Social Software – The engine behind effective data sharing

This article about the New Zealand Ministry of Fisheries’ new website,  in conjunction with some background research I’m doing for a client triggered me to think about how Social software could be in generating a community around data sharing. 

There are, worldwide, a large number of companies and agencies that struggle to share data in a cohesive manner.  For example, in the recent UK government report – ‘Digital Britian’, section 8, points 38 – 45 talk about a need to create a single point of access for all public UK datasets.   The principles being Open Information, Open Innovation, Open Discussion and Open Feedback.  The UK government is heavily committed to deliver this vision and to this extent the Prime Minister announced on 10 June 2009 that Sir Tim Berners-Lee will form a panel of technical and delivery experts to deliver better use of public data.

The New Zealand Ministry of Fisheries is using a product from Telligent to create a community around the provision of fisheries data.  This warrented further investigation and i’ve found that there is a Gartner Magic Quadrant for Social Software.  A few other companies also look like they provide some credible software solutions for community collaboration, Atlassian and Jive Software.

I’m certainly going to keep my eye on the Minsitry of Fisheries news so i can check out the site when it is finally launched, but i can also see big benefits for my client in exploring how a Social software based solution could increase the effectiveness of the usage of their data. 

In my mind having a Social software solution as the single point of access to datasets, and the associated community that it creates around it could be a big leap forward in data sharing.  Just think how much easier and fun it would be to have a community help you find and use data.  Maybe this is a killer app that Facebook and others have been looking for. 

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About Andy Painter

A passionate Information and Data Architect with experience of the financial services industry, Andy’s background spans pharmaceuticals, publishing, e-commerce, retail banking and insurance, but always with a focus on data. One of Andy’s principle philosophies is that data is a key business asset.
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