For the purposes of this post we will ignore how remarkably badass sounding the word librarian becomes when “coder” is added to the end of it.
I recently had a librarian who had just picked up some coding skills email me and ask how they could get into Open Data (if, by the way, you were interested in someone with those skills, I’d be happy to connect you to them). Here is an edited version of my response:
I actually think that librarians are exactly what the open data space needs. It is interesting to think about the consulting services and organizational problems that exist in a world of almost infinite data – and particularly in a world with large amounts of open data.
Open Data portals are are getting more and more data sets – but I’m not sure anyone has meaningfully figured out how you organize that data in meaningful way? Or at least make them searchable in a way that is meaningful to a cross section of people as opposed to a narrow highly specialized specific type of user (e.g. an academic or domain expert)? Nor has anyone – as far as I can tell – cracked the problem (or developed the human hacks necessary) around acquiring and organizing meta data (e.g. actually getting it, and then making it understandable to a range of audiences without losing its nuance).
Certainly when I facilitated consultations on open data in a range of cities across Canada the issue of searchability and finding data came up over and over again. It was a very strong theme.
These are serious problems. And they are probably going to get much much worse as more data becomes available.