Archive of: data

  • The power of metadata

    Two Way Street is a fantastic example of what you can do with good metadata around objects. Built by the team at Good, Form & Spectacle it allows you to explore the British Museum collection by multiple facets, including acquisition date, acquisition source, type, material, techniques, and many more.

  • The future of the library and librarians

    The librarian isn’t a clerk who happens to work at a library. A librarian is a data hound, a guide, a sherpa and a teacher. The librarian is the interface between reams of data and the untrained but motivated user.


    We need librarians more than we ever did. What we don’t need are mere clerks who guard dead paper. Librarians are too important to be a dwindling voice in our culture. For the right librarian, this is the chance of a lifetime.

    Seth Godin on the future of the library.

  • The open web and data silos

    The mistake my VC friends make is they think it’s either/or. Either you support the open web and are a charity, or you build a silo, monetize it, and get rich. What really happens is that the silos are eventually undermined by the open web.

    From Dave Winer. More good stuff in his post on what is actually meant by the “open web”.

  • Not a subset of the data. All of it

    With Flickr you can get out, via the API, every single piece of information you put into the system.

    Every photo, in every size, plus the completely untouched original. (which we store for you indefinitely, whether or not you pay us) Every tag, every comment, every note, every people tag, every fave. Also your stats, view counts, and referers.

    Not the most recent N, not a subset of the data. All of it.

    It’s your data, and you’ve granted us a limited license to use it.
    Additionally we provide a moderately competently built API that allows you to access your data at rates roughly 500x faster then the rate that will get you banned from Twitter.

    Asking people to accept anything else is sharecropping. It’s a bad deal. Flickr helped pioneer “Web 2.0″, and personal data ownership is a key piece of that vision. Just because the wider public hasn’t caught on yet to all the nuances around data access, data privacy, data ownership, and data fidelity, doesn’t mean you shouldn’t be embarrassed to be failing to deliver a quality product.

    Data access, doing it right the Flickr way.

  • Synchronised swimming manual

    Synchronised swimming manual

    No, I’m not taking it up as a pastime, but a friend who knows I’m a bit of an information geek showed me these manuals from her synchronised swimming days. I’m fascinated by the language and symbols that different disciplines have to share the "how" of what they are.

    (Taken with a mobile phone, hence the poor quality. I’ve tried to clean them up best I can)

  • Volumes of data

    2.3 million photos with location data were uploaded to Flickr this month; 95,634,285 in total. That’s according to Brady Forrest’s post over at O’Reilly Radar on the appearance of Flickr photos on Google Street View.

    2.3 million in one month!

  • Flickr and neighbourhood

    Have you ever wondered what Flickr does with all that geolocation data it gathers from our pictures (apart from pinning them to a map and working out the ratio of kittens to sunsets in a given area)? Well one of the things it does is is generate shapefiles of regional neighbourhoods to better work out where your picture was taken.

    Now Tom Taylor has built a tool which allows you to visualise the boundaries of these neighbourhoods and see how Flickr views your part of the world.

    Cool stuff.

  • Creating leverage at the data layer

    Matt McAlister examines what it means to be part of the web of data:

    It’s not about posting data to a domain and figuring out how to get people there to consume it. It’s about being the best data source or the best data aggregator no matter how people make use of it in the end.

    Nate Koechley has a great companion piece entitled Data Ocean vs Document Lake.