You Know You Love Data…

~ posted by Ann G.

Or, if you don’t now, we can help you become the best kind of data geek!  Even if all you do is read news articles, in print or online, you need discerning data skills, to know what to believe.  Data is also behind many of the cool apps we use on our mobile devices.  The library is hosting an awesome program on October 13 (at 6 pm downtown), called From Data to Action: Open Data and You,” where you can start thinking about data, how to use it and how it might fit into your life (and how some Seattle developers created cool apps!).  We hope you’ll join us!

And, what do we mean when we say, “data”?  Is it the same as statistics?  Well, not exactly…generally, data is what you enter into your spreadsheet, and statistics are the charts and conclusions that you make after you whisper to the data and it tells you its secrets (better known as data analysis).  Statistics are what we see every day in news stories.  Here are a few festive guides to dipping a toe into the glorious world of numbers and statistics!

Photo credit: John C Bullas on Flickr
Photo credit: John C Bullas on Flickr

You can start with cartoons and manga.  They will help you ease in to understanding even tough concepts by explaining them in relatable ways.  The Manga Guide to Statistics follows Rui, who is “introduced to statistics with heart-pounding excitement” as she and her tutor Yamamoto travel through probability, distribution, and tests of independence—as well as, eventually, love.  Great art and humor make this a great starting place!  (There are also many more manga guides in our collection, from physics to calculus to molecular biology).  Another option is The Cartoon Introduction to Statistics, which features “dragon-riding Vikings, lizard-throwing giants, and feuding aliens”.  Nothing wrong with that!

There are also books like Statistics Demystified, which is true to its title and also part of a series, and Math for the Non-Math Lovers (which is in our Safari Tech e-book collection, which has our most up to date technical material and is easy to just read on any device, laptop or computer screen without downloading any software).   You can even come into the library and see a tutor if you want to go over this with someone!  Whatever the case, knowing more about statistics gives you power.  Grab it!

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