David HerzogMissouri School of Journalism and NICAR
   Locating the data   Obtaining the data   Evaluating the data   Working with the data   Visualizing the data
 “Database state of mind” Data has to exist. Where?  Online  Offline
 Government websites  Data.gov  U.S. Census Bureau  FDIC  Missouri Data Portal  Missouri Accountability Portal
 U.S. agency FOIA pages  Drug Enforcement Administration NGO sites  Right-to-Know Network  OpenMissouri.org  NICAR d...
 Commercial services  Socrata  Infochimps  Geocommons  Foreclosure Radar  Oil Price Information Service  Search Sys...
 Academic data catalogs  ICPSR Forms  Forms.gov  Web forms   ▪ Columbia parade permits
 Records retention schedules Reports  State auditor  U.S. Government Accountability Office  U.S. Inspectors General
 Google advanced search  Look for data files  Look for key words  Look only on government sites
 Data entry   In the field   At the office Printouts/reports Inspection forms
 Download it Write or request a scraper with ScraperWiki Convert a PDF with   CometDocs   Zamzar Just ask for it
 U.S. Freedom of Information Act  Passed in 1966  Amended in 1996 to include electronic records State open-records sta...
 Get the roadmap!  Record layout  File layout  Data dictionary  Code sheet Metadata  Data about the data
 Look at it immediately when you get it  It is what you asked for/expected?  How many rows/records of data?  Is the fi...
 Does it look too good to be true? Beware of missing information Who collected the information? How? What are their me...
 Notepad++ for PCs TextMate for Mac
 Always keep original file Never overwrite data columns Tools   Spreadsheets   Database managers   Google Refine   ...
 Raw numbers, without context, rarely are interesting. Ask: Compared to what?
 Raw (amount) change   New-Original Percent change   Change/Original Per capita rates   Per person   Per x people
 Percent of total   Individual/Total Ratio   Apples/oranges Averages   Mean   Median
 Be curious! Cut out small slices Spreadsheets for simple math and  comparisons Spreadsheets for pivot tables Databas...
 Online software platforms Desktop software
 Contact David Herzog at  herzogd@missouri.edu  Twitter: @davidherzog
A crash course in data for information graphics
A crash course in data for information graphics
A crash course in data for information graphics
A crash course in data for information graphics
A crash course in data for information graphics
A crash course in data for information graphics
A crash course in data for information graphics
A crash course in data for information graphics
A crash course in data for information graphics
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A crash course in data for information graphics

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An overview of using government data for information graphics, from locating the data to visualizing it with Web 2.0 tools and desktop software.

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A crash course in data for information graphics

  1. 1. David HerzogMissouri School of Journalism and NICAR
  2. 2.  Locating the data Obtaining the data Evaluating the data Working with the data Visualizing the data
  3. 3.  “Database state of mind” Data has to exist. Where?  Online  Offline
  4. 4.  Government websites  Data.gov  U.S. Census Bureau  FDIC  Missouri Data Portal  Missouri Accountability Portal
  5. 5.  U.S. agency FOIA pages  Drug Enforcement Administration NGO sites  Right-to-Know Network  OpenMissouri.org  NICAR database library  ALA state agency databases wiki
  6. 6.  Commercial services  Socrata  Infochimps  Geocommons  Foreclosure Radar  Oil Price Information Service  Search Systems  Junar
  7. 7.  Academic data catalogs  ICPSR Forms  Forms.gov  Web forms ▪ Columbia parade permits
  8. 8.  Records retention schedules Reports  State auditor  U.S. Government Accountability Office  U.S. Inspectors General
  9. 9.  Google advanced search  Look for data files  Look for key words  Look only on government sites
  10. 10.  Data entry  In the field  At the office Printouts/reports Inspection forms
  11. 11.  Download it Write or request a scraper with ScraperWiki Convert a PDF with  CometDocs  Zamzar Just ask for it
  12. 12.  U.S. Freedom of Information Act  Passed in 1966  Amended in 1996 to include electronic records State open-records statutes  Missouri Sunshine Law
  13. 13.  Get the roadmap!  Record layout  File layout  Data dictionary  Code sheet Metadata  Data about the data
  14. 14.  Look at it immediately when you get it  It is what you asked for/expected?  How many rows/records of data?  Is the file format OK?
  15. 15.  Does it look too good to be true? Beware of missing information Who collected the information? How? What are their methods? Why? What is their agenda? Who supports them financially or otherwise?
  16. 16.  Notepad++ for PCs TextMate for Mac
  17. 17.  Always keep original file Never overwrite data columns Tools  Spreadsheets  Database managers  Google Refine  Programming languages
  18. 18.  Raw numbers, without context, rarely are interesting. Ask: Compared to what?
  19. 19.  Raw (amount) change  New-Original Percent change  Change/Original Per capita rates  Per person  Per x people
  20. 20.  Percent of total  Individual/Total Ratio  Apples/oranges Averages  Mean  Median
  21. 21.  Be curious! Cut out small slices Spreadsheets for simple math and comparisons Spreadsheets for pivot tables Database managers for more robust analysis Always ask: Is this correct?
  22. 22.  Online software platforms Desktop software
  23. 23.  Contact David Herzog at  herzogd@missouri.edu  Twitter: @davidherzog

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