It’s the return of the blog! I’ve been thinking about doing this for a couple of months now. #COVID19 wasn’t the impetus, but it definitely had an effect and pushed me forward to type the text below. Our social, labour, government, and economic structures have been thrown upside-down, I’m exhausted from work, and super-caffeinated 18 hours a day, so here we are.
- COVID19 Ontario Summary File
For the past week, I’ve been collecting the summary stats posted by the Government of Ontario at this link and throwing them into a spreadsheet, hosted here. The Gov’t and our public health agencies in Canada are doing a great job in this time of crisis, but this work I’m doing is a required step right now because the provincial numbers are only cumulative snapshots of the provincial casecount, at the date and time that they’re posted. i.e., there is no room for historic analysis in the existing page. If you want to track data into a trendline, you need the file I’ve posted.
So, by using the Internet Archive’s Wayback Machine, I’ve been harvesting older versions of the page, scraping out the data, and throwing it into the spreadsheet. Until the province has the time to put together a better document on their own, I’ll continue doing this. When this crisis ends, I’ll likely pull an ATI request to get a complete dataset right from the source. In the meantime, this is what we’ve got, provincially.
I’ve done a lot of this work by hand and need to automate some of it in the future. There are better methods and functions out there but given the timeliness of the issue, I’m choosing to post now and re-learn skills I used to have later. (See the last bullet below for context.)
- Gov’t of Ontario’s COVID19 Page
- Wayback Machine Archive
- The dataset I’ve created, hosted in Scholars Portal Dataverse
- RDM Policy in Canada
So, the last time i posted about this topic (around the year 1961), RDM policy in Canada was still largely a set of intentions, motherhood statements and ideal states we’d like to get to. We knew what worked and what didn’t by way of looking at what other nations had instituted, but policy-setting and implementation – two very big, distinct, and slow-moving things – were still in their infancy.
Now, in spring 2020, we were expecting to see a policy announcement through Tri-Agency, but #COVID19 has got in the way. Word on the street is that a policy, based on the existing draft pillars of institutional strategy, data management planning, and data deposit, will still hit implementation this spring (or this year), but we need to give the Agencies space and time to deal with COVID19 themselves. As a firm believe in social distancing, I’ll give them that.
- Where have all my coding skills gone?
Related to the first bullet above. There was a time I had enough harvesting skills by way of rudimentary tools and apps to easily harvest text from the web. I suppose that time ended about 5 years ago as my position responsibilities shifted, so that’s fine. But I’m really saddened to have lost these skills. I’ve been feeling a bit out of touch on this front for about a year now, to be honest, and this COVID19 harvested has shone a spotlight on the issue. When things are all said and done, I think I’m going to allocate some leave time to re-learn what I used to know.