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Types of Graphs | Graphs.net

Types of Graphs | Graphs.net | Data & Informatics | Scoop.it
Graphs are a visual treat, as they can present complex information in a quick and easy manner. Mostly graphs are used to reveal a trend, compare statistics or

Via Beth Kanter
Stephen Dale's insight:

A useful overview of different types of graphs and where they might be used.

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Beth Kanter's curator insight, December 30, 2012 4:07 PM

Handy cheat sheet for picking the right chart and graph.  Text description and infographic.    

Data & Informatics
The application and usage of data along with the interaction between people, organisations and technology
Curated by Stephen Dale
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Social Media Strategy: Why Insight and Evidence is So Important

Social Media Strategy: Why Insight and Evidence is So Important | Data & Informatics | Scoop.it

Via janlgordon
Stephen Dale's insight:

A timely call for a dispassionate, unbiassed and "agnostic" analysis of data to discover what it is really telling us, and then acting on this information. Sounds obvious? Then why are we so often misled through our ignorance of good and accurate data analysis? 

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Daniel Maina's comment, June 4, 7:36 AM
Thanks for sharing:)
Daniel Maina's comment, June 4, 7:36 AM
Thanks for sharing:)+
Daniel Maina's comment, June 4, 7:37 AM
Thanks for sharing:)
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Revealed: Whitehall plans to share your private data - Telegraph

Revealed: Whitehall plans to share your private data - Telegraph | Data & Informatics | Scoop.it
Driving licences, criminal records and energy use data could be shared under radical plans to link government databases
Stephen Dale's insight:

Details of the financial history, qualifications and property wealth of millions of Britons could be shared across Whitehall for the first time without their consent. Information including voters’ driving licences, criminal records, energy use and even whether they use a bus pass could be shared under a radical blueprint to link up thousands of state databases used by schools, councils, police and civil servants.


The proposals are contained in a “discussion document” produced by the Cabinet Office Data Sharing Policy Team in April, and whilst Ministers are aware of public concerns about privacy, they are split as to when the public should be consulted.

 

Ministers believe the ability to aggregate and “mine” citizens’ data under a new legal framework will allow them to better monitor economic growth and population movements, identify troubled families and elderly people in need of support, and cut fraud.

 

The proposals are likely to ignite privacy concerns if officials are granted unprecedented access to citizens’ private data.

It will also trigger fears that data could be lost, in the wake of a notorious error in 2007 that saw CDs carrying the child benefit records of 25 million people go missing in the post.


Groups including Liberty and Big Brother Watch have already been consulted.

 

The proposals, drawn up by Francis Maude, will be contained in a White Paper published in the Autumn. It may feature draft legislation for introduction after the 2015 election. 

 

At present, people’s personal information is governed by the Data Protection Act and a web of legislation, often decades old, that underpins different government bodies – making it all but impossible for it to be shared outside one department without the specific investigatory powers granted to police and tax inspectors.

 

What could possibly got wrong?!

 

Reading time: 8 mins

Relevance to privacy: 9/10

 

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Best TED videos on Data Visualization « Big Data Made Simple

Best TED videos on Data Visualization « Big Data Made Simple | Data & Informatics | Scoop.it
Visualization is critical to data analysis. Data by itself, consisting of bits and bytes stored in a computer hard drive, is invisible. In order to be able to see and make any sense of data, we need to visualize it. Watch these TED videos to get deep insights on Data
Stephen Dale's insight:

A useful curated assembly of TED talks on the art and science of data visualization. #bigdata #viz

 

Total viewing time  for all presentations: : 213 minutes

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Fifteen open data insights | Tim's Blog

Fifteen open data insights | Tim's Blog | Data & Informatics | Scoop.it
Stephen Dale's insight:

An an excellent summary of key learnings for Open Data use, abstracted from the Open Data in Developing Countries project coordinated by Tim Davies. More information about the project is available at:

 

http://www.opendataresearch.org/emergingimpacts/

 

Reading time: 7 minutes.

Open Data relevance: 9/10

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Amazon Will Sell You Things Before You Know You Want to Buy Them

Amazon Will Sell You Things Before You Know You Want to Buy Them | Data & Informatics | Scoop.it
Amazon is working a plan that would ship products to you before you even purchase them because Amazon knows what you want better than you do.
Stephen Dale's insight:

Amazon has files a patent for "anticipatory shipping", which is aimed to cutting delivery times for purchases. It us using big data analytics to determine what products are most popular for different geographical areas, where it may set up "store and forward" depots.

 

According to the patent, Amazon can put something on a truck and have it "speculatively shipped to a physical address". 


A interesting if "predictable" use of big data (excuse pun)

#bigdata

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Google Offers Webform To Comply With Europe’s ‘Right To Be Forgotten’ Ruling | TechCrunch

Google Offers Webform To Comply With Europe’s ‘Right To Be Forgotten’ Ruling | TechCrunch | Data & Informatics | Scoop.it
Live in the European Union and want some old, irrelevant info about you deleted from search results? Google has now implemented a search removal request..
Stephen Dale's insight:

Google has provided a webform  for users to request data be removed following a European Court Of Justice ruling earlier this month which said that Google must respect a “right to be forgotten” and, at the request of private individuals, remove “irrelevant” and outdated information that contravenes an EU privacy directive concerning the way personal data is processed.


Jimmy Wales has been quoted as saying the ruling is “ridiculous” and “very bizarre”, pointing out that it could lead to a scenario where a newspaper can publish information but a search engine can’t link to it. Or that a smaller search engine with no business footprint in Europe is able to display information that a larger search engine such as Google can’t. Censorship of information is the spectre that critics of the ruling are invoking.

 

Some details here that are not included in the article if you think you are affected:

 

Applicants are asked to give their name, link addresses for removal from search result and provide proof of identity.

 

Only EU citizens can request to take down links and only where their name appears, unless they legally represent a person. They must explain how search results are "irrelevant, outdated or otherwise inappropriate". 

 

Google will balance the right to privacy with the public interest.

 

In Britain, users can resort to the Information Commissioner's Office, or take Google to court.

 

#privacy #Google

 

 

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Giants behaving badly: Google, Facebook and Amazon show us the downside of monopolies and black-box algorithms

Giants behaving badly: Google, Facebook and Amazon show us the downside of monopolies and black-box algorithms | Data & Informatics | Scoop.it
Google, Facebook and Amazon have shown us again this week why the combination of a quasi-monopoly, vested interests and an inscrutable algorithm can be a dangerous thing for internet users, since it allows them to influence what we see, know and buy
Stephen Dale's insight:

None of this surprises me, and though I suspect that we still have a silent majority of people out there who seem happy with "good enough" or skewed search results - I'm encouraged by the growth of non-algorithmic content curation websites, managed by individuals or communities that care more about understanding their audience. I actively seek out such websites - whether it's best Wordpress plugins, top 50 books (based on numbers of downloads or user reviews), or most popular album tracks. I appreciate that even some of these sites are open to manipulation, but not on the scale of the examples cited here, and apart form which, most of them are quite open about the way they curate their content - and it's a an area where reputations still matter. 

I don't think we're ever likely to understand Googles algorithms (and if we did they'd be changed), and if we do want to begin taking back control of the Internet from Google's/Amazon's/Facebook's vested interests, we should support the content curators - or become curators ourselves!

 

#seo #curation

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Perjury's comment, May 25, 10:28 AM
I think it's a little unfair to describe Google as 'behaving badly' (in this instance anyway). Google has to constantly tweak its algorithms to keep one step ahead of the spammers and spammy sites: this is a good thing. It is unfortunate that some otherwise legitimate and non-spammy sites will be negatively affected as well by these imperfect and 'blind' algorithms.
Stephen Dale's comment, May 26, 6:31 AM
I agree - Google are no worse than any other proprietary search engine vendor, except they are the biggest, and consequently likely to attract the most attention. I wonder though, howe many people think they are getting the most relevant results for any search query, as opposed to the skewed results that come from machine algorithms? Hence my point about the greater transparency available from human-curated content (e.g. lists). Not that these are perfect, but you know how the content had been created.
Perjury's comment, May 26, 10:22 AM
That's precisely why Google constantly tweaks its algorithm - to ensure you get the 'most relevant' results not ones skewed by spammers. Of course, it does also depend on what you mean by 'most relevant'.
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5 Reasons to learn D3 - Programming - O'Reilly Media

5 Reasons to learn D3 - Programming - O'Reilly Media | Data & Informatics | Scoop.it
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=molJiqEJa9U d3.js is all the buzz among designers and developers making data visualizations on the web. But why? 1. D3 doesn't stand for data-design dictator It actually stands for...
Stephen Dale's insight:

What is D3? :Data-Driven Documents

 

D3 allows you to bind arbitrary data to a Document Object Model (DOM), and then apply data-driven transformations to the document. For example, you can use D3 to generate an HTML table from an array of numbers. Or, use the same data to create an interactive SVG bar chart with smooth transitions and interaction.

 

D3 is not a monolithic framework that seeks to provide every conceivable feature. Instead, D3 solves the crux of the problem: efficient manipulation of documents based on data. This avoids proprietary representation and affords extraordinary flexibility, exposing the full capabilities of web standards such as CSS3, HTML5 and SVG. With minimal overhead, D3 is extremely fast, supporting large datasets and dynamic behaviors for interaction and animation. D3’s functional style allows code reuse through a diverse collection of components and plugins.

 

#data #viz

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Big data: are we making a big mistake? - FT.com

Big data: are we making a big mistake? - FT.com | Data & Informatics | Scoop.it
Five years ago, a team of researchers from Google announced a remarkable achievement in one of the world’s top scientific journals, Nature. Without needing the results of a single medical check-up, they were nevertheless able to track the spread of
Stephen Dale's insight:

A highly recommended article from the FT, questioning the massive hype around Big Data - with four case studies that reinforce why we need to critically question the quality, accuracy and relevance of the information that current big data analytics and search algorithms reveal.

 

From the article:

 

"Recall big data’s four articles of faith. Uncanny accuracy is easy to overrate if we simply ignore false positives.

 

The claim that causation has been “knocked off its pedestal” is fine if we are making predictions in a stable environment but not if the world is changing or if we ourselves hope to change it.

 

The promise that “N = All”, and therefore that sampling bias does not matter, is simply not true in most cases that count. As for the idea that “with enough data, the numbers speak for themselves” – that seems hopelessly naive in data sets where spurious patterns vastly outnumber genuine discoveries.

 

“Big data” has arrived, but big insights have not. The challenge now is to solve new problems and gain new answers – without making the same old statistical mistakes on a grander scale than ever."

 

Insight: 9/10

Relevance: 9/10 

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7 Big Problems with the Internet of Things

7 Big Problems with the Internet of Things | Data & Informatics | Scoop.it
Reality is beginning to bite the Internet of Things (IoT). After months of enthusiastic discussion about  the opportunities it will provide and how much it will be worth, many of those looking to play in the IoT space are starting to look at the potential problems, including data management.  Though everyone knows managing data will be a problem once the IoT is up and running at full scale, few have really considered the potential data storage problems. Topic: Internet of Things.
Stephen Dale's insight:

A recent Gartner Report identifies seven key issues with the Internet of Things (IoT):

 

1. Security: Many industry-specific security platforms are being developed for specialist areas like industrialized systems, medical equipment, and air and defense sectors and, in many cases, being integrated into the platforms being developed by equipment providers for those industries.


2. Enterprises: There will be significant security challenges from the increasing amount of data with the myriad of devices increasing security complexity.


3. Consumer Privacy: The challenge of securing the personal data of individuals as the consumer goods they use become increasingly digitized.


4. Data: IT administrators that are already tasked with keeping the storage centers running, will also have to figure out how to store, protect and make all the incoming data accessible.


5. Storage Management: Businesses will have weigh up the economics of storage against the value of IoT information.


6. Server Technologies: Some organizations that manage and consume data collected from a huge array of devices will require additional compute capacity and may well increase server budgets if there is a business case for it.


7. Data Centre Network: Existing data center WAN (Wide Area Network) links have been built for moderate-bandwidth requirements created by our current use of technology. However, as the amount of data being transferred is set to increase dramatically, the need for expanded bandwidth grows.

 

The risk., therefore, is ensuring that real-time business processes are not impacted by the data management overheads of the IoT.

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The definitive list of analytics and metrics tools - Web Design and Web Development Agency based in Palma de Mallorca, Baleares, Spain - MA-NO Web Design and Development

The definitive list of analytics and metrics tools - Web Design and Web Development Agency based in Palma de Mallorca, Baleares, Spain - MA-NO Web Design and Development | Data & Informatics | Scoop.it
Stephen Dale's insight:

A useful curated list of data analytic tools, covering free web services, self-hosted software packages and log file analyzers. 

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Videos on Data Analysis with R: Introductory, Intermediate, and Advanced Resources

Stephen Dale's insight:

A useful set of resources on "R".

 

R is a language and environment for statistical computing and graphics. It is a GNU project which is similar to the S language and environment which was developed at Bell Laboratories (formerly AT&T, now Lucent Technologies) by John Chambers and colleagues. R can be considered as a different implementation of S. There are some important differences, but much code written for S runs unaltered under R.

 

R provides a wide variety of statistical (linear and nonlinear modelling, classical statistical tests, time-series analysis, classification, clustering, ...) and graphical techniques, and is highly extensible. The S language is often the vehicle of choice for research in statistical methodology, and R provides an Open Source route to participation in that activity.

 

One of R's strengths is the ease with which well-designed publication-quality plots can be produced, including mathematical symbols and formulae where needed. Great care has been taken over the defaults for the minor design choices in graphics, but the user retains full control.

 

R is available as Free Software under the terms of the Free Software Foundation's GNU General Public License in source code form. It compiles and runs on a wide variety of UNIX platforms and similar systems (including FreeBSD and Linux), Windows and MacOS.

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Karen R. Harker's curator insight, January 17, 10:22 PM

I am going to need these... I've just gotten the OK from my POW to take a 4-week course on analyzing count data that uses R.  

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OpenRefine

OpenRefine | Data & Informatics | Scoop.it
OpenRefine : A free, open source, power tool for working with messy data
Stephen Dale's insight:

OpenRefine (ex-Google Refine) is a powerful tool for working with messy data, cleaning it, transforming it from one format into another, extending it with web services, and linking it to databases like Freebase.

 

Note that since October 2nd, 2012, Google is not supporting actively this project which have been rebranded to OpenRefine. Project development, documentation and promotion is now fully supported by volunteers. Find out more about the history of OpenRefine and how you can help the community.

 
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Data Is Beautiful is a hidden gem for gorgeous data visualizations

Data Is Beautiful is a hidden gem for gorgeous data visualizations | Data & Informatics | Scoop.it
Pretty. And pretty, informative
Stephen Dale's insight:

A (relatively) new Reddit, DataIsBeautiful,  is a new channel that provides a daily roundup of the best data visualizations. Worth following.

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How the Internet of Things Will Change Business

How the Internet of Things Will Change Business | Data & Informatics | Scoop.it
Are companies ready for billions of everyday objects to join the Internet?

Via Paul Aneja - eTrends
Stephen Dale's insight:

As computers with wireless capability become cheap, it’s becoming affordable to connect more things to the Internet, like sensors in sewer pipes, factory machinery, lights, and home appliances.


Perhaps we should be asking ourselves..."what could possibly go wrong?"!

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Paul Aneja - eTrends's curator insight, July 18, 3:24 PM

For last several years, technology industry is preparing for the Internet of things, a type of computing characterized by small, often dumb, usually unseen computers attached to objects. These devices sense and transmit data about the environment or offer new means of controlling it.


As computers with wireless capability become cheap, it’s becoming affordable to connect more things to the Internet, like sensors in sewer pipes, factory machinery, lights, and home appliances.


What are some new applications of Internet of Things, that you are looking to leverage in the next 3 years?

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How Data Will Transform Science

How Data Will Transform Science | Data & Informatics | Scoop.it
While the rest of the world has become a highly connected place, driven by new approaches to data and technology, science remains, to an alarming degree, stuck in the last century.
Stephen Dale's insight:

Science has been a cottage industry, but needs to move to an industrial scale where we’re integrating more skills such as gathering, analyzing and interpreting data.

 

We increasingly live in an age of cognitive collaboration, in which humans use machines to more effectively work with other humans.  

We are in the midst of a new industrial revolution in which we are beginning to use machines not just to augment our physical capabilities, but our mental ones as well.  Most, if not all, aspects of human experience are being rapidly transformed. Business life has already been significantly altered, but science still needs to catch up.


The mathematician Samuel Arbesman foresees computers making discoveries scientists don't understand.


Bernie Meyerson, the Chief Innovation Officer at IBM, believes that there is a revolution taking place.  Rather than having to invest in massive labs to pursue a new area, he says that now, “you can stand up a world class laboratory much faster and you can also shut it down and move on when it doesn’t work out.  You can just be more agile.”


Reading time: 10 mins

Data/Information relevance: 9/10

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Turning big data into better health outcomes

Turning big data into better health outcomes | Data & Informatics | Scoop.it

Population health management technology offers three levels of functionality. First is an analytics capability that lets organizations identify patients who would benefit from participating in some form of care management program. Second is a workflow function and the ability to create personalized care plans for individual patients, Burghard said. And third, a population health platform provides a communications component that enables organizations to communicate with individual patients and the wider community.Population health management is a multifaceted, many-layered endeavor that nevertheless has a common theme: the need for data and the ability to mine it for actionable information.

 

A broad spectrum of health care players -- individual providers, hospital systems, payers, local public health departments and federal agencies -- are all in some way addressing population health management. The approach involves identifying populations, assessing their disease status and developing appropriate responses, such as management programs for chronic diseases. Those activities require access to data -- and plenty of it.


Via Andrew Spong
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data.parliament – The Blog

Stephen Dale's insight:

data.parliament.uk alpha release is now live. The alpha release includes a limited number of datasets: Commons and Lords Parliamentary Questions and Answers, Lords Divisions and Briefing Papers. The future focus is to provide as much useful data on the platform as possible, as quickly as possible and to be guided by user feedback.

 

The repository uses an open source product called ELDA to provide a configurable way to access RDF data using simple RESTful URLs that are translated into queries to a SPARQL endpoint. The majority of Data in data.parliament is exposed as RDF. 

 

#data #linkeddata

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Infographic: Get More Out Of Google - HackCollege

Infographic: Get More Out Of Google - HackCollege | Data & Informatics | Scoop.it
Stephen Dale's insight:

A very useful Infographic showing examples of some Google search keywords for delivering higher precision results. Plus a few tips and tricks for the on-line researcher. #google #search

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A Simple Explanation Of 'The Internet Of Things'

A Simple Explanation Of 'The Internet Of Things' | Data & Informatics | Scoop.it
The "Internet of things" (IoT) is becoming an increasingly growing topic of conversation both in the workplace and outside of it. It's a concept that not only has the potential to impact how we live but also how we work.  But what exactly is the "Internet of things" and what [...]
Stephen Dale's insight:

Simply put this is the concept of basically connecting any device with an on and off switch to the Internet (and/or to each other). This includes everything from cell phones, coffee makers, washing machines, headphones, lamps, wearable devices and almost anything else you can think of.


But why would we want to connect all of this stuff together? The idea is to automate life as far as possible, and to give us more information about our environment on which to make better (?) decisions. For example, if your car had access to your appointments diary and to satnav it could alert you to traffic delays, select a better route to take and maybe send an email or text to the people you are meeting to warn them that you might be late. 


One of the (many) issues with all of this is how we can effectively store, track analyse and make sense of this huge volume of data. And what about all the issues associated with security and privacy of your date? It's doubtful that anyone will know exactly what data is being collected, where it's being stored and who has access to it.


The article concludes by advising that regardless of whether we're excited or worried about the potential impact on our lives, we should at least try to understand what the IoT is all about. 


My view? What could possibly go wrong! 


 #bigadata #IoT

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CRAAP Test: Evaluating Information Sources


Via Susan Bainbridge
Stephen Dale's insight:

Some useful guidelines to aid critical thinking. #curation

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niftyjock's curator insight, April 8, 6:08 PM

I love check-lists

Manos Koutsoukos's curator insight, April 17, 1:15 AM

Interesting checklist for those who develop their own materials

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Algorithms: The Glue Between Content, Data and Insight

Algorithms: The Glue Between Content, Data and Insight | Data & Informatics | Scoop.it

Via Robin Good
Stephen Dale's insight:

"We are in the era of the algorithm. They decide what news we will see, they decide which person is important and they will even merge more and more into our non-digital lives.

 

But the biggest and realest danger lies in us. If we believe that there is only one truth and that is the one generated by a black-box algorithm we might be deceived easily."

 

A reminder, then, that algorithm's should not take the place of critical thinking.

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Robin Good's curator insight, March 24, 2:25 PM


Lutz Finger, reports from SxSW on the topic of algorithms, curation and the future, as the skills of content creators, data analysts and code programmers are seemingly converging for the first time. 


Among others, he reports Steve Rosenbaum (founder of Magnify.net) significant own words at SxSW: "...a wise combination of human judgement enabled by algorithms will become the new king of content."


But while there are great new tools, startups and ideas leveraging the great potential of big data and human curation, there is a big, invisible danger, still looming on us.


"The danger is that any algorithm might fall prey to someone trying to influence it.

This might be the ones programming the algorithm or the users. We for instance saw governments trying to skew algorithms by introducing fake online personas (
Learn more about the US government persona-management software).
 

But the biggest and realest danger lies in us.

If we believe that there is only one truth and that is the one generated by a black-box algorithm we might be deceived easily."



Informative. Resourceful. 7/10



Full article: http://www.linkedin.com/today/post/article/20140320132545-6074593-the-age-of-the-algorithms-sxsw-summary 


See also: www.masternewmedia.org/future-of-search


Image: Bjoern Ognibeni - SxSW




Georges Millet's curator insight, March 25, 4:10 AM

Knowledge & life turning today into a (google) search. Algorithms are key!  

Mariale Peñalosa Arguijo's curator insight, March 26, 9:44 AM

 

 10
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A recipe for data: lessons from EUDAT

A recipe for data: lessons from EUDAT | Data & Informatics | Scoop.it
EUDAT understands what is important when it comes to common data services.
Stephen Dale's insight:

EUDAT provides an integrated solution for finding, sharing, storing, replicating, staging and performing computations with primary and secondary research data. EUDAT is currently rolling out its first set of data services, with more to come in 2014. Based on your data needs you can pick one or more:-

 

B2SHARE: a user-friendly, reliable and trustworthy way for researchers and communities to store and share small-scale research data coming from diverse contexts.

 

B2SAFE: a robust, safe and highly-available replication service allowing community and departmental repositories to replicate and preserve their research data. Different access and deployment options are offered which range from tailored solutions for Fedora and DSpace repository systems via simplified utilization options to a full integration of repositories with the network of EUDAT data nodes.

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Curate and Publish Searchable Databases with freeDive


Via Robin Good
Stephen Dale's insight:

Looks like a useful - and free to use - resource for the commited data analyst/researcher.

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Robin Good's curator insight, January 16, 10:27 AM


freeDive allows anyone to use Google spreadsheets to build searchable databases that can be personalized, curated and published online.


Key features include: 

  • Results are presented in an interactive, sortable table 
  • Wizard walks you through creating a search widget
  • Customize the interface with your filters
  • Embed code to publish anywhere 
  • Open-source



Free to use.



Built by Len De Groot and Scot Hacker





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The Future of Search May Not Be About Google: It's You In The End Who Will Decide

The Future of Search May Not Be About Google: It's You In The End Who Will Decide | Data & Informatics | Scoop.it
There is a evil side of Google which revealed itself in the Filter Bubble, invasion of privacy, the lack of transparency, in the monopoly induction of behavior and especially in what is happening in the search environment.

Via Robin Good
Stephen Dale's insight:

People who use Google are given the impression that they are interacting with the data out there, but they are actually interacting with Google and its view of the world.

 

"They are prediction engines that constantly refine a theory about who you are and what you are going to do or want next. Together, they create an universe of data for each one of us."

"In a 2010 paper published in the Scientific American journal, Tim Berners-Lee warned about companies developing ever more “closed” products and “data islands”.

"Morville, in his book Search Patterns, says that the first and second results receive 80% of attention. The vertical approach suggests to the user the idea of a single result that fully answers the question, enclosing possibilities and preventing alternative realization."


Or in other words, is our acceptance of what we see in search results eroding our ability (or willingness) to consider alternatives and employ critical thinking?

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Claude Terosier's curator insight, January 13, 2:44 AM

"we should worry about search engines becoming the arbiters of truth." De l'importance de comprendre comment on accède à l'information et de reprendre la main.

Lucy Beaton's curator insight, January 16, 8:21 PM

This is alarming.  We, as Teacher Librarians, need to be aware of the ramifications of this.

Mrs. Dilling's curator insight, February 13, 11:52 AM

My favorite statement, "we must always be aware and well informed about the intentions of companies, and never stop having multiple options for any service."

 

This article was an eye opener for me. I had never questioned Google before.

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How the NSA (may have) put a backdoor in RSA’s cryptography: A technical primer

How the NSA (may have) put a backdoor in RSA’s cryptography: A technical primer | Data & Informatics | Scoop.it
Here are the basics on backdoors in security systems.
Stephen Dale's insight:

Up until recently, Dual EC_DRBG was the default random number generator for several cryptographic products from RSA (the security division of EMC), even though cryptographers havelong been skeptical of the algorithm’s design. There are reports of impropriety connecting a $10 million investment by the United States government and RSA’s decision to use this obscure and widely maligned algorithm in their widely distributed products.

 

It is very difficult to implement a secure system. Backdoors can be introduced at the software, hardware, or even algorithm level. Algorithms backed by standards are not necessarily safe or free of backdoors. Some lessons to take away from this exercise are:

Even secure cryptographic functions can be weakened if there isn't a good source of randomness.Randomness in deterministic systems like computers is very hard to do correctly.Adding unpredictable sources of entropy can help increase randomness and, in turn, secure algorithms from these types of attacks 

Security-conscious engineers understand this fact and take pains to make sure that the randomness in their cryptographic systems is truly random. Steps include extracting entropy from the physical world, monitoring system entropy levels, using a hardware random number generator to mix in extra entropy, and not relying on a single random number generator as the source of all randomness.

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