February 20, 2011
Data Sets for Everyone
Data sets seem quite popular in the legal academy these days. Seems we are just catching up to the other disciplines who have been digesting data while we were all digesting cases. (A data set is merely acollection of data variables that have been derived from a single data source. It is usually presented in tabular form and lets the user extract variables to create new data.) Some data sets are held by private concerns (think pharmaceuticals for example) and are sometimes available to academic researchers for a stiff fee. Other data sets are open source, and often available for free. (Rob Richards maintains an archive of his posts on available data sets . Also, Data.gov keeps track of data sets released by the U.S. government.)
For example, during the past two years, Google has been creating data sets and making them available on their Public Data Exchange web site. This is because they have nothing else to do.
There are 27 data sets to play with on their web site. They range from mortality rates in the United States to government debt in the EU. And, you are permitted to link to them or embed the visualizations in your own web pages. Google bases its technology on Hans Rosling's work from whom they bought it. (You might have seen this You Tube on Hans Rosling's visualization project, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jbkSRLYSojo)
During the weekend, Google opened up the Dataset Publishing Language that it uses to produce the resources on the Public Data Exchange web site. This means for all those empirical undertakings at law schools all over the world, we now have an open source product that can visualize the data beyond the common tabbed columns. This could also help visualize collection statistics in ways not yet viable in many ILS's. For example, if you wanted to compare prices on treatises on EU law by publisher. It is simple to extract this data from your ILS and dumped into this product to obtain a nice bubble chart or other visual aid to review with your acquisitions staff.
Of course, your ILS vendor might just take this open source product, tag it onto their product, and then charge you mega $'s to use it. Sort of like RSS feeds or filtered searching.
Good job Goggle. (VS)
I am a Process Server based out of San Diego and throughout a majority of the Southern California area. I could not agree more about the data and how it relates to this industry. Not only is it imperative, but necessary. I further discuss this topic on my company's blog at www.processserverscalifornia.com Thank you
Posted by: Nicholas Trillo | Feb 21, 2011 12:32:20 AM