Category Archives: Blog

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Help Protect Workplace Safety Data

Two former commissioners of the Bureau of Labor Statistics representing both political parties wrote to the leaders of the Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions (HELP) opposing the repeal of the OSHA injury recordkeeping rule. This rule requires the collection of injury records of employers dating back five years. Please inform your networks about this important rule and tell them to contact the HELP committee to inform them about the value of this data.

Click here to read the letter.

APDU Conference: Call for Proposals

The 2017 APDU Annual Conference (to be held on September 13-14, 2017 in Arlington, VA) is welcoming APDU members to join with our theme of “Communicating Data” by submitting a proposal for a presentation or panel related to public data. The conference, held in Arlington, VA, brings together data users and data producers for conversations and presentations on a wide variety of data and statistical topics, including but not limited to:

  • Statistical policy
  • Data collection, production, and delivery
  • Emerging data issues
  • New data sources and tools
  • Relevant data dissemination technologies

We are inviting proposals on any topic relating to public data, whether based on a particular project, data practice, or formal paper. In keeping with the theme of the conference, our interest is in  the content of the work, how it has been or will be communicated to a broader audience, and, if appropriate, how effective that strategy has proven. We are interested in presentations focused on using, sharing and administering data such as:

  • Data Visualization/Mapping
  • Integration and Linking of Data
  • New Ways of Using Administrative Data
  • Federal Data Standards and Metadata
  • Data Governance
  • Data User Engagement
  • Best Practices in Communicating with the Press
  • Adding Value to Public Data
  • Making Data Accessible and Open Data
  • Data Privacy and Security
  • Data for Rapid Response (crisis management)

You may submit ideas for a single presentation or a full panel (three presenters, plus a moderator). If you have any questions, please contact Brendan Buff at bbuff@crec.net. Proposals will need to be submitted by members of APDU, but not all presenters in a panel must be members. If you are not currently a member of APDU, please consider joining today – click here to learn more. Presenters at the conference will be able to attend the day of their session for free.  We  look forward to hearing from you!

IMPORTANT DATES

Deadline:
April 15, 2017
Notification Date:
May 3, 2017
Registration Opens:
May 10, 2017
APDU Annual Conference:
September 13-14, 2017

 

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President’s Budget Overview for Public Data

On Thursday, March 16th, the Trump Administration released its long awaited first budget proposal. What will this mean for researchers, businesses, and local, state, and federal agencies? APDU Executive Director CEO Ken Poole provides an overview of President Trump’s proposed budget changes related to economic development and federal statistical programs.

  • Provides $1.5 billion, an increase of more than $100 million, for the U.S. Census Bureau to continue preparations for the 2020 Decennial Census. This additional funding prioritizes fundamental investments in information technology and field infrastructure, which would allow the bureau to more effectively administer the 2020 Decennial Census.
  • Consolidates the mission, policy support, and administrative functions of the Economics and Statistics Administration within the Bureau of Economic Analysis, the U.S. Census Bureau, and the Department of Commerce’s Office of the Secretary.
  • Reduces funding for USDA’s statistical capabilities, while maintaining core Departmental analytical functions, such as the funding necessary to complete the Census of Agriculture.

APDU Welcomes New Directors

The Association of Public Data Users (APDU) is excited to announce the election and re-election of four outstanding individuals to its Board of Directors. Congratulations are due to President Cliff Cook, Vice President Kevin McAvey, and At-Large Directors Elizabeth Nash and Mary Jo Hoeksema for their election. Cliff Cook was our past Vice President, while Elizabeth Nash has been elected to a second term as an At-Large Director. Kevin McAvey and Mary Jo Hoeksema are new additions to the Board of Directors. Warren Brown retains his seat on the Board of Directors as Immediate Past President.

Below is the new Board of Directors:

APDU Officers:

  • President: Cliff Cook, City of Cambridge
  • Vice President: Kevin McAvey, Manatt Health
  • Secretary: Sarah Burgoyne, Nielsen
  • Treasurer: Mauricio Ortiz, Bureau of Economic Analysis

At-Large Directors:

  • At-Large Board member: Elizabeth Nash, PolicyMap
  • At-Large Board member: Mary Jo Hoeksema, Population Association of America/Association of Population Centers
  • At-Large Board member: Kathryn Pettit, Urban Institute
  • At-Large Board member: Erin Holve, Department of Health Care Finance, the Government of the District of Columbia

Immediate Past President

  • Warren Brown, Cornell University

APDU would like to thank former Immediate Past President Bob Scardamalia of RLS Demographics and At-Large Director Steve Pierson of the American Statistical Association for their service, as they have completed their two terms on the Board following several years of excellent leadership. While we will miss their contributions, we look forward to continuing to work with them as members.  APDU is excited about the direction our new board leadership will take us in 2017 and beyond. To hear more about our new president’s vision, we encourage you to listen to Cliff Cook’s presentation at the recent APDU business meeting, archived here.

2016 APDU Accomplishments

Over the past 12 months, the Association of Public Data Users (APDU) has been busy providing members with the information, training, and advocacy that supports your important work. Our Annual Conference in Alexandria, VA was bigger than ever, we held our first ever training course, and our webinar series educated hundreds of attendees on a variety of topics. We are pleased to present to you APDU’s accomplishments from the past year.

Conference

  • Gathered over 180 attendees and speakers in Alexandria, VA to for a two-day conference on statistical policy; data collection, production, and delivery; emerging data issues; relevant data dissemination technologies; and more.
  • Held the inaugural APDU Data Viz Awards, given to exemplary data visualizations from seven organizations across the country that use public data.

Communication

  • Produced 48 APDU Weekly newsletters, informing APDU members about developments in federal data programs, novel data visualizations, data publications, and other data initiatives.
  • Introduced the APDU Job Board, updating members on opportunities in federal data agencies and the organizations that make use of publicly available data.

Training

  • Developed APDU’s first ever training course, the well-attended Data Viz Made Simple event. Held in Arlington, VA on September 15-16 immediately following the 2016 APDU Annual Conference, the training was at full capacity and received exceedingly positive reviews.
  • Produced 14 webinars on topics including the Commission on Evidence-Based Policymaking, Current Population Survey, and the underreporting of young children in federal statistical programs.

Data Advocacy

  • Provided opportunities for comment on nearly 200 federal actions in the Federal Register through the APDU Weekly.
  • Produced a webinar in collaboration with the Census Project on the Census Data Advocacy Toolkit to help state and local organizations build coalitions in support of an accurate census and comprehensive, reliable ACS.
  • Collaborated with Friends of BLS, the Council of Professional Associations on Federal Statistics (COPAFS), and the Census Project in advocacy efforts.
  • Participated in several Capitol Hill visits to Congressional staff representing the interests of statistical data users.
  • Signed on to several letters advocating for proper funding for Census, BLS, and BEA and supporting efforts to ensure the ACS remains mandatory.

The Commission on Evidence-Based Policy Wants to Hear from You!

The Commission on Evidence-Based Policy wants to hear from you. The Commission is soliciting input from stakeholders on issues relevant to the Commission’s charge, established in Public Law 114-140. They are interested in hearing about data access issues, barriers to research, issues related to the capacity of states to engage in data and evidence building and issues related to privacy and confidentiality.

There are two ways to provide your input to the Commission:

Request for Comments – The Commission has an open Request for Comments published in the Federal Register on September 14, 2016, and will continue to accept comments through December 14, 2016. To submit your comments, please visit see the full request here or linked from www.cep.gov.

Public Hearings – The Commission’s public hearings are open opportunities for any interested stakeholders to submit a written statement and provide a 5-minute oral statement to members of the Commission, along with Q&A. There are two upcoming public hearings scheduled, one on January 5, 2017 in Chicago, IL and February 9, 2017 in San Francisco, CA. To sign up for a speaking slot at either hearing, please email us at Input@cep.gov with your name, affiliation, written statement and 2-3 sentence abstract. If you have a written statement you’d like to submit, but cannot make it to the hearing in person, you are welcome to submit that statement to regardless to Input@cep.gov.

To learn more about the Commission, please visit www.cep.gov and to sign up for the Commission’s email list, please contact them at events@cep.gov.

APDU Annual Business Meeting and State of the Association

In a time of change in the federal statistical system and the federal government generally, APDU has been keeping you informed and prepared. Our Weekly Updates, annual conference, webinars, and even a new training course have kept us busy during 2016. Want to know what’s in store for 2017?

APDU is excited to announce our Annual Business Meeting on December 6, 2016, at 3 pm EST. The meeting will be convened by webinar and open to all APDU members.

The APDU Board of Directors will report on the state of the association, present this year’s accomplishments and goals for the coming year, and answer your questions.

CLICK HERE TO REGISTER

AGENDA

Call to Order & Welcome
• Key Accomplishments
• Annual Conference Report
• Webinars
• Data Viz Made Simple Training
• Advocacy Activities

Fall 2016 Election

Financial Report

Looking Ahead
• Public Data University
• Annual Conference
• Training
• Get Involved With APDU

Q&A

APDU Conference: Building Demand for Open Data

by Cliff Cook, APDU Board Member and Planning Information Manager, City of Cambridge, Massaschusetts

Recent years have seen an explosion in the interest in open data at all levels of government.  Open data can serve as a game changer when comes to the relationship between the public, the business community and government.  A variety of actors can pose and readily answer questions that, at best, previously required a deep dive into paper files or unstructured electronic documents.

This ideal picture of open data both ignores some realities and raises questions.  Creating and maintaining open data can prove a challenge for agencies without sufficient staffing or a culture of openness.  Structuring data in a manner that is useful to actors outside the agency can take a significant amount of staff time.  Updating open data sets is not always as easy as a ”click of the button”.  The data made available are often the “low hanging fruit” and may or may not match up with demand.

What strategies do governments use to match open data they are able and willing to supply with demand from the public, from the business sector and from hacktivists? What steps can governments proactively take to match the supply of data provided with user demand?  How do we maintain interest to ensure that we can support the civic infrastructure needed to sustain open data efforts over the long haul?

The 2016 APDU conference will be visiting these questions during the session on “Building Demand for Open Data”.  Panelists will include Anthony Curio from Summit Consulting, a firm with deep experience in federal data topics, Stefaan Verhulst from the GovLab at New York University, author of the recent report on Open Data Impact, and Rebecca Williams from the Johns Hopkins University Center for Government Excellence, who works with cities across the US to more promote the use of data.  The panel will be moderated by Cliff Cook, a planner with the City of Cambridge, Massachusetts and a member of the community’s Open Data Review Board.

APDU Conference Session: Data’s Essential Role in Effective Journalism

By Elizabeth Nash, Vice President of Data and Product Development, PolicyMap

Our team at PolicyMap works with the latest publicly available data on a daily basis. We’re also avid consumers of the news media, staying abreast of trending topics and all things public policy-related. Given the nexus of publicly available data and current events, I’ve often wondered how journalists, bloggers and those contributing meaningful news bytes to social media outlets obtain and work with meaningful data to craft their stories. News that we follow from outlets such as the New York Times, Slate, National Public Radio and our favorite policy wonks are rife with information about statistical changes over time and disparities across geographies.

We can quickly recognize the sources of the public and proprietary data that many journalists use, but I was curious to find out more about the connection between publicly available data and the news stories we’re ingesting. How do data journalists learn about what specific data is available for their stories, given the dizzying array of public data now available, thanks to the Open Data movement? And, as professionals with skills specific to weaving stories, how do they translate gigabytes of data into comprehensible and compelling narratives? I also wanted to learn about the differences, if any, among the use of publicly available data by media outlet type. That is, how traditional journalists, bloggers and professional social media reporters use publicly available data in different ways from each other across the journalism discipline.

To that end, I contacted Mark Horvit of the Investigative Reporters and Editors (IRE), who helped me to understand the profession of the data journalist. He referred me to a number of experts who could help illuminate the fascinating task of turning years’ worth of spreadsheets into carefully crafted stories. Data journalists rely on data analysis, rather than expert opinion. As an APDU Board Member, I was particularly interested in hearing about their processes and in exposing APDU members to their ways of thinking about publicly available data.

I’m proud to say that our panel, Data’s Essential Role in Effective Journalism, moderated by APDU Board Member Cliff Cook and me includes the following distinguished speakers:

  • Ben Casselman, Senior Editor and Chief Economics Writer, FiveThirtyEight.com
  • D’Vera Cohn, Senior Writer and Editor, Pew Research Center
  • Sarah Cohen, Reporter, New York Times

I hope you’ll join us for this fascinating discussion about the role of data in the work of journalists who shape our daily lives with their stories relying on publicly available data.