Tools For Success At WVWC

Finding the information you need in life is not always going to be as easy as doing a quick web search on Google or Bing. This is especially true when it comes to doing research for any serious or academic purpose. When writing pieces of this nature it is vital that your facts and data come from a trusted academic source. This ensures that you avoid using any information that may have been falsified or simply be the result of a sub-par study.

When you need to find reputable sources the best place to go is your school’s library, and ask one of the kind librarians at the desk for some assistance using their databases. In my experience, the workers in libraries tend to be very kindhearted and helpful. Here at Wesleyan, our library is known as the Anne Marie Pfieffer Library. At the AMP, there is a very kind lady who is in charge of assisting students with these databases named Beth Rogers. She has knowledge on just about all of the databases our school has access to, and the ones she does not know how to use, she can put you in contact with the proper people. You can also go to her for advice on which of the multiple databases would be most useful in finding information related to a specific area.

Pictured below is a list of all the great people in the AMP dedicated to helping students:

wvwclibrary

Everything You Do Is Data

When was the last time you went more than half a day without using your computer, smartphone, Ipod, or any other electronic device that sends and receives information? If you are like the majority of Americans i bet you can’t even remember the last time you spent any amount of significant time offline, yet alone off the grid. Every time we turn on a light, search for a flight, swipe a credit or debit card we are sending valuable data out.

This data, when interpreted, can provide  extremely useful information for every aspect of life. Collecting flight data on the most popular times and places to fly allow the airline companies to set their prices based on predicted demand and also help ensure they offer their flights to destinations people will want to go. Electric companies are able to analyze the data on which areas use more or less energy and what times they use the most energy to ensure that there is ample power supplied to the aforementioned areas at the appropriate times. Civil engineers use the data you provide on how you drive, where you drive, and when you drive to better design roadways and traffic systems. Every search made on the internet provides marketing agencies with data on products and information on the individual and makes ads based on the searcher’s interests. There is almost nothing you can do in a modern day to day life that won’t send out data that can be used to change the world piece by piece.

Big Data is also being used every day to help make the health care industry more efficient and more understandable. Big Data Revolution, a documentary by PBS explains that data can and has been used to predict an influenza outbreak. Predicting outbreaks like this help medical professionals prepare and get out a warning. Data is also helping scientists understand genetics, genetic diseases, and find those who are at a greater risk of contracting genetic based diseases.

While technology has made the environment for collecting data easier for people who intend to use it, it has brought up some ethical questions. For example, is it ethical for companies to sell your personal purchasing history, or address, or phone number, or any information about their customers. Even if companies are ethical and do not distribute data, it is still kept on record and is possible of being hacked and/or stolen as we saw recently with Target. There have also been debates over how much data the Government should have access to. The NSA collects data and information on practically everyone in the country, whether it be your personal text messages or your credit and debit card purchasing history. There are those who believe this to be a good thing for society, and that it is meant to keep us safe from threats to our nation, but is it really a good thing that the government is so involved in our lives? Our nation was founded by brave, diplomatic, philosophical, ingenious men who believed that the federal government should have minimal powers and rights in order to protect the freedoms that every individual should have. Over the past two decades the federal government has gained more and more power and influence over the nation. While security of our great nation is vital, we must be careful of how much power we let the federal government obtain.