With the transition of presidential administrations, there are growing concerns about potential threats to the future access to public government data. This loss of access not only impacts the general public but scholars who rely on government data for their research. In addition to data potentially disappearing from government websites, legislation is being proposed that could impact access to government data. H.R.482 – Local Zoning Decisions Protection Act of 2017 would, in part, prohibit the use of federal funds to “design, build, maintain, utilize, or provide access to a Federal database of geospatial information on community racial disparities or disparities in access to affordable housing.”
We are clearly in a moment when data sets we have long taken for granted to do research may not remain. For example, a range of data relevant to climate change is already being removed from federal agency websites.
The current situation is in flux, and no one can predict what data is most at risk. The positive news is that coordinated nationwide data rescue/refuge efforts are being undertaken to identify and save the data sets most likely at risk.
Are there government data sets sources you use in your research or teaching which you are worried may be in danger? Let us know by filling out this short survey and describe the government data you currently use or are concerned about.
Endangered Data Week is a new event inspired by other library and information science awareness and action campaigns such as Banned Books Week and Open Access Week. From the announcement for the event Endangered Data Week is a new, collaborative effort, coordinated across campuses, nonprofits, libraries, citizen science initiatives, and cultural heritage institutions, to shed light on public datasets that are in danger of being deleted, repressed, mishandled, or lost. The week’s events can promote care for endangered collections by: publicizing the availability of datasets; increasing critical engagement with them, including through visualization and analysis; and by encouraging political activism […]
Some recent news stories about the data at risk and efforts to save it. Data on climate change progress is disappearing from the US State Department website Diehard Coders Just Rescued NASA’s Earth Science Data Advocates of Fair Housing Brace for a Tough Four Years Creating and Preserving Actionable and Policy-Relevant Geography
On February 16, 2017 library and information technology representatives met with faculty from the social sciences and the Field Research Teaching Laboratory to provide information about the current situation regarding federal government data at risk. Vanessa Massaro spoke briefly about her concerns for geographical information and the current legislation proposed in the Republican Congress to limit the collection of fair housing data. Various actions were discussed, including the possibility of informing Bucknell University president John Bravman in order to ask for his help in contacting members of the Pennsylvania congressional delegation. Members of the library team discussed existing efforts to rescue various […]
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