Data Refuge Updates: almost 3 months

It's the day after Valentine's Day, and we still Love Our Data (be sure to check out IUPUI Librarian Heather Coates's cool project too)! The Data Refuge project is now nearly three months old. Here's some updates from the Refuge team:

Why did we open a Data Refuge?

We made a video (with all the babies) explaining why we launched Data Refuge and how it augments the work of our friends at the Internet Archive. In it, Librarian Kim Eke offers a 30-second history from print to digital and explains that the existing federal depository system was created for printed materials. (This system "pushes" materials out to designated depository libraries.) For all the stuff born digital, we've got some catching up to do. 

Building a Libraries Network to support and expand Data Refuge 

Data Refuge is also hard at work to put our bucket brigade strategies developed with our friends at EDGI (Environmental Data Governance Initiative) on a more sustainable footing. To do this, we turned to partners at big research libraries. With the help of the Association of Research Libraries, we're organizing a meeting in early May to envision a Libraries Network: a consortium which can--systematically, comprehensively, and on an-ongoing basis--"pull" digital resources from adopted agencies. This idea builds on decades of research by librarians, including James Jacobs, Jim Jacobs, and others. (Check out their work on Free Government Information.) This is a fast-moving train, and if you'd like to hop aboard, please let us know.

Phase 1 of the Libraries Network project is up and running, and we hope you and/or your library will get involved. The nascent Libraries Network website (with evidence of our addiction to white boarding) points you to places where you can learn more about "How libraries can help rescue data." 

Widening our Storytelling Path

From the beginning of the Data Refuge project,  we encourage Data Resuce events to nclude a Storytellers path. It's crucial to remember: while the work of rescuing this data is technical, the reasons we do it are for health, of humans and of the many species who share the planet. Lots of environmental data are used to make decisions in everyday lives. So if you care about environmental health, it's important to document how and why you use data. That's why we're developing a robust Storytellers' Toolkit to include Portraits of Data Rescuers, Field Notes, and Three Stories in Our Town. We'll be talking more about the "Three Stories" project on Saturday at DataRescueDC, hosted by Georgetown and Johns Hopkins Libraries, and with our friend from New America, Denice Ross. Data Rescue event attendees--from Philly, Indy, LA, NYC, SFB, et al--who've taken the Storytellers path have stayed in touch; together we're working toward Phase II. And we're also looking to tell the stories of librarians who have hosted or attended DataRescue events! What does this work means to you? Write to us @ if you're willing to share your perspective on a new blog for libraries network.

Data Rescue Events Coming Up!

Thanks to the brilliant Brendan O'Brien, we've been able to move chunks of our workflow to  an app that walks event participants through the workflow of creating trustworthy copies of these data. 

The app comes just in time, too. There are five DataRescue events happening this very weekend: in Durham, New Hampshire at UNH, in DC at Georgetown and co-sponsored by Hopkins, in Boston at MIT, in Boulder at CU, and here in the greater Philly area at Haverford College! It's a perfect weekend to show the love and wrap up Love Your Data Week. Come out and Rescue some Unloved Data! See you soon.