University Libraries.

Topics in Public Policy: Big Data

The management and aggregation of big data is crucial across fields of study and raises both legal and ethical questions in regards to how it is used and stored. If you're interested in how public policy defines and is impacted by big data, keep reading! Dewey has a sweeping collection of resources on big data to assist you in your research.

What is Big Data?

Data has been collected and processed for centuries, but it was only recently that we were able to collect and store data on a large scale. Big data has a variety of definitions depending on the focus or field, but the 2014 White House report on big data notes that "Most definitions reflect the growing technological ability to capture, aggregate, and process an ever-greater volume, velocity, and variety of data" while big datasets are often "generated from instruments, sensors, Internet transactions, email, video, click streams, and/or all other digital sources available today and in the future."

Research Assistance

If you're interested in finding studies using big data for public policy, you might want to check out the ICPSR database where you can search for specific types of public policy data and limit by data format, geographical location, and the subject of the study. You can also use Data Planet to find datasets for specific field through their search feature, or you can browse by subject and narrow down to your specific focus.

Databases and Helpful Links

Books and eBooks Available at the University Libraries

  • Aggarwal, A. (Ed.) (2016). Managing big data integration in the public sector. Hershey, PA: Information Science Reference.
    Online / JK468.A8 M28 2016 WWW
  • Ceron, A., & Curini, L. (2017). Politics and big data: Nowcasting and forecasting elections with social media. New York, NY: Routledge.
    University Library /
  • Karpf, D. (2016). Analytic activism: Digital listening and the new political strategy. New York, NY: Oxford University Press.
  • Tomar, G., Chaudhari, N.S., Bhadoria, R.S., & Deka, G.C. (Eds.). (2017). The human element of big data: Issues, analytics, and performance. Boca Raton, Fl: CRC Press.
    Online / QA76.9.B45 H86 2017 WWW
  • Vollenweider, M. (2017). Mind+machine: A decision model for optimizing and implementing analytics. Hoboken, NJ: Wiley.
    Online / HD30.213 .V65 2017

Need Additional Assistance?

Help is available! Contact Cathy Dwyer, Subject Librarian for Public Policy, at (518) 442-3699 or - or drop by during Cathy's office hours, held weekly on Mondays from 4-7pm.

Blog Created By: Kristen Thornton-De Stafeno
Image Credit: Pixabay

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