Chances are, you don’t think much about data on a regular basis. You’re busy with everyday life, your job, friends, family or faith. But unless you’ve dropped out of society all together, data touches every part of your life.
Your bank transactions. Your driving record. Your child’s test scores.
Some of that data in your life is held by government. A bigger chunk is held by the private companies you do business with every day. Almost all of it is held on a computer server somewhere in a database or other electronic form.
As Database Editor here at The Oklahoman, I’m paid to think about that data on a daily basis. Where it is, how officials use it, and how we can best analyze it to explain what’s going on in our state.
Here at DataWatch, you’ll learn what Web resources are out there to help you make better sense of an increasingly complex world, one where information and data comes at you at light speed in ever-changing forms.
If you’re younger than 18, you’ve probably never known a world without the Web. You’ve probably never searched a library catalog using paper card files. You’ve probably never handwritten a letter longer than one page. But if you’re older, you’ve watched an online world get bigger, more complex and (sometimes) scarier by the day.
I’ll let you know about fun little sites like this one where you can look up viewer complaints of your favorite TV shows, like The Daily Show or Desperate Housewives. Or our own Bob Stoops Salary Calculator, which lets you find out just how long you’ll have to work to make what OU’s football coach will make this year.
I’ll also let you know about some of the latest developments in open records and open government, both at the state and federal level. We simply couldn’t put out a newspaper and update our Web site without access to paper and electronic documents held by all levels of government.
Finally, I’ll be highlighting and fact-checking some of the stories out there that deal with numbers and statistics. Like this one about how likely it is an asteroid will hit Earth. Or this one about peanut allergies.
Written by Paul Monies