Digging into data

A pile of Lego blocks, of assorted colours and...
Image via Wikipedia

The week after next I’ll be at the BBC College of Journalism’s awayday to do a brief turn on future trends in an attempt to signpost some potential training needs for BBC staff.

Data journalism is looming large on my radar as demands grow for greater openness and accountability from government and businesses in all spheres of life.

Rufus Pollock, one of the founders of the Open Knowledge Foundation, has just built a new site called Get the Data which aims to help users get started on finding the information they want, in the format they want, and on ways to use it.

It’s a bit like Wikipedia meets Quora – it’s a Q&A site for data-related topics in which both questions and answers can be revised and improved according to moderation rights that individuals earn from the data community.

Scraperwiki is a Beta site also trying to help people make sense of data via an online tool to make the process simple and collaborative.

It likens data retrieval to “trying to build something from Lego when someone has hidden the bricks all over town and you have to find them before you can start building”.


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