OpenGov Voices: Exploring the transparency and open data landscape | Politics
gavinbaker's bookmarks 2014-06-23
" ... I argue that instead of phone books, we need dating websites. They are nice examples of a more progressive method of organizing knowledge. A user provides information describing him or her and is offered potential partners based on a match of his or her and other users’ information. Even better examples of this approach are websites such as What Should I Read Next recommending books or movies ... I use the same approach to explore the transparency and open data community. I aggregate already existing lists, catalogs and maps of organizations in the community to measure their similarity. Two organizations that appear on the same lists are usually very similar. And conversely, two organizations that are rarely included in a list together probably have little in common. Note that I don’t have to necessarily know anything about the organizations or even the lists in questions. All I need to know is organizations’ memberships in lists. Similarity of the organizations is automatically calculated by a robot called principal component analysis (note that a robot callednetwork analysis can also be used). To prove this concept, I analyzed data from Sunlight Foundation’s spreadsheet of transparency organizations refined by Mor Rubinstein. I took 139 non-governmental organizations and assigned them memberships in 36 topical lists. Every list corresponds to one concept, usually an activity or an issue ... But creating fancy charts is not the goal here. I envision a simple Google-like website where a member of the transparency and open data community quickly fills in key information about his or her organization or project. The website then advices to check out five or so organizations, people, projects and tools because they have similar agenda, are based in the same country, receive funding from the same sources etc. Growing demand for such a service makes me believe we’ll see a beta version very soon."