Open Data Commons Opportunities

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There are a lot of Government Web sites that have made the data that they collect and compile freely available to the public. The licenses that data has been released under are described on the following Pages:

ODC Public Domain Dedication and License (PDDL)
Open Data Commons Open Database License (ODbL)
Open Data Commons Attribution License

If you are considering starting a project using that kind of data, you should read the Open Data Handbook, which provides a lot in the way of details, and much more information is available on, including a broad overview of different types of topics that data is available about, including:

  • Agriculture,
  • Business,
  • Climate,
  • Consumer,
  • Ecosystems,
  • Education,
  • Energy,
  • Finance,
  • Health,
  • Local Government,
  • Manufacturing,
  • Ocean,
  • Public Safety,
  • Science & Research.

There’s some interesting discussion of Licensing, the openness of data, and attribution in a blog post from the Open Knowledge Blog, titled Open Data: Openness and Licensing.

There’s a lot more information available than just that from the federal government (Read about the Open Government Initiative). I found data streaming out of:

NYC Open Data – 1,200+ Data sets available.
Open Data Cincinnati – using “government data to encourage transparency, innovation & civic engagement.”
Open – Following the White House Mandate to “Set Data Free”
Unicef Statistics
Million Song DataBase
Open Data Philly
The World Bank

Here are some examples of apps and websites made from Open Data:

It shouldn’t come as a surprise that data from some of these Open Data Commons sources are used to power sites that you may be familiar with. See, for example: Google uses MusicBrainz data in some of its searches!

Added: April 27th, 2005

I had written to a few agencies to see if they could provide more information about their usage of Open Data, and had any words to offer people to encourage them to create with the data government was making available. Rebecca Williams, Senior Engagement Liaison at sent me a response, pointing me to the pages at Project Open Data about Open Licenses which describes the obligations of government workers to offer licenses to people to use Open Data. The page is very informative, and if you want some insight into the feelings and beliefs in which Open Data is shared, it is very informative. Thank you for sharing, Rebecca!

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30 thoughts on “Open Data Commons Opportunities”

  1. didnt know that at all, thanks for the article and the samples! will come back for sure, i like your site!

  2. Firdt of all i want to say thanks to you. For sharing this informative article. Every time i come on this site. I found something new to learn. SO, thank you so, much for this.

  3. It is great when the data is open, though to some extends this is serious privacy issue. A lot of data is leaking through every membership websites and social networks.

  4. These would be great sources for pulling data to make infographics that track trends over time. Thanks for sharing.

  5. Bill can I ask what the Summary Information box is at the end of the article. Is this something new you are experimenting with?

  6. Good to know about that.The information is one way of getting things done in an easier way.Good use and shift of digital aspects in the government.

  7. I hadn’t thought of that! Though I wonder what legal basis we would have to push marketing through a combination of that data…

  8. Hi Bill Slawski,
    Sourcing is a very important issue to conduct any in depth research work, really its an intelligent writings about legal way to sourcing a data.

    Many Thanks

  9. Hi Kutub,

    The Open Data sources are free to use under the license they are offered under, which requires acknowledgement and attribution of the source of that data. It makes sense for a researcher to provide that information as well, but it frees them up to use the license the data is offered under, which is a smart way to go about things.

  10. Hi,
    There is lot of things that I love.I really enjoy the post.I agree to the author that “Open Data Commons Opportunities”…Thank you very much

  11. Thanks Bill,

    You just made my day, I have been wondering where all this data goes and how useful would it be to us seo people. I look forward to checking it out. It’s funny your post makes it like it’s themed for us. Good work all the same. Now gonna check out your links.

  12. Bill will you be updating this post if you get anymore replies from the companies you have tried to contact.

  13. Thanks so much for sharing the links to all these valuable resources. Anyone operating any size of business knows the growing importance of big data and the time investment it often takes to acquire it. It’s great to have resources to get and use data that cut out the extensive research.

  14. Thanks for sharing this info Bill, i didn’t know it before and your site is owsum . . .

  15. Hi Rheanna,

    Having the building blocks of a site out there to use like is available through Open data sources opens up a lot of possibilities to people.

  16. very nice information. we all know about government sites but were not aware that their data is so useful. amazing keep writing

  17. All the details and information above are worth reading and bookmarking thanks a lot for sharing this tips and links.

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