On June 15, 2016, a select group of researchers joined the beta release of DataGator, a new data-exploration and transformation tool being developed by the Fredrick S. Pardee Center for International Futures, partially funded by the Minerva Initiative.
The objective of DataGator is to provide a resource for researchers, practitioners and students to explore, transform, combine, share and improve social-science data through an online community. Components allowing for cloud-based data extraction, exploration, and transformation within DataGator provide the opportunity to address current challenges in regards to aggregating, structuring and sharing data, which we hope will encourage the development of a broad user community.
An ongoing problem in the social sciences-- and more specifically the international studies field-- is data stored in various file formats and structures across the web with no standard way to combine, organize or integrate into existing workflows. Additionally, there is no consistent way to track or compare past and present versions of existing datasets, nor to openly comment on or question these changes. These challenges can be time-consuming to remedy, can result in data errors, and processes commonly lack transparency. The major components of DataGator seek to provide solutions to these inherent problems.
The Pardee Center constantly builds new datasets focused on international relations and diplomacy as part of our Diplometrics projects, while also gathering data from multiple sources as we continue to expand the International Futures (IFs) platform. Finding the most accurate and consistent ways to gather, clean, analyze, and share data defines much of our work at the Pardee Center; DataGator is being developed in this spirit and during beta testing, users will help shape and perfect the tool. Together, we hope to Make Data Greater.