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Jim Harris
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Blogger-in-Chief at Obsessive-Compulsive Data Quality (OCDQ)

Jim Harris is a recognized data quality thought leader with 25 years of enterprise data management industry experience. Jim is an independent consultant, speaker, and freelance writer. Jim is the Blogger-in-Chief at Obsessive-Compulsive Data Quality, an independent blog offering a vendor-neutral perspective on data quality and its related disciplines, including data governance, master data management, and business intelligence.

Data Management
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Data quality to "DI" for

There is a time and a place for everything, but the time and place for data quality (DQ) in data integration (DI) efforts always seems like a thing everyone’s not quite sure about. I have previously blogged about the dangers of waiting until the middle of DI to consider, or become forced

Data Management
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Data governance and analytics

The intersection of data governance and analytics doesn’t seem to get discussed as often as its intersection with data management, where data governance provides the guiding principles and context-specific policies that frame the processes and procedures of data management. The reason for this is not, as some may want to

Data Management
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Analyzing the data lake

In my previous post I used junk drawers as an example of the downside of including more data in our analytics just in case it helps us discover more insights only to end up with more flotsam than findings. In this post I want to float some thoughts about a two-word concept

Data Management
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Hadoop is not Beetlejuice

In the 1988 film Beetlejuice, the title character, hilariously portrayed by Michael Keaton, is a bio exorcist (a ghost capable of scaring the living) hired by a recently deceased couple in an attempt to scare off the new owners of their house. Beetlejuice is summoned by saying his name three times. (Beetlejuice. Beetlejuice. Beetlejuice.) Nowadays

Data Management
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Crowdsourcing data improvement: Part 3

In this blog series, I am exploring if it’s wise to crowdsource data improvement, and if the power of the crowd can enable organizations to incorporate better enterprise data quality practices. In Part 1, I provided a high-level definition of crowdsourcing and explained that while it can be applied to a wide range of projects

Data Management
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Crowdsourcing data improvement: Part 2

In this blog series, I am exploring if it’s wise to crowdsource data improvement, and if the power of the crowd can enable organizations to incorporate better enterprise data quality practices. In Part 1, I provided a high-level definition of crowdsourcing and explained that while it can be applied to a wide range of projects

Data Management
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Data steward is a tough role to play

In my previous post I explained that even if your organization does not have anyone with data steward as their official job title, data stewardship plays a crucial role in data governance and data quality. Let’s assume that this has inspired you to formally make data steward an official job title. How

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As the butter churns in Bangladesh

“Correlation does not imply causation” is a saying commonly heard in science and statistics emphasizing that a correlation between two variables does not necessarily imply that one variable causes the other. One example of this is the relationship between rain and umbrellas. People buy more umbrellas when it rains. This

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A seasonal perspective on a single version of the truth

Yesterday was one of the two times a year that an equinox occurs. From its Latin roots, the term equinox translates as equal night since, on the day of an equinox, daytime and night are of approximately equal duration. This occurs because during an equinox the Sun is aligned with the center of the

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Errors, lies, and big data

My previous post pondered the term disestimation, coined by Charles Seife in his book Proofiness: How You’re Being Fooled by the Numbers to warn us about understating or ignoring the uncertainties surrounding a number, mistaking it for a fact instead of the error-prone estimate that it really is. Sometimes this fact appears to

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The Chicken Man versus the Data Scientist

In my previous post Sisyphus didn’t need a fitness tracker, I recommended that you only collect, measure and analyze big data if it helps you make a better decision or change your actions. Unfortunately, it’s difficult to know ahead of time which data will meet that criteria. We often, therefore, collect, measure and analyze

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Sisyphus didn’t need a fitness tracker

In his pithy style, Seth Godin’s recent blog post Analytics without action said more in 32 words than most posts say in 320 words or most white papers say in 3200 words. (For those counting along, my opening sentence alone used 32 words). Godin’s blog post, in its entirety, stated: “Don’t measure

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Data science versus narrative psychology

My previous post explained how confirmation bias can prevent you from behaving like the natural data scientist you like to imagine you are by driving your decision making toward data that confirms your existing beliefs. This post tells the story of another cognitive bias that works against data science. Consider the following scenario: Company-wide

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Can data change an already made up mind?

Nowadays we hear a lot about how important it is that we are data-driven in our decision-making. We also hear a lot of criticism aimed at those that are driven more by intuition than data. Like most things in life, however, there’s a big difference between theory and practice. It’s

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Bring the noise, boost the signal

Many people, myself included, occasionally complain about how noisy big data has made our world. While it is true that big data does broadcast more signal, not just more noise, we are not always able to tell the difference. Sometimes what sounds like meaningless background static is actually a big insight. Other times

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The ethics of algorithmic regulation

In my last three posts on data ethics, I explored a few of the ethical dilemmas in our data-driven world. From examining the ethical practices of free internet service providers to the problem of high-frequency trading, I’ve come to realize the depth and complexity of these issues. Anyone who's aware of these

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The low ethics of high-frequency trading

Imagine if your ability to feed your family depended upon how fast you could run. Imagine the aisles of your grocery store as lanes on a running track. If you can outrun your fellow shoppers, grab food off the shelves and race through the checkout at the finish line, then