Guardian goes data crazy

oooh pretty colours...
oooh pretty colours...

It seems that everyone is in the mood for sharing at the moment. The BBC is allowing embedded video and now the Guardian is sharing its data.

It’s been on the cards for a while but it’s still great to see the Guardians new API come out of the traps. (I know I’m behind the curve, as all the related links show.)

Their Open Platform service is now available offering access to Guardian content and data in two different ways.

1. The Content API is a mechanism for getting Guardian content. You can query our content database for articles and get them back in formats that are geared toward integration with other internet applications.

The Content API is a free service. We have some limits and restrictions detailed in our terms and conditions, but we hope that you will use our service for whatever needs you have, including commercial applications.

2. The Data Store is a collection of important and high quality data sets curated by Guardian journalists. You can find useful data here, download it, and integrate it with other internet applications.

For the geeky but programming shy amongst us the Data Store is an obvious stopping off point. Essentially it’s a treasure trove of Google Spreadsheets. stuffed to the gills with data collected by the Guardian.

So you get spreadsheets across a range of subjetcs fromEngland’s population, by sex and race, to the ICM poll results for the popularity of polictical parties.

Once you have it, you can beging to mash it all up; and people already are

Mash it up

Super mashup guru Tony Hirst has already had a good play with the content pushing it through, amongst other things, Manyeyes and Yahoo pipes to create some nice visulisations and even nice tutorials (great work Tony)

Of course The Guardian aren’t the first. The NY Times has also got its Developer Network up and running with its own api. Lots of other orgs are also getting the labs bug, like The Times and Al Jazeera, all with good open-source attitudes. But this is a really savvy move by the Guardian.

Global players

As well as putting themselves on the same footing as players like the NYT, which can’t hurt their plans for a global brand, it puts them firmly in the centre of any benefits.People will take the content, develop it, grow it, use it and share it with the Guardian because they shared it first.

As I said in my new years convictions, media companies, and newspapers in particular will have to go open source to get the benefit of the online community.   From that perspective it could be easy to write this off as the ‘tech-savvy’ Guardian being geeky or the nationals fiddling whilst the regional Rome burns.  But the big regional newspaper  players, with centralised IT are a network big enough to compete at this level.

This is exciting stuff.

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