UMSI to host A2 DataDive

The University of Michigan School of Information (UMSI) will host the weekend-long A2 DataDive on Saturday and Sunday, November 9-10 to bring local nonprofit organizations together with data scientists, statisticians, consultants, coders and designers.

The event’s mission is to connect nonprofits from the Ann Arbor and Detroit areas with volunteers to help organize, manipulate, calculate and visualize data that the nonprofit organizations have collected. Many nonprofits gather data but aren’t sure how to use or apply it as effectively as possible. This hackathon-style service event seeks to help community organizations explore their datasets and discover creative answers to their research while demonstrating how to put data to better use in serving their clientele.

The 30-hour event begins Saturday at 9 a.m. with breakfast and presentations from this session’s participating nonprofits: the Ann Arbor Area Community Foundation, the Ann Arbor District Library and the Ann Arbor YMCA. Volunteers will then form teams based on interests and skills and dive into the data via parsing, mining, statistical analysis, visualizations and other methods. Workshops held throughout the day will offer lessons in data analysis tools.

The teams will reconvene on Sunday morning to finish their work and present their findings to the group. Projects and outcomes are determined by the volunteers, with results ranging from interactive to static visualizations, a redesign of the data structure, or simply seeing if existing data answers the organization’s questions. 

By connecting  nonprofits in need to data science students, practitioners and enthusiasts from the University of Michigan and surrounding area, the event seeks to provide a creative channel to give back to the local community and to build a strong, interdisciplinary community of practitioners who can share knowledge, skills, resources and data to support broader community needs.

The A2 DataDive was created by Nikki Roda, a 2013 UMSI master’s graduate. The first A2 DataDive was held in February of 2012 and analyzed data from nonprofit agencies Focus: HOPE and the African Health Open Educational Resources Network. A subsequent DataDive worked with nonprofits Ozone House, the Huron River Watershed Council, Food Gatherers and 826 Michigan. 

The upcoming A2 DataDive is the third installment of the event and is being run by current UMSI master’s students Priya Kumar and Edgar Nuñez. The free event is open to the public and encourages people with varying levels of skill to attend, even those who have never worked with data but are interested in learning more about data and nonprofits.

To get more information and register for the upcoming A2 DataDive, and to check out results from past workshops, please visit the event’s website here.

Posted on Thursday, October 31, 2013