[okfn-labs] Frictionless Data Vision and Roadmap

Matthew Fullerton matt.fullerton at gmail.com
Wed Jan 22 23:02:47 UTC 2014

I really like the vision. I could work on the Google Spreadsheets


On 21 January 2014 15:03, Rufus Pollock <rufus.pollock at okfn.org> wrote:

> *There is now a short Frictionless Data "vision" doc online at:*
> http://data.okfn.org/vision
> It is based on input from various people and comments would be warmly
> welcome. I've excerpted some of it below for those who prefer info in the
> mail client.
> Regards,
> Rufus
> ## Frictionless Data Ecosystem
> There's too much friction working with data - friction getting data,
> friction processing data, friction sharing data.
> This friction stops people doing stuff: stops them creating, sharing,
> collaborating, and using data - especially amongst more distributed
> communities.
> It kills the cycles of find, improve, share that would make for a dynamic,
> productive and attractive (open) data ecosystem.
> We need to make an ecosystem that, like open-source for software, is
> useful and attractive to those without any principled interest, the vast
> majority who simply want the best tool for the job, the easiest route to
> their goal.
> We think that by getting a few key pieces in place we can reduce friction
> enough to revolutionize how the (open) data ecosystem operates with
> massively improved data quality, utilization and sharing.
> We think this because there's a multiplier here that means relatively
> small changes can have big effects. This multiplier is Network effects: the
> utility of a particular standard, pattern or even tool depends on how many
> other people are using it. This means that creating a critical mass of use
> around the tooling and standards will have a huge effect. This isn't easy.
> But after working on these issues for nearly a decade we think the time is
> right.
> ## A Metaphor
> Today, when you decide to cook, the ingredients are readily available at
> local supermarkets or even already in your kitchen. You don't need to
> travel to a farm, collect eggs, mill the corn, cure the bacon etc - as you
> once would have done! Instead, thanks to standard systems of measurement,
> packaging, shipping (e.g. containerization) and payment ingredients can get
> from the farm direct to my local shop or even my door.
> But with data we're still largely stuck at this early stage: every time
> you want to do an analysis or build an app you have to set off around the
> internet to dig up data, extract it, clean it and prepare it before you can
> even get it into your tool and begin your work proper.
> What do we need to do for the working with data to be like cooking today -
> where you get to spend your time making the cake (creating insights) not
> preparing and collecting the ingredients (digging up and cleaning data)?
> The answer: radical improvements in the "logistics2 of data associated
> with specialisation and standardisation. In analogy with food we need
> standard systems of "measurement", packaging, and transport so that its
> easy to get data from its original source into the application where I can
> start working with it.
> ## What We Want To Do
> We start with an advantage: unlike for physical goods transporting digital
> information from one computer to another is very cheap!
> This means the focus can be on standardizing and simplifying the process
> of getting data from one application to another (or one form to another).
> The following gives an overview of the main areas of work. There is more
> detail in the Roadmap <http://data.okfn.org/roadmap>.
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