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Data Visualisation Websites and Sharing Data

Jim sent me a message earlier today about a new data visualisation website that he had discovered: StatCrunch. When I took a look at this site, I encountered an appeal for people to upload and share their data, which struck a familiar chord. It seems that all of these web-based visualisation tools make a similar appeal. This certainly is true of Swivel, Data360 and Many Eyes.

Thinking back to an earlier era, statistical package vendors always included some data with their software. I remember Minitab shipping a variety of data files with its program. To some extent, data have been used to market products. However, now it seems that all these new visualization tools are getting into data repository services as part of their promotion strategy. I'm not a fan of this approach. Instead of each new tool site building its own data repository, I wish the vendors would promote the establishment and use of open data repositories. Encourage people to share their data with services that are foremost data services and not software services.

- Chuck Humphrey


At the recent ESDS

At the recent ESDS International Conference I spoke to representatives from both OECD and IMF. They emphasized that such utilities are just one of many options being explored by NGO's for data analysis and visualization. They reported that usage figures for their data via such visualization tools were very low and indeed they were also of the opinion that as vehicles for the dissemination and analysis of macro-level data they were poor relations to standard web-delivery mechanisms. As a result both OECD and IMF are investing time and money into their own visualization tools, namely: OECD Country Statistical Profiles (OECD statistics in SDMX); IMF Data Mapper.

This trend also concerns me

This trend also concerns me because it is not clear that these repository activities are actually fully functioning in terms of preservation. What happens to the data when the next fun visualization site takes over? I know that some agencies such as the OECD are using these sites to present official statistics. I'd be curious to know if there is an arrangement between OECD and the visualization site to do any true long term storage, curation, maintenance, preservation work.

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