Data smells

  • Event: 2015 CAR Conference
  • Speakers: Jacob Harris of 18F; Chris Keller of Los Angeles Times; Aurelia Moser of CartoDB
  • Date/Time: Saturday, Mar. 7 at 3:20pm
  • Location: International 4-5
  • Audio file: No audio file available.

In the world of software development, "data smells" is a term for those telltale signs that indicate bad software needs to be refactored. As data journalists, we encounter common types of data smells in the data we work with on every project. It's time to get organized. In this panel, let's refine a site we've prototyped to collect and categorize these data smells. We're not building a site here, but we should leave this panel with a clear idea of what the features of a data smells compendium would be. A wiki seems like an obvious choice, but how does an entry look? How do we organize and collect these smells? What can we do to automate the tedious process of vetting a data set? We'll explore these questions. The session will begin with a basic exploration of the concept of data smells. From there we will discuss several questions about how to build a site for cataloguing data smells: * How do we document data smells? * Where do we host this site? * What are all the points in the reporting process where errors occur? * Checklists? Can we automate smell checks? * Can we bundle smells for common types of data into guides? * Can we make the data smells idea approachable for readers?

This session is good for: Reporters, developers and researchers. We'll split participants up into groups to tackle different topics.

Speaker Bios

  • Jacob Harris is an Innovation Specialist at 18F, a digital consultancy inside the U.S. government, for the U.S. government. Previously he was a member of the Interactive Newsroom Technologies team at the New York Times. @harrisj

  • Chris Keller is the Director of Graphics and Data Visualization for the Los Angeles Times. He joined The Times in 2017 and has held a variety of roles in various newsroom departments in his career. Prior to working at the Times, Keller was at KPPC, where his work on officer-involved shootings and California wildfires was recognized with multiple awards.  @ChrisLKellerLAT

  • Aurelia is a librarian, developer and curious cartographer building communities around code at CartoDB. Previously of Ushahidi and Internews Kenya, she's been working in the open tech and non-profit journalism space for a few years, and recent projects have had her working with mapping sensor data to support agricultural security and sustainable apis ecosystems in the Global South. @auremoser

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