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Meet the digital data dabblers

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01/11/2016

By | Digital Developments, Events and Visits

What happens if you put a bunch of data wranglers and a group of historians together in a room with a load of digital data for a week? This is one of the questions we hope to answer during Wellcome Data Week.

Over the past few years we’ve been busy turning our unique historical collections into a digital library – nearly 150,000 items and counting. Now we’re thinking about how the rest of the world can discover and use all this fantastic content.

During Data Week five small groups, consisting of data developers, researchers and Library staff, are being set loose on a selection of our digital collections for five uninterrupted days of exploration, analysis, play and experimentation.

group

Each group will start with a research topic proposed by the historian in their group. Together with the rest of the team they well look for ways to investigate their topic in a particular data set. That’s it. There are no other instructions. Each group is free to decide how they work, what they want to do and what their final outcomes will be.

It’s a rare treat for researchers and developers alike to have space to just ‘play’ with data for a week without interruption. And what’s in it for the Wellcome Library? Well a few things – we hope!

  • We get do answer the question I started with: what does happen when developers and researchers come together for a week?
  • We get to test the robustness of our data, and find out how easy it is to download, manipulate and display.
  • We hope to share some inspiring ideas and prototypes showing just what can be done with our digital collections.

We’ll be sharing what we do on the Data Week blog all this week, so come and take a look. We are also tweeting our thoughts using #WellcomeDataWeek – let us know what you think.

Lalita Kaplish

Lalita Kaplish is Web Editor at the Wellcome Library. You can also find her on LinkedIn and Twitter @LalitaKaplish.

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