The end of Love Your Data Week has arrived, but naturally care for our research data will continue beyond the confines of a single week in February!
Today’s final theme is “Rescuing Unloved Data.” Data in need of rescue can range from at-risk paper archives containing structured information to recently created digital files at risk of loss because of the collapse of support or infrastructure for that particular file format. Other data that can use a helping hand include data in a stable format that simply needs some further enrichment to see their full potential, and data at risk of disappearance because of a change in administrative oversight or ideological outlook.
Recently, Data Services hosted a data enrichment hack-a-thon for Soviet-era maps that had been digitized in tiff format, but not yet georeferenced so that they could be displayed in a GIS system. Moving that spatial data from a basic digital format to an image format with embedded spatial referents involved a bit of manual labor by hack-a-thon participants, reminding us that some of the best data rescues involve collective efforts. In the end, a helpful new resource was built for researchers out of a set of files that had been in need of a little love and attention.
We hope you’ve taken some time out of your schedule this week to think about the future of your research data. Check back for next year’s Love Your Data Week 2018 for more tips and new themes.