Data Is Plural

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

2023.02.08 edition

African American biographies (1508–1865), foreign direct investment, India’s high-court judges, US aquifers, and prognosticating groundhogs.

African American biographies, 1508–1865. The African American National Biography, first printed in 2008 and expanded to a twelve-volume second edition in 2013, is “the most extensive African American biographical encyclopedia ever compiled, including the widest range of historically significant black individuals possible.” Edited by Henry Louis Gates, Jr. and Evelyn Brooks Higginbotham, the print volumes feature nearly 5,000 entries, with additional biographies published in an online collection (subscription required). Executive editor Steven J. Niven has created a dataset describing the 1,300+ people in the encyclopedia born before the US abolition of slavery. It includes their names, dates and places of birth, occupations, whether they were ever enslaved and/or freed before abolition, how they obtained freedom, and much more.

Foreign direct investment. Among its many activities, the Bureau of Economic Analysis collects data on US-owned businesses’ direct investments abroad and those by foreign-owned businesses in the US. The agency provides statistics based on that data, aggregated by industry and country. The metrics, available as spreadsheets and interactive tables, include cumulative investments, overall transaction flows, foreign affiliates’ employee counts, and more. As seen in: “Why are US companies investing more abroad?” (USAFacts).

India’s high-court judges. Know Your High Court Judges, a multi-institution collaboration, has compiled biographical and professional data on all 1,700+ judges appointed to India’s high courts (each state and union territory’s top appellate court) between late 1993 and mid-2021. The details, based on a range of official sources, include each judge’s name, gender, date and place of birth, dates of appointment and retirement, courts served, prior experience, and more. [h/t Apoorv Anand via csv,conf,v7]

US aquifers. Merhawi GebreEgziabher et al., seeing several shortcomings of the US Geological Survey’s aquifer location data for “locally relevant” research, decided to build the United States Aquifer Database. It delineates the boundaries, constructed “after reviewing hundreds of primary literature sources,” of 440 aquifer systems in the contiguous US — from the Abbotsford-Sumas Aquifer straddling the Washington-Canada border to the Biscayne Aquifer in southern Florida. Read more: A visual tour of twelve aquifers.

Prognosticating groundhogs. Paul Craig’s calls itself “the leading data source for North America’s prognosticating groundhogs and their yearly predictions.” Its structured data lists the names, descriptions, locations, and prediction histories for 74 real and “alternative” groundhogs, the latter of which include Lucy the Lobster and Dover Doug, a human in a groundhog suit.