APDU Board Member: Enhancing Data Literacy


The huge and disparate amount of data that is now made easily available to the public is incredible. In a way it is analogous to the wide variety and quantity of food that is available to a person in any major city.  Data, like food, comes in varying degrees of quality, type, and quantity.  Data can be found everywhere: from government (federal, state, or local) agencies, to non-profits, to private businesses. Food can be found everywhere: grocery stores, to farmer’s markets, to food trucks, to restaurants.  Like food, data can be fresh, directly from where it is collected, or processed, data that has been “cleaned-up” and/or combined with other data.  Understanding and consuming good data can have amazing results for our understanding of a particular topic, just like identifying and consuming healthy food can have amazing results for our body.

Like with food and nutritional information, making good choices about data is critical for good results and it is not possible without data literacy.  How we identify, evaluate, transform, and interpret data are key components of data literacy. Unfortunately there is no “one stop shopping” place to attain data literacy.  Data literacy comes from various sources such as educational institutions, government data agencies, for profit private businesses, and non-profit organizations such as APDU.

One of APDU’s main goals is to help foster data literacy by bringing together producers of government/public data with users of the data via the APDU weekly newsletter; APDU’s Public Data University; and APDU’s annual conference.  At this year’s annual conference there will be a panel discussion on Enhancing Data Literacy where panelists from the University of Arizona, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, and the Connecticut Data Collaborative will share how they are trying to help users become more knowledgeable about the data at their fingertips.  Join us for this and more September 13 & 14 at APDU’s Annual Conference in Arlington, Va. Register today!