Swivel’s profile

With more experience and more data the profile of Swivel becomes more and more elaborated. In a recent presentation confronting old and new forms of data presentation this profile shows up and gives us some important hints.
Here is a condensed version of Sara Wood’s presentation. The full Swivel presentation (6.4MB) is here.

– Problems with (official) statistical sources

problem 1
• no effective way to know what datasets exist in the public domain on a particular topic.

problem 2
• even if one can identify which data exist on a topic; a different standard is often used for reporting, different data architecture and different ways to describe data set documentation

problem 3
• some data that make it to the public domain are only in the public domain temporarily.
• the organization that collected the data may not support the data archive except for a short period of time.

problem 4
• enormous volumes of data are only available in inaccessible formats – – hardcopy from government annual reports or statistical digests that have never been digitized – custom built web applications which renders data in set formats or structure.

problem 5
• many datasets are collected but never put in the public domain.
• the reasons include; extra costs and effort of putting the data in a public archive, providing documentation and the tendency for some groups to see datasets as their personal property.”

– Technological chances today

” How are computers made intuitive?
old answer wizard
new answersurfing

what do you do with your computer?
old answer run software
new answer meet people, collaborate

where do you discuss ideas?
old answer PowerPoint meeting
new answer Internet

when do you get useful features?
old answer software release cycle
new answer web speed

web site solutions
old answer we’ll build it ourselves
new answer value comes from community.”

– And (in conclusion)

” What’s in it for int’l agencies?
(a few ideas)
• meet mandate of broader dissemination: new & different audience
• legal framework for encouraging creativity
• metrics on your data and how it is used
• develop community, dialogue and feedback
• better and more creative data stewardship
• data cleaning, standardization, visualizations and more ”

” Swivel’s mission: make data useful so people share insights, make great decisions and improve life.”

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