Diane interviewed by OpenFile Ottawa


As the open data trend gets going, residents of cities across Canada are making sense of all kinds of counts of their activities over time.  I think this local sensemaking is super interesting, and I like that comparisons (e.g., over time and between cities) can be made.   

The brief article I’m interviewed in was written after the top 10 selected baby names for Ottawa residents from 2005-2009 were “opened. “

The article describes new parents’ debating between choosing common names and more individualizing ones for their children.  My comments are based on interviews I undertook for my dissertation; I found that for people who migrate to Canada or who are second generation Canadians, even very popular names from other countries could be challenging to use at school and work in Canada.





Sadder, wiser modern [American] parents

Below, an interesting note about what seems to a North American trend in naming children. How does this compare to naming in other cultures?

Sadder, wiser modern parents

“Drawing on a vast store of baby name statistics, Laura Wattenberg of the Baby Name Wizard website highlights a sea change in the way we name our babies,” says The Boston Globe. “A century ago, we regularly named our children after important people; today, we rarely do. In 1896, for example, William Jennings Bryan lost the presidential election – and yet one in every 2,400 babies born was named Jennings or Bryan, putting both names in the top 300 for that year. William McKinley spawned a wave of McKinleys around the turn of the century. The effect wasn’t confined to politics. … Nowadays, Wattenberg explains, we’re far more cautious about naming our children after famous people. In the past, you could expect a spike in little Roosevelts or Hardings even while the big ones were still in office. Today, we wait until a president’s reputation has been decided; that’s why there are lots of little Reagans and Carters, but relatively few Clintons or Baracks. Similarly, we no longer like naming our kids after present-day celebrities, preferring Ava (fifth last year) to Angelina (86th). We used to indulge in ‘frank, public admiration,’ Wattenberg writes. Since then, we’ve wised up.”

from the Globe & Mail’s “Social Studies” on July 27th, 2011