These pages will bring together the material from the unit on Data Sources and the unit on Open Source and Free Software. The material is divided into five sections: 1) downloading data using the databases; 2) using data from the data bases with open source and commercial software;3) online training; 4) data issues and 5)strategies for operating without the Internet or in very low bandwidth areas. These sections are still under development.
Downloading Data: This section provides information and links to training material on using the main international data bases to download data. Training specific to this website will be developed if suitable material is not available online. The main sites reviewed will be the World Bank, the UN, FAO and the UN Census International data base. Important sources with serious ease of use issues such as UNAIDS, WHO and WFP will also be considered. Click here.
Working With Data: This section will consider a number of issues, including manipulating raw data from the online data sources to make it suitable for use in spreadsheets, databases and other application software. Using data from two or more databases to develop reports. It will also link to or provide training material on using open source and other software to develop structured spreadsheets, useful graphics (for example population pyramids) as well as providing links to training on other software identified by this site. Click here.
Online Courses: Getting data and even manipulating it are one thing, but it is often necessary to have a detailed knowledge of the subject matter or mathematics, statistics to really understand what you are doing. In the past few years many universities have started making coursework available free on line. One "school" the Khan Academy provides free short online courses on a wide number of subjects in 28 languages. For links to the Khan Academy and other institutions which provide free courses such as Harvard and Stanford Universities click here.
Data Issues: While many of the international organizations have provided free access to reams of data, there are still problems in linking data from one organization to that of another, particularly when data bases are being used to develop material for more than one country. These issues will be examined in some detail. Click here.
Implementation, coping without the Internet: Most application software is developed under the assumption that the user will not only have an Internet connection, but a relatively fast one. Ubuntu is easily installed from a DVD (or a CD or USB drive) but the installation media still has to be downloaded. This section will deal with possible solutions to developing a working information technology environment is areas with no or poor interent connections and possibly unreliable power supplies. Click here.