The Washington State Library has been pleased to host University of Washington Information School (iSchool) Open Data Literacy (ODL) intern Kathleen Sullivan this summer. This was the second year of the open data internship program at the UW iSchool, funded in part by a grant from the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS). Open Data is the concept of freely-available, non-personal, machine-readable data.
This year, four iSchool students were matched up with the City of Seattle, the Washington Department of Transportation, and the State Library. The iSchool Students presented their projects at the ODL Internship Showcase at UW’s Mary Gates Hall on Friday, August 10. State Library staff attended the showcase and learned about the research the other students conducted on public disclosure requests at the Department of Transportation and the City of Seattle, including suggestions for improving efficiency and accessibility, and lowering costs. (At the top of this post is a photo from the gathering. Pictured, from left, are iSchool Professor Nicholas Weber, iSchool Project Coordinator Bree Norlander, iSchool Associate Dean Carole Palmer, WSL Applications Librarian Evelyn Lindberg, ODL Intern Kathleen Sullivan, and WSL Digital Collections Coordinator Judy Pitchford.)
Kathleen discussed the role public libraries play in their local communities and how they are uniquely positioned to help organize and connect the public to local open data.Her research also extended to reviewing open data publishing across all 50 state libraries. Her conclusion? The Washington State Library “compares very well with other state libraries for public library statistics.”
Washington State Public Library statistics are two clicks away from the home page and available in non-proprietary, machine readable csv (comma separated value) format. Check them out at: https://sos.wa.gov/q/stats.
Here’s a project Kathleen worked on: a map of open data availability provided by local governments in Washington.