[python-uk] Introducing CKAN (Open Knowledge Foundation)

James Gardner james at pythonweb.org
Fri Dec 24 21:22:04 CET 2010

Hi Martin,

> sorry - didn't mean to post to the whole list!

Well, maybe there are others interested too, but if not I'll stop
replying on list as well.

> Interesting. I've often thought its such a shame there is no 
> centralised data catalog in my field of biomedical research. 
> There is a great culture of openness in the community of scientists 
> but all the data sets are in disparate corners of the web. If I want 
> some data on some particular aspect of biology (which is bound to be 
> out there on someones departmental website somewhere) most of the 
> time I wouldn't know where to start. Its a shame because there is so 
> much data out there. Anyway, probably just a pipedream, but it would 
> be nice.

Yes, that's exactly the sort of thing CKAN should be used for. My own
background (before starting the Pylons project) is in Physics and there
is a similar problem there. Just this week I was drafting a quick blog
post about the Voyager 1 spacecraft reaching a distant point at the edge
of the solar system [1] and it would be nice to be able to have all the
data published somewhere centrally along with a brief analysis and some
preview graphs.

At the moment people can either re-use ckan.net and tag things with
"physics" or "biology" but I'd love to set up an instance specifically
for Biology data sets if you thought it might catch on? What are the
obstacles preventing scientists publishing their data somewhere central?
Is it just lack of a network effect do you think?



[1] http://www.nasa.gov/mission_pages/voyager/voyager20101213.html

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