Data Is Plural

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

2020.02.26 edition

Government contracts, tech organizing, US anti-press incidents, EU laws, and Cockatoo Island prisoners.

Government contracts, standardized. The Open Contracting Data Standard is a “free, non-proprietary open data standard” that makes it “easier to share, compare and analyze” the contracts that governments award to bidders. The project has been gaining traction, with dozens of local and federal governments using the standard to publish detailed official data, including in the UK, Canada, Colombia, Nepal, Uganda, and Afghanistan.

Tech workers, united. The Collective Actions In Tech project database aims to document every instance of tech-industry workers banding together to raise awareness of a shared cause. The database, which is developed collaboratively and available to download, so far contains more than 200 protests, strikes, union drives, legal actions, and open letters. (The earliest event: In 1979, IBM workers protested their company’s business with apartheid South Africa.) Related: Writing for The Guardian, two of the project’s organizers describe “our eight most important insights.” [h/t anjakefala]

Anti-press incidents. Since 2017, the U.S. Press Freedom Tracker has collected information on more than 400 incidents targeting journalists in the United States, such as arrests, attacks, and denials of access. The initiative, led by the Freedom of the Press Foundation and the Committee to Protect Journalists, provides bulk downloads of the data, plus an API. Related: The project also maintains a spreadsheet of anti-press tweets by Donald Trump. Previously: CPJ’s database of journalists who’ve been killed for reasons related to their work (DIP 2019.01.16). [h/t Sid Rao]

EU laws. The CEPS EurLex dataset contains more than 142,000 European Union regulations, directives, and official decisions — ”almost the entire corpus of the EU’s legally binding acts passed between 1952 - 2019.” The dataset contains two dozen variables, including dates, subject matter, authors, various links, and the full text of most laws. The information comes, ultimately, from the EU’s online legal repository, [h/t Moritz Laurer]

Cockatoo Island prisoners. Historical criminologist Katherine Roscoe has transcribed archival records to create a detailed dataset of more than 2,500 people imprisoned between 1847 and 1869 at Cockatoo Island Prison — “Sydney’s most notorious 19th century prison,” now a UNESCO World Heritage Site.