Via Rob Kitchin on Twitter, the Visualising Data blog has an entry that is described as ‘A big collection of sites and services for accessing data‘. The post contains a comprehensive list of the data sources, and analysis tools, that are available. These are also helpfully categorised under headings. This is a really important development that could prove to be a key resource for researchers and students who are looking to use digital or ‘big’ data in their research. Here is the description of the list from the post:
‘This collection presents the key sites that provide data, whether through curated collections, offering access under the Open Data movement or through Software/Data-as-a-Service platforms.‘
This must have taken a huge amount of work to compile. I’m going to make this available to students in my module on ‘digital by-product data and the social sciences’. The post contains a huge range of data that covers a large range of topics. It is also demonstrative of the increasing availability of data. I suppose we are returned again here to Andrew Abbott’s observations about the problems of finding patterns in such monumental sets of data (I reflect on the full quote here). In the large part there is very little social science that uses such data. But there is an increasing necessity to think what the types of resources listed in the Visualising Data blog post means for social science. Even if we don’t wish to use the data ourselves, we need at least to think about how we might respond to the visions of the social world that these data and forms of analysis promote. Having such a detailed list of these resources is revealing and the post should be a useful point of references when thinking about the availability of new forms of social data and what they might reveal. There is also a note on the post that they intend to update this list, particularly with a broader range of international resources. So this is a reference that will continue to expand over time.