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Big Data Day LA 2016/ Use Case Driven track - The Encyclopedia of World Problems, Christine Zhang, Data Journalist, LA TImes


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Born more than four decades ago from the partnership of two international NGOs in Brussels, the Encyclopedia of World Problems has hand-picked and refined profiles of tens of thousands of problems occurring around the world: from notorious global issues all the way down to very specific and peculiar ones. This talk presents an overview of the Encyclopedia and the interesting data science applications that have arisen from the Encyclopedia's body of work - notably, its database resources.

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Big Data Day LA 2016/ Use Case Driven track - The Encyclopedia of World Problems, Christine Zhang, Data Journalist, LA TImes

  1. 1. The Encyclopedia of World Problems and Human Potential Big Data Day L.A. | July 9th 2016 Christine Zhang @christinezhang | @ewphp
  2. 2. “The one common experience of all humanity is the challenge of problems” — R. Buckminster Fuller architect, philosopher, creator of the geodesic dome & 2nd president of MENSA (1895 - 1983)
  3. 3. “The impossible project” • In 1972, two international organizations, the Union of International Associations (UIA) and Mankind 2000, decided to systematically document the problems of the world
  4. 4. Early Editions (1976 - 1999) • 1976: Yearbook of World Problems and Human Potential • 1986, 1991, 1994: more print editions • 1996: first digital product (CD) • 1999: Encyclopedia Online
  5. 5. Redevelopment (2013 - now) • Encyclopedia of World Problems Has a Big One of Its Own, Wall Street Journal 2012 • 2013: revamp of the encyclopedia due to the persistence of UIA’s current Secretary-General
  6. 6. Major changes • Creative Commons license (CC BY-SA): data freely available and re-publishable • Broader variety of sources More information:
  7. 7. • Collective problem-solving as a collaborative, crowd-sourced effort • Apart from systematic identification of recognized world problems, it can also map the complexity of their interrelationships “Wikify it” & more
  8. 8. Other types of relationships • Reduction (one problem diminished by another) • Hierarchy (one problem being broader or narrower than another one) • Relatedness • etc.
  9. 9. What EWP is looking for •Project partners (organizational and individual) •Funding or in-kind support •Suggestions or direct editing related to •textual descriptions •links between entries •categorization •new entries •Communication •Research
  10. 10. Additional info • @ewphp • @christinezhang • • • development-encyclopedia-world-problems
  11. 11. Your thoughts?