I broke my recent streak of continuous posting late this week, but I think I had a good reason for it: I was at OLITA Digital Odyssey, a one day themed conference which was, for this year, centred around the world of ‘Big Data.’
There were two streams at the day’s event so I missed some of the sessions that I would have very much liked to have seen. I missed the workshop on d3.js – but that’s okay ’cause I can and will work out the examples on my own. And I had to miss Tracey P. Lauriault’s talk on Open Data and Policy in Canada because I had committed to volunteer at Art Rhyno’s illuminating workshop on Hadoop.
I had a number of library-related takeaways that I won’t share here and several ones that fit into the coverage that this blog tries to overlaps with. The largest one was this: I had asked data journalist Patrick Cain whether it was better to campaign for open data and better interfaces rather than the work of requesting datasets individually from organizations. And his answer was that it was better to get one’s hands on the data directly and he gave two reasons. First, he said, you didn’t want to depend on someone else to interpret the data on your behalf and secondly, in most cases, no one has tried to interpret the data that you might be interested in and so that, in many cases, the best expert of that data ends up being you.
Patrick also shared some of his favourite free visualization tools and I will try to investigate them in time as well.