Please welcome new player in the open data game: Socrata – a social network for data. Socrata provides a platform to publish open datasets, let’s users view, download, share, comment or rate the datasets and opens up a space to connect with fellow data enthusiasts.
The official description of Socrata
Opening government to new audiences and constituencies is the 21st century battle cry in societies everywhere. At the heart of this movement is open government data, readily accessible over the internet, in a form that maximizes comprehension, interactivity, participation, and sharing, delivered at a fraction of the cost of today’s data download sites. At Socrata, we call this social data discovery, and we’ve engineered a comprehensive suite of Web solutions for delivering social data discovery on government data sites around the world.
The datasets hosted on Socrata gets treated in a Spa-like manner. Nicely tagged and categorized each dataset has it’s own page that comes with a plethora of functionalities:
- Download the data in various formats (CSV, PDF, XML, JSON)
- RSS Feed
- API result view
- User generated content: ratings and comments
- History of latest activity
- Charts and reports (coming soon)
A powerful feature is the tabular view of the dataset: The data can be explored, sort and filtered directly on the site. Large datasets are continuosly loaded as the user scrolls through the data to shorten loading times. Socrata even provides the code to embed the data in your own site.
As some of the datasets are very extensive the user has the possibility to filter the data. This filtered view can then be saved and used and shared as an indipendent dataset.
The Community part of Socrata comes with the most obvious social networking functionalities like user-profile, latest activity, followers, friends, etc. At this point we can hardly see greater value in this area but we’re looking forward to be proven wrong as benefits for individuals may emerge.