The purpose of this paper is to understand the social impact of data on communities from cases of community data utilization.
This study took an interpretive qualitative approach and conducted a semi-structured phone interview with 45 participants from data intermediaries and local community organizations.
The results demonstrate both direct and indirect impacts of data on local levels, including resolving local problems from data-driven decisions, realizing unknown problems or correcting misrepresented problems, changing community data practices, strengthening community identity and enhancing the community’s data skills.
The research shows that communities’ data utilization supported community-led actions and initiatives from the bottom-up perspective, which demonstrates the need for supporting communities’ data work.
Minimizing inequality in data utilization should be resolved so that all communities can benefit from the power of data.
By demonstrating evidence of data being critical to encouraging communities’ data utilization, this study fills the gap in existing research, which lacks a clear explanation for how the potential of data can be realized at the local level.
This project was funded by the Institute of Museum and Library Services (No. LG-96-17-0184-17). The authors also wish to express their thanks to the nine data intermediary organizations for their help with data collection and to Paula McNally for her help with initial data analysis.
Yoon, A. and Copeland, A. (2019), "Understanding social impact of data on local communities", Aslib Journal of Information Management, Vol. 71 No. 4, pp. 558-567. https://doi.org/10.1108/AJIM-12-2018-0310
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