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How crowd-sourcing will spark a data revolution
March 22, 2012 |Globe and Mail Blog | by frances woolley.

Yet all of these initiatives are geared towards government data sets and professional researchers. Important private records – diaries of early settlers, for example – can find a home in Canada’s National Archives. But the Archives do not have sufficient resources to process and document records of snowdrops or goldfinches. Moreover, the Archives keep records, not data sets – it is fascinating to look at census records from 120 years ago, but they aren’t much use for statistical analysis.

There is a solution: crowd-sourcing. Across the country there are students, amateur and professional historians, policy analysts, bloggers and data nerds. I’m one of them. I’ve taken data collected by a notable Ottawa record keeper, Mr. Harry Thomson, and posted it on Worthwhile Canadian Initiative. Mr. Thomson’s records go back to the 1960s, long before Environment Canada began collecting comparable hydrometric data. An analysis of the data shows a significant decline in peak water levels during the spring flood – with this year being no exception.

Yet Worthwhile Canadian Initiative is just one blog in the vast expanse of the World Wide Web, and might not even be there in five or ten year’s time. We need a permanent site for all of this data, through which the collective power of the internet can be unleashed – editing, compiling, analyzing, telling stories and, above all, building understanding.
analog  archives  Canadian  cannabis  census  crowdsourcing  data  data_driven  datasets  massive_data_sets  nerds  open_data  record-keeping  Statistics_Canada  unstructured_data 
march 2012 by jerryking
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