data Network: http://polardatanetwork.ca/
  • Polar Data Catalogue: http://polardata.ca/
  • Datacite Canada: http://cisti-icist.nrc-cnrc.gc.ca/eng/services/cisti/datacite-canada/index.html

Slide 7:
Thinking about the lifecycle of data:

  • Digital Curation Centre: http://www.dcc.ac.uk/resources/curation-lifecycle-model and http://www.dcc.ac.uk/sites/default/files/documents/publications/DCCLifecycle.pdf

Many great public submissions were made today in Québec City on the reforms to access to information laws.

The following are a few posted by members of the Civicaccess.ca list:

  1. Fédération professionnelle des journalistes du Québec Soumission
  2. Open North, submission can be listened to at the audio-visual link below
  3. Quebec Ouvert, Soumission
  4. Centre for Law and Democracy  – Canada: Serious Problem in Québec Openess Law
  5. Canadian Internet Public Policy Clinic (CIPPIC) – Technologies et vie privée à l’heure des choix de société / Privacy & the Right to Information in a Rapidly Evolving Technological Landscape

You can also listen to their audio/visual recordings of the consultations and their submissions given in the Assemblée nationale du Québec.

This is a great example of how civil society is engaged in the direction of public policy and law.