I’m Famous! Well, for people who read the Michigan Daily

You can view here on the Michigan Daily site: The 21st Century Library: Books may gather dust in the stacks, but librarians are busier than ever

It is always nice to know, when one is in graduate school, that people outside the bubble are wondering about the same things that you are wondering about. I think that’s one of the great parts about this Michigan Daily article. It’s good to know that people outside of the library community are thinking about the issues which affect the 21st century library. More importantly, it’s good to see that people are seeing the use of librarians in this new library, in whatever form that takes. So despite the usual errors and typos that exist in student journalism, I think this is a very well-researched article. Plus I’m quoted on the last page, who can hate that!

Data Source: The CIA World FactBook

There are few things which I learned in high school that I still use regularly, and one of them is CIA World Factbook is a public service which the CIA maintains. It contain basic information on all the countries that the United States currently recognizes. This information spans a broad networks of things a person may want to know: from population and geography to number of internet users to number of paved roads and ports. For someone who is looking for basic market information on a small country, The World Factbook is a great place to start (though since the information is very basic, it may not be a good place to end).In terms of downloading the information, all of the CIA World Factbook is in the public domain and can be used without permission. However, the current options of the side only allow you to export the information into an HTML document (by clicking print) and I don’t see any easy way to export the information into a CSV or Excel file.

My newest favorite part of the site is the “Guide to Country Comparisons” where you can compare all the countries of the world one of 63 fields, for example, by population growth rate or by number of cell phones. I especially like this because it allows you really get an idea of what the number mean to other countries.

Interesting side note: previous editions of the World Factbook (going back to 2000) are available for download on the CIA website. You can do it here: https://www.cia.gov/library/publications/download/ For people looking for download the information, there options for the download of the current version, there is options there as well. A great resource from the United State government.

Data Source: City of Ann Arbor

One of my favorite sources of data is the city of Ann Arbor.  The City of Ann Arbor Data Catalog holds many useful data sources for both GIS and numeric data. Many of files are downloadable in SHP and KML files for easy GIS use. There are also PDFs and Excel documents of other datasets. Two of my favorite datasets in this group are the Purchase Card transactions back to 2009 (which leads to all sorts of questions and interesting little vinettes of information about a municipality spends money) as well as the Ann Arbor Tree Survey, which is a GIS map of every tree owned by the city of Ann Arbor. The arbor, as it were, of Ann Arbor.

Visualization: Google Public Data Explorer


One of the great things about being a librarian in the 21st century is that there are some many great tools out there for people to use. Google Public Data Explorer is a fun little gadget that examines public data from around the world in a simple line graph. Some of the data they use includes the World Bank Public Indicators, the United States Census counts, the minimum wage in Europe, infectious disease data, etc.

My current favorite is actually the Google Flu Estimates. If you haven’t heard anything about these, these are estimates which Google makes based on user searches in different geographies. They are rumored to be quite accurate, but I’m still a little skeptical since the geographies are so big and access to internet is so varied.

It is however, very fun to compare the states. I’ve included imbed graph of the last year for Georgia, Florida, Ohio and Michigan’s Google Flu Estimates. It’s fun to cheer at the fact Michigan is narrowing beating Ohio currently in less flu.

First Post!

This is my first post on my brand new website! Welcome!

I first started creating this site about a month ago when I started to think about a job hunt. For some reason, it seemed like a good idea to NOT use my drupal class and try out WordPress instead. The difference are not tantamount but since I am learned lots of about Drupal right now in class, it would have seemed like the more logical conclusion.

I thought of starting a blog because I love to write and share. I’m hoping to start sharing data sites on this blog. So expect some posts!