You already understand and feel the pressure of working in a data-intensive environment. You’re not alone if you are struggling to find resources to help you answer questions or complete work tasks quickly and easily. You know that the data is likely to exist and perhaps there is even a report created by a colleague or campus unit that will provide you with what you need. Where is the information? How can it be accessed without extensive technical expertise?
This vexing issue is being tackled at the system and campus levels by various committees. We hope that over time more flexible and commonly accepted reports and data tools will be made widely available. In the meantime, one practical solution is to use the Data Services Center (DSC), created by Applied Technologies for Learning in the Arts & Sciences (ATLAS), to discover data and reports, and share your own data and reports with campus colleagues.
Anyone with a NetID can log into the DSC to quickly access data and reports they have access to and discover other data sources available across campus.
Features have been built into the system allowing users to create a favorite list, access recently or frequently accessed reports, set preferences to be notified of new reports in interested areas, and receive targeted messages and announcements from data providers. Contact information for each report is noted on the Discovery card for the data. See the landing page example below.
DSC is crowdsourcing data and reports to improve offerings. The DSC allows any interested data provider on campus to ‘register’ data they have available. Each data provider controls what they want to register, and there are no limitations on what format the data is in or where it resides. ATLAS DSC allows for limited or restricted access to a report depending upon its registration settings. If you know of useful data sources that should be registered or are a data provider interested in knowing more about registering your own data, contact MLRome@illinois.edu.
General information about ATLAS DSC is available on the ATLAS website. Look for an announcement of a DSC demo sponsored by the Business IT Collaboration in the future.