Already a member?

Sign In
Syndicate content

world bank

World Bank Results At A Glance - iPhone/iPad/iPod Touch

The World Bank has developed an iPhone/iPad/etc application called "World Bank Results at a Glance". These results are indicators related to either UN Millenium Development Goals (where the World Bank has partnered with the UN) or outcomes from exclusively World Bank projects.

The application has 450 indicators for 85 countries. Users can

  • Search and browse over 450 results profiles by
  • country name or coordinates
  • more than 30 topics
  • over 300 keywords, including “roads,” “food security,” “job creation,” and more
  • Millennium Development Goals
  • Save and share stories
  • View a graphic timeline of key World Bank results and milestones
  • Read relevant background about the World Bank’s results initiatives
  • See Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) about the Bank itself, shedding light on the modern workings of the institution
  • Gain access to multiple PDFs in multiple languages related to quick results facts, country statistics, and background on the Bank’s initiatives, all exportable to iBooks
  • View project images and videos

This tool joins three other World Bank applications which cover indicators (DataFinder), nformation (InfoFinder) and doing business around the world (Doing Business at a Glance). All are free via the iTunes store.

As the owner of an Android phone & an iPad who works in an office in which wireless signals go to die, I have mixed feelings about and limited experience with these applications. I suspect I'd find an Android version of all of the applications useful as I use my phone for both work and personal purposes. If it were easy to do so, I'd probably answer reference questions using a World Bank application from my phone.

My iPad is a purely personal toy which is why I have yet to try any of these tools on it - watching movies, reading books and playing Civilization all come first there. However, the iPad, with a bigger screen, might well be a good match to data displays.

An interesting element in the Results application is the "Random" feature. Since I'm working from screenshots, I'm not entirely sure of the function, but then, even if I had the software installed, I still would question the usefulness of the "Random" results feature. If there's one thing that mobile technology supports, it's task-driven activities and a random result doesn't seem to fit that model. On the other hand, I also spent a half an hour poking around an application for the US Congress last night with no particular purpose or task in mind. It's entirely possible that the target audience for this application is just as likely as I am to engage in similarly non-task-driven explorations.

I hope that the World Bank continues its admirable efforts to walk the walk on open data - by not just making it free online with multiple methods of access for all kinds of users, but also available across user devices. I also hope that they begin to release Android-compatible applications so that more of us can make use of the data in more contexts.

World Bank Launches New Data Website Rich with Features and Newly Free Data

The World Bank has just launched a new Data website that is densely packed with newly free data and features for using the data which are appropriate to all levels of users.

Users may browse by country, topic, indicator or listing in the data catalog.  The World Bank says that access is now freely available for over 2000 indicators from 1960-present. In comparison, the most recent version of World Development Indicators, a licensed version of their data sold to academic libraries, contained just over 900 indicators.

For users in need of single facts or simple visualizations, the Data site is an attractive, easy to use tool.  For users wishing to generate time series, pages on the Data site include links to the newdataBank tool. 

dataBank contains the databases World Development Indicators & Global Development Finance, Gender Statistics, Health Nutrition and Population Statistics, Africa Development Indicators, Global Economic Monitor (GEM), and Millenium Development Goals.  It uses the same software  as the WDI Online product, so there’s no additional learning curve for institutions which have previously subscribed to WDI Online.

The Data site supports direct downloads of data for most datasets and databases. The Data site also provides access to APIs for developers who wish to create customized presentations of the World Bank’s data.

Given that many users will wish to copy and paste the simple visualizations at the Data site, it’s a shame that the visualizations can’t be copied and pasted.

However, this is a minor quibble with an otherwise very promising approach to data.  The World Bank has clearly thought about how to meet the needs of different user groups and the results show it.  In launching this site, the World Bank has also made a strong statement in support of open data - even to the extent of eliminating the revenue stream from WDI Online subscriptions.  This is a rare move in the information world and worthy of praise.

  • IASSIST Quarterly

    Publications Special issue: A pioneer data librarian
    Welcome to the special volume of the IASSIST Quarterly (IQ (37):1-4, 2013). This special issue started as exchange of ideas between Libbie Stephenson and Margaret Adams to collect


  • Resources


    A space for IASSIST members to share professional resources useful to them in their daily work. Also the IASSIST Jobs Repository for an archive of data-related position descriptions. more...

  • community

    • LinkedIn
    • Facebook
    • Twitter

    Find out what IASSISTers are doing in the field and explore other avenues of presentation, communication and discussion via social networking and related online social spaces. more...