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Knowledge Deficit: The Battle for Open Data

Data is more important than ever to businesses, citizens and policymakers, but the government's about to shut down a major data source.


In 2008, American fishermen caught 7.25 trillion pounds of fish. Of that haul, 493 million pounds consisted of flounder, which I can recommend prepared in a cream sauce.

Fish statistics are not data you need everyday, but if you have a business interest in the fish world, are concerned about over-fishing, or simply want a peek at the machinations of commerce that surround us every day, access to that data is important. But now the government is set to stop publishing a massive amount of publicly collected data, and time is running out for you and the businesses and researchers who rely on the information to do anything about it.

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Are College Libraries About to Become Bookless?

Thanks to the electronic book revolution, in the next decade, we could see the end of centralized campus libraries with hardbound texts.


The number of colleges using electronic textbooks available to students is on the rise. But what about the rest of the books on campus—the millions of volumes stored in the library? It turns out the digital text revolution is beginning to turn college libraries into places that no longer stock physical books.

As Time reports, the engineering libraries at Kansas State University, Stanford and the University of Texas are almost completely book-free. And now at Drexel University in Philadelphia, the new Library Learning Terrace, a 3,000 square foot residence hall-based space that opened in June, there are no books at all.

According to Danuta Nitecki, the dean of libraries at Drexel, the terrace is book-free since the role of libraries is changing. "We don't just house books, we house learning," she says. That means defining "a new kind of library environment," one that's decentralized across the campus. Indeed, the space is more like a study lounge. There are cozy chairs, movable tables for study groups meetings and gigantic whiteboards. And, since Drexel already has 170 million electronic books, journals or other academic material in their collection, all students need to do to access them is get online. If they don't know exactly what research source they should be looking for, librarians will be staffing the space, bringing their expertise to the students.

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Can American Students Rediscover Their Creativity? David Kelley Thinks So

Somewhere along the way, students start saying "I'm not creative." Here's how to help them rediscover their right-brain abilities.

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In his speech at last week's Aspen Ideas Festival, New York Times columnist Tom Friedman told attendees, "When we got out of college we had to find a job. When our kids get out of college they will have to invent a job." But how can students develop their job-creating, innovation-oriented talents if our education system remains centered on knowing and applying information instead of teaching creative, big-picture thinking?

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Victorian Romance Between Data and Literature

Two historians are charting how frequently words like "God," "love," "work," and "science" appear in turn-of-the-century Victorian literature.


Here's more information on the now thriving intersection between data analysis and the humanities. Two historians at George Mason University are charting how frequently words like "God," "love," "work," and "science" make appearances in turn-of-the-century English literature.

From The New York Times:

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WikiLockdown: Three Questions on the Arrest of Julian Assange

Now that Assange has turned himself in, what does everything mean?

So WikiLeaks Founder Julian Assange was arrested today in the United Kingdom on charges of sexually assaulting two women. London has denied bail, citing him as a flight risk. (Shocker.)

In an effort to make sense of the situation, here are three questions to ponder.

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