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Talking about Social Data Discovery with Kevin Merritt of Socrata

Socrata logoAn issue with many of the current initiatives to provide access to data is that they focus on one particular mode of access.

As a rule, they tend to either offer a pretty interface that facilitates end-user exploration of a constrained set of data, or they proudly offer a massive list of files for download, or they publish an API and encourage you to interact via that. Each of these modes of access has a place, but none is going to be appropriate for most uses of most data, most of the time.

As such, it was refreshing to talk last night with Kevin Merritt. Kevin is CEO of a Seattle-based startup called Socrata, and he is convinced of the need to support multiple modes of access and interaction.

Socrata has utility in a number of markets, but the focus of our conversation was in the context of Government data. Have a listen, to see what Kevin thinks can be done to make initiatives such as the US Government’s data.gov site more useful.

Production of this podcast was supported by Talis, and links to items discussed are included in show notes available on the company’s Nodalities blog.

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Paul Miller works at the interface between the worlds of Cloud Computing and the Semantic Web, providing the insights that enable you to exploit the next wave as we approach the World Wide Database.

He blogs at www.cloudofdata.com.