There’s a persuasive argument being made by Francis Irving and Rufus Pollock in a joint blog post about the growth of data management systems – the ‘DMS’ to content management systems’ ‘CMS’:
“Just as then we wrote HTML in text files by hand and uploaded it by FTP, now we analyse data on our laptops using Excel, and share it with friends by emailing CSV files.
“But it reaches the point where using the filesystem and Outlook as your DMS stretches to breaking point. You’ll need a proper one.
“Nobody really knows what a proper one will look like yet. We’re all working on it.”
Their post lists what a DMS needs to do and the companies already trying to solve the ‘DMS problem’ from different directions: a list which includes Google Docs (“coming from the web spreadsheet direction”), the data social network BuzzData, visualisation tool Tableau, data marketplaces, operating systems, Scraperwiki, and PANDA (“making a DMS for newsrooms”)
It’s a well-drawn picture from an angle which I haven’t seen before. Certainly, a number of news organisations are trying to reduce the friction of producing content for different platforms by ‘atomising’ it in data-driven production processes (where a piece of content might be assembled and presented differently depending on the platform it is accessed through, for example), and their internal systems can probably be added to the list above.
What do you think? Is this a problem that’s being addressed in your own organisation?
Now this is an example of what’s possible with open data and some very clever thinking. Chris Taggart blogs about a new tool on his OpenlyLocal platform that allows you to send a Freedom of Information (FOI) request based on a particular item of spending. “This further lowers the barriers to armchair auditors wanting to understand where the money goes, and the request even includes all the usual ‘boilerplate’ to help avoid specious refusals.”
It takes around a minute to generate an FOI request.
The function is limited to items of spending above £10,000. Cleverly, it’s also all linked so you can see if an FOI request has already been generated and answered.