Working with Chicago Data (part 1)

We are still talking a lot of data at North Park – in particular Chicago data. So I’m going to start getting my hands dirty working with this data to build capacity for future partnerships with faculty and students. So here is the first in what I hope to be many installments of the “Working with Chicago Data” series.

Mapping Chicago’s Grocery Stores

First step: Download data from the Chicago Data Portal ( I’m using the Grocery Store 2013 dataset for this example.

Grocery Stores – 2013

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The data itself seems pretty clean and well formatted. I’m going to use Tableau for this example because that’s the tool I’m learning right now. I opened Tableau and imported the spreadsheet from the Chicago Data Portal. I ended up creating 4 different visualizations based on this data.

The first is a map of grocery store locations. It uses the latitude and longitude from the dataset to create points. Pretty standard and vanilla.

These next map is much more interesting. It takes into account the size of the store (measured in square footage) and codes that as size and color. Larger stores have larger, darker circles.

The last two maps were just variations on the second map. One version filtered out “small stores” that were less than 10,000 square feet. The other filtered out stores with the work “liquor” in the title. On a technical levels, these filters were easy to apply. However, I’m completely aware of the cultural assumptions I’m bringing to bear here. When I (white, affluent, middle class) think about a grocery store I think about a large store that doesn’t have the word “liquor” in the title.

That’s that! It was pretty easy to get this data and put it to use in the form of a map. I used Tableau here but I could also use Excel (with the power map add) or a more specialized tool like ArcGIS.

In terms of next steps or extensions:

  1. It would be interesting to compare results using a different tool. Might be good to showcase the basic steps for using each tool.
  2. It would be very interesting to add neighborhood boundaries and/or other information such as demographic information and/or economic status. I’ll have to look at ways to incorporate this data.
  3. It would also be very interesting to combine this data with user feedback like Yelp reviews.

Personal Reflections on Pietism

Through my role on the Commission on Covenant History, I was able to bring Dr. Chris Gehrz to campus for a lecture and a faculty discussion. It was a wonderful set of events and has re-invigorated by exploration of pietism and libraries. Perhaps it would be more fair to say this lecture reinvigorated an exploration a pietism and my personal life…and I hope that I’m able to connect these thoughts to my professional calling as a librarian!

He started his lecture by telling “his story” so I’ve decided to start in the same place – but telling my “stories” of pietism. In reading his book – The Pietist Vision of Higher Education – and over the course of the lecture and faculty discussion, I’ve been able to reframe several key events in my educational past through the pietist lens of  “transformation” or “re-birth.” So I’ll try and capture these memories using the language and spirit of pietism. Continue reading “Personal Reflections on Pietism”