Data Rescue Houston to convene at Fondren Library March 4

Programmers, librarians, scientists, students, archivists, technologists and other volunteers will gather at Rice University’s Fondren Library March 4 for Data Rescue Houston, an event to identify, download and help preserve federal online data resources with the goal of protecting the public interest and ensuring the long-term accessibility of these resources.

Credit: University

“The ultimate goal is to raise awareness of the importance of access to federal information and to preserve this information,” said Lisa Spiro, executive director of digital scholarship services at Fondren and one of the organizers of the event. She said these are values of critical importance for libraries and higher education, which makes Rice a fitting host.

The event is part of a national effort led by Libraries Network, the Environmental Data and Governance Initiative and Data Refuge, a project being spearheaded by the library system and environmental humanities program at the University of Pennsylvania.

“We decided to join the Data Rescue efforts after the Association of Research Libraries, working in collaboration with Data Refuge, invited libraries to contribute to collaborative efforts to download and archive at-risk federal datasets,” Spiro said. “Since we were aware that some Rice researchers were concerned about continued access to federal datasets, and since as a library we are committed to access to and preservation of information, we jumped in and began organizing the event in collaboration with colleagues at Rice, University of Houston Libraries and in the Houston community.”

Co-hosted by Fondren Library, Rice’s Ken Kennedy Institute for Information Technology, Office of Information Technology and Center for Civic Leadership as well as University of Houston Libraries and Sketch City, the event will be held in the library’s Kyle Morrow Room and is free and open to the public. The event has reached capacity, but those interested in participating can sign up for the wait list at

Fondren’s Kelley Center for Government Information, Data and Geospatial Services, which serves as a federal depository library for the 7th Congressional District of Texas (western Harris County), provides free and effective public access to government information, including patents and trademarks.

About Jeff Falk

Jeff Falk is director of national media relations in Rice University's Office of Public Affairs.