So You Need a Typeface?

What’s a girl (or boy) to do when you have to create a web site, logo, book jacket, or invitation? Why, you just have to use this nifty guide to help you pick the correct font. (I’m still working on my TamingData logo. A new one, as I’ve never had one. Yes, I did refer to this nifty guide.)

So You Need a TypeFace?

Do you have any favorite fonts? I love Open Sans. I think it is a great Web font.

Twitter Map of Profanity — Polite Plains & Profane Mountains

Have you ever wondered in what locations people swear more or less versus other geographic locations? I can’t say I have, either. Having said that, sometimes too much data can be a wonderful thing — if one has a sense of humor, that is.

Cartographer Daniel Huffman has used “1.5 millon geocoded tweets from last March 12 to April 9” 2010 [MSNBC] to create a color-coded map of Twitter profanity use. The lighter the color, the less use of profanity. He titled the map “Profane Mountains, Polite Plains“, and the article appears in Cartographic Perspectives (.pdf), the Journal of the North American Cartographic Information Society.

Daniel Huffman's Map of Twitter Profanity -- Profane Mountains, Polite Plains

Clicking on the above map will take you to the full PDF of the map, which is located on the web site of the North American Cartographic Information Society.

Daniel Huffman is responding to sincere comments about the map on his blog, Cartastrophe.

Are you surprised by any of the information presented in the map? Do you think that Twitter users would swear more or less than non-Twitter users, or do you believe the sample population are representative of the habits of the larger population (both Twitter users and non-Twitter users)?


Oxford Launches Research Data Management Website

The following announcement was posted to the Research Data Management listserv on 14 November 2010 via S. Hodson. I thought it might be on interest to some of you.

The University of Oxford has recently launched a new Research Data Management Website:

The development of this resource was ‘a close collaboration between Research Services, Computing Services and the Bodleian Library and is an important deliverable from the EIDCSR project ( and

From the University of Oxford’s internal announcement:


A new website designed to support researchers with their research data management activities is now available at This has been developed by Research Services in collaboration with OUCS.

The website includes information about

· research funder requirements in the area of research data management

· services available within the University to assist researchers in this area

· guidance on how to produce a data management plan as part of a funding application

· further sources of advice and online guidance, updates and news, and tools and training available to help.

Previously, web-based information about research data management was available from a number of sites across the University but it was felt that a single source of `signposting’ information would be a valuable resource for researchers from all subject disciplines at differing stages of the research cycle, increasing understanding of the benefits of improved research data management, as well as communicating the range of services available.

The website is one of the project outputs from the JISC-funded ‘Embedding Institutional Data Curation Services in Research’ (EIDCSR) project, which aims to scope the requirements to manage and curate research data generated by Oxford researchers. The intention is that information available from the site will increase as policy and services in this area develop.

We would welcome your feedback and any help you can offer in publicising this site further (eg.linking to this from existing University websites). Please do get in touch by contacting either Kathryn Dally ( ) or Sian Dodd ( in Research Services.

Programme Website:
JISCMRD Netvibes:
Community Discussion List:
Twitter, Skype: simonhodson99
Programme Tag: #jiscmrd
Programme Manager – Managing Research Data
JISC Executive
Brettenham House (South Entrance)
5 Lancaster Place
London WC2E 7EN

M1: +44 (0) 7545 524 009
T: +44 (0) 203 006 6071

ICPSR also recently released guidelines for effective data management plans.

The Keeper of Manhatten’s Many Maps

So, you’d like a job taming data and providing access to information? Or, you already tame data and provide access to information, but you want to change jobs. What kinds of jobs are available?

The Wall Street Journal recently profiled a position they called, “The Keeper of Manhatten’s Many Maps“. The mapkeeper’s name is Hector Rivera. As part of his job, he

scans, catalogs and discovers lost streets and forgotten avenues as the Topographical Bureau Associate — or the map man — inside the offices of Manhattan Borough President Scott Stringer. He works inside a room crammed with some 5,000 maps of Manhattan, some of which date back over 200 years.

Hector scans maps, does research, and manages the map room. He advises people who may be breaking ground on new projects, so they know what they are — and are not — digging into in a particular part of a city. Street locations have changed, so knowing what used to be where you want to dig may help you avoid problems when you begin a building project.

What is your dream job taming data?

Preservation Policies, Forbes, and an Email Time Capsule

email preservationI’m often asked why the preservation of digital materials is so complicated. After all, isn’t it simply about the storage and migration, or emulation, of digital objects and metadata? Why do you need all of these policies and procedures around a data or digital archive? Why can’t you just store the digital files and leave them?

Recently, opened an email time capsule the company set aside a mere five years ago. The blog post illustrates some of the difficulties of preserving digital materials over time — in this case, only half a decade.

First, I’ll describe the purpose of the experiment.

The experiment, which we called an “E-Mail Time Capsule,” was part of a special report on Communicating. We invited our readers to communicate with their future selves by writing a letter, which we would store for them, and send at a later date.

Over 140,000 people participated, choosing whether they wanted their capsule “opened” in one, three, five, ten or twenty years.

In 2006 and 2008, we successfully sent over 40,000 messages. And now we’ve hit the five year mark, and are in the process of sending 17,000 emails to our users –half a decade after they wrote them.

Simple, right? You set up three geographically disparate servers, and set one to send if the first one doesn’t, and the third to send the emails if the first two servers fail. However, it wasn’t quite that simple, as the author notes.

Continue reading “Preservation Policies, Forbes, and an Email Time Capsule”

ICPSR Releases “Guidelines for Effective Data Management Plans”

The Inter-university Consortium for Political and Social Research (ICPSR) has released their Guidelines for Effective Data Management Plans.

On the web site ICPSR writes this about these guidelines:

Many federal funding agencies, including NIH and most recently NSF, are requiring that grant applications contain data management plans for projects involving data collection. To support researchers in meeting this requirement, ICPSR is providing guidance on creating such plans.

The guidelines include:

  • A List of Federal Agency Policies on Data Management and Sharing
  • Elements of a Data Management Plan
  • Data Management Plan Resources and Examples
  • Other Data Management Plan Examples
  • Depositing Data with ICPSR for Long-term Data Management
  • List of Links Related to Data Management and Data Sharing
  • A Guide to Preparing Data

The guidelines contain a lot of really great information on how to effectively manage data; the information in the ICPSR guidelines is not just relevant to Social Science data managers, but to all data managers.

War Data: a Short Profile of WikiLeaks

What happens when your data is leaked online? What happens when that data contradicts the official reports of a powerful government? What happens if that data is about a war, and the war is currently being fought?

Welcome to Wikileaks — an online site used by journalists and whistleblowers that provides public access to very private government, military, and corporate documents via an ISP in Sweden. WikiLeaks has no official headquarters, five full-time staff, about 800 occasional contributors, keeps no records, and uses military grade encryption to protect its sources and files.

Patrick Clair profiles Wikileaks in the video infographic below. You may read more about the organization on their web site.

Continue reading “War Data: a Short Profile of WikiLeaks”

Twitter Mood Predicts the Stock Market

The zeitgeist on Twitter predicts stock market behavior by several days, according to research by Johan Bollen, Huina Mao, and Xiao-Jun Zeng. They examined whether or not “measurements of collective mood states derived from large-scale Twitter feeds are correlated to the value of the Dow Jones Industrial Average (DIJA) over time”.

The short answer is, “yes” (with some limitations, as stated in their paper about this research).

CNBC interviewed Dr. Bollen about the team’s research results in this interview below.

Continue reading “Twitter Mood Predicts the Stock Market”