What can the library do for citizens to profit from data science?
Big data and artificial intelligence enable us to analyse and influence behaviour in new ways. In the past, data was used as a method to explain. Nowadays, we can use data to predict and influence future events at an increasing rate. This creates both complex ethical issues as very interesting possibilities.
At the library of Midden-Brabant (the Netherlands) we work together with other libraries, Cubiss and Tilburg University to empower citizens with applications of data science. We take a hands-on and positive approach. Examples of this are:
• a 'dashboard of the city', featuring live data on climate, parking, sound, energy spent, et cetera;
• augmenting personal history with linked open data;
• predict where target audiences (like functionally illiterates) can be reached;
Due to the complex issues, many people call for more discussion about the implication and applications. We see it as a task for libraries to bring knowledge about this to the people and create opportunities for exchange. By education about the possibilities and the hazards, but also by taking a leading role in empowering the people and giving them the tools to gather, work with and understand the technology.
At Next Library we wish all attendees to profit from our experience. We want the field to get more educated about the implications ánd applications of data science. For we see that in the library's mission of empowering everybody to learn about the world around them, data science can be a wonderful ally!
You might think: I don't know anything about data, and it sounds complicated, so this session is not for me. But that's not true! We will tell you the story of how the library of Midden-Brabant got involved in data-projects by working with their innovative community tool KennisCloud (KnowledgeCloud), which brought them in contact with communities that were willing to share their knowledge and contribute to citizen science data projects. And we will show you how you can find community's in your regio that might be interested in collaborating to set up programs around data to inform and empower citizens.
In our interactive session you're going to work hands-on with measuring and analysing data. This sounds very boring, but we will show that it can be fun, valuable and fits perfectly with the impact librarians want to have. We will do this with a keen eye on how this can be translated into the context of any library and its visitors, thus sparking a lively discussion about the application of data science. We will steer this discussion into the direction of putting value for citizens first. At the centre will be the question: “What can a library do for citizens to profit from data science?”
Jantien Borsboom: Project Manager and Community Librarian at Library of Midden-Brabant, the Netherlands
Frederik Theuwis: Project Leader Innovation at Cubiss (Provincial Support Organisation for Libraries), The Netherlands