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Public Lab Research note

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"Less is more: The Role of Small Data in 21st Century Governance."

by donblair with kanarinka , warren |

A few months back, Diego Rafael Canabarro had graciously invited Catherine D'Ignazio, Jeff Warren and me to contribute a chapter to 'GOVERNANÇA DIGITAL' -- a new text out of UFGRS edited by Diego and by Marcelo Soares Pimenta.

The result (thanks, Diego!) is here:

Chapter 6: "Less is More: The Role of Small Data in 21st Century Governance"

In this chapter -- inspired by Jeff's article from last year on 'Small Data', and incorporating insights from Ethan's blog post on recent citizen water monitoring efforts in China -- we pose a series of questions about 'Small Data':

  • What is 'Small Data'?
  • Isn't it enough that my organization already makes data publicly available online?
  • Can the public comprehend scientific results without special training?
  • Is a bottom-up, grassroots, Small Data approach compatible with 'real science'?
  • What about data validity?
  • What does Small Data look like in practice?
  • What about privacy and data ownership?
  • Can my organization invest in both Big Data and Small Data?
  • What problems might we usefully address with a Small Data approach?
  • What are the challenges for the Small Data approach, going forward?

We then attempt to sketch out some answers, drawing upon our recent experiences working on the Open Water Project and citing examples from Dorn Cox's 'open source agriculture' projects in the FarmHack community.

Any feedback on the chapter -- or thoughts on any of the issues highlighted above -- would be very welcome!

Cheers, dwb

small-data philosophy

with:warren with:kanarinka


I added the PDF inline! (since i'm coauthor on the note :-P)

WAIT -- WE CAN DO THAT? That's fantastic!! Thank you!

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