Data Is Plural

... is a weekly newsletter of useful/curious datasets.

2019.06.05 edition

Freedom lawsuits, voter turnout, Chicago evictions, language learning, and thirsty appliances.

Freedom lawsuits in early America. O Say Can You See, a project partially funded by the National Endowment of the Humanities, “documents the challenge to slavery and the quest for freedom in early Washington, D.C., by collecting, digitizing, making accessible, and analyzing freedom suits filed between 1800 and 1862, as well as tracing the multigenerational family networks they reveal.” The project provides several ways to access the data and documents; it covers more than 500 lawsuits, nearly 5,000 people, and tens of thousands of relationships. You can also explore the cases, people, and families online. [h/t Jan Willem Tulp]

Global voter turnout. The International Institute for Democracy and Electoral Assistance’s Voter Turnout Database tracks the number of registered voters, total voter turnout, voting-age population, and associated metrics for elections in more than 200 countries, some going as far back as 1945. Related: The European Parliament’s election results website provides charts and bulk downloads. Also related:What’s going on with abstention in Europe?,” a recent article by Lorenzo Ferrari and Jacopo Ottaviani. [h/t Gianna Grün + Giuseppe Sollazzo]

Chicago eviction trends. The Chicago-focused Lawyers’ Committee for Better Housing has built a database of evictions in the city from 2010 to 2017. It aggregates nearly 300,000 evictions to the ward, community area, and Census tract level, and contains metrics on case types, outcomes, legal representation, and more. There’s a user guide, bulk download, and methodology. Previously: The Eviction Lab, an effort to collect eviction data for the entire country (DIP 2018.04.18). [h/t Maya Dukmasova]

Language learning. In an study published last year (preprint PDF here), three Boston-area professors analyzed data from more than 600,000 people who took an online English grammar quiz. In addition to the participants’ answers, the dataset includes their native languages, the age they began learning English, the countries they’ve lived in, gender, age, and more. Related: Scott Chacon’s analysis of the data, and what it might mean for older learners. [h/t George McIntire]

Thirsty appliances.The BLOND dataset was collected at a typical office building in Germany, with the main occupants being academic institutes and their researchers.” BLOND’s several dozen terabytes of data provide “long-term continuous measurements of voltage and current waveforms” for 74 appliances in office over several months, including a bunch of computers, a printer, paper shredder, space heater, and an electric toothbrush.