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Asking Questions of Data

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If the information I need is locked in a dataset, and requires some sort of database query to construct that information from the dataset, who do I turn to for help in accessing it? The library? And …

If the information I need is locked in a dataset, and requires some sort of database query to construct that information from the dataset, who do I turn to for help in accessing it? The library? And if not the library, who?


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  • 1. Asking questions of data: from simple search to advanced queries Tony Hirst Computing and Communications Dept, The Open University, UK blog.ouseful.info / @psychemedia
  • 2. Time was when…
  • 3. Search and replace
  • 4. Advanced search and replace
  • 5. Regular expressions
  • 6. How do we discover or recover information from data?
  • 7. A medical librarian is probably not a expert on zoonotic H5H1 influenza infections…
  • 8. How do we cope with new discovery regimes and environments?
  • 9. “DIY Dreamcatcher”, via flickr user: barbroandersen
  • 10. “DIY Dreamcatcher”, via flickr user: barbroandersen
  • 11. Friends of my friends who are librarians
  • 12. People who live in Bath and like the Future of Libraries
  • 13. When the databases really are databases..?
  • 14. USERS QUERY INFORMATION
  • 15. DATA USERS QUERIES INFORMATION
  • 16. An example – questions around local elections
  • 17. Which wards in my local council area were not contested by Conservative affiliated candidates?
  • 18. Can I get a list of all the candidates?
  • 19. Can I get a list of people standing in wards in Newport who live out of ward?
  • 20. SELECT * FROM candidates WHERE ward LIKE 'Newport%' AND address NOT LIKE '%Newport%'
  • 21. How many candidates did each party field?
  • 22. SELECT desc AS Party, COUNT(desc) AS Number FROM candidates GROUP BY Party ORDER BY Number DESC
  • 23. Which wards were not contested by Conservative affiliated candidates?
  • 24. SELECT DISTINCT ward from Candidates WHERE ward NOT IN (SELECT DISTINCT ward FROM Candidates WHERE desc LIKE '%Conservative%’)
  • 25. Which candidates were signatories in to other proposals?
  • 26. Time is now…
  • 27. @psychemedia blog.ouseful.info