Tim Berners Lee- Democratizing raw data to tackle social issues

May 12, 2010 at 2:39 pm 2 comments

Videos have subtitles/ videos con subtítulos

Tim Berners-Lee
, the creator of the World Wide Web, in his 2009 TED talk called ON THE NEXT WEB, indicated that opening data to ordinary people might be the answer to major problems we face in society, such as health or economy. He was referring to liberating linked “raw” data collected by governments, scientists and communities. The major claim he does is:

“Open your raw data now”

[read it thinking on the John Lennon’s song “Power to the People”]
On 2010, he gave another TED talk: THE YEAR THE DATA WENT WORLDWIDE, but this time; he showed what individuals did with that disseminated raw data. The examples he showed had to do with individuals picking up that data and mapping it out on wikis, to solve a variety of problems. One of the most impacting examples was the use that the web community gave to geographical satellite information of Haiti liberated by Geo Eye, a private company, when this  Caribbean country was hit by an earthquake. It didn’t take such a long time for individuals to go in the wiki site of Open Street Map and edit the map of Port au Prince. This real-time remote help aided the rescuers and relief groups to inform their actions for effectiveness in acting towards the catastrophe. And a lot of this has to do with what Berner calls: Linked Data.

On the other hand we can break “data silos” by using the principle of linked Data. The concept of “Linked Data“entails data published on the web that it is “explicitly defined” [able to be read by a machine] and that it can be related automatically with external data sets, and vice versa [Bizer, Heath, Berners-Lee, 2009].  According to Berners-Lee, this kind of data is powerful due to its connections as they provide a base to embrace information in associative ways. The authors of the article: “Linked Data: the story so far” [Ibid, 2009] provide a visual diagram that is very similar to what Gowin and Novak have defined as a concept map. Through this powerful but simple visualize diagram, they socialize their concept, which in words might be easier to understand for a computer scientist than for an ordinary individual. Berners-Lee definition of linked data entails a whole new world for humans to make sense of information.

These two videos portray a new generation of addressing social issues by empowerment…DON’T BE A DATA HUGGER


Entry filed under: Data, Social Design, Visualization.

Design Thinking-reporting from Stanford Designing for ubiquity-mobile apps for social innovation

2 Comments Add your own

  • 1. JB  |  May 14, 2010 at 5:37 am

    I couldn’t agree more strongly with Berners-Lee. Regardingd official data, governments should treat citizens as clients who pay (taxes) for the collection of that data and publish it for free in the internet. Of course there are some justified exceptions, but I believe for most cases the only reason that explains this is not done is lack of practice. The internet is still too new for some, which is a shame…

  • […] in previous posts like the one on “opening raw data”, concept that was put forward by Tim Berners Lee in his Ted Talk: “The Year the Data went Worldwide”[2010] and made real by institutions […]


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contact + citing (CC license)

Constanza Miranda PhD(c) design.anthro
* Currently @ DILAB
* Ex.VR @ Stanford's Center for Design Research [DesignXLab]
* Ex.Instructor @ PUC Chile [Design+Engineering]
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Design for Social Innovation initiative by Constanza Miranda is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 United States License.
Based on a work at www.innovacionsocial.cl.

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