On Sunday, April 2 from 1-8 p.m., Skillman hosted a Data Rescue in association with Data Refuge and the Environmental Data and Governance Initiative (EDGI). The goal of the event was to contribute to a national effort to back up vulnerable data critical for research in the environmental sciences, including areas related to climate change and renewable energy development. With Sunday’s event, Lafayette joined colleges across the country in a national effort to protect vulnerable climate date. Recent and upcoming Data Rescues include events at Yale, UC-Davis, Harvard, and Haverford, among many other campuses.
The Lafayette College Data Rescue was an immense success, drawing 70 registered participants including students, faculty members, staff members, librarians, and Easton community members. Lead coordinators of the event, Dr. Carolyn Buckley (Psychology) and Dr. Caleb Gallemore (International Affairs), explain the importance of the Data Rescue movement:
“Since 2008, EDGI, with the help of the Internet Archive (IA) and wayback machine, has been harvesting federal data at the end of every presidential term. This has become increasingly difficult with each election, as many data sets are too large for their automated web-crawler, or they include video or interactive data access that must be harvested manually. The amount of data to be harvested has increased from roughly 25 TB in 2012 to over 200 TB in 2016. For this reason, DataRefuge and others have been organizing Data Rescue events where concerned citizens assist in harvesting our most vulnerable data. This includes the contents of government web pages, as well as the scientific data that are only accessible through links on those pages.”
Student, librarian, and faculty “guides” at the Data Rescue wore yellow hats and brought a fantastic degree of fun, energy, and enthusiasm to the event. A huge thank you to student collaborators from the Lafayette Association for Computing Machinery, the Lafayette Society of Environmental Engineers and Scientists, and the Lafayette Environmental Awareness and Protection. Special thanks also to the Provost’s Office, International Affairs, Psychology, and the team at Skillman Library.