Open Data – Lincoln Style

With the recent rush of activity regarding open data on the web and the launch of data.gov.uk it seemed only fitting that I try and follow suit with the data that Lincoln holds. Experimenting with Google Docs has shown that it’s pretty straightforward to get data up in csv format, visualise it and provide it in a number of flavours for consumption.

So what’s next? As data.gov.uk has given central gov an ever expanding repository for open data files, I thought that it would be best for Lincoln to follow suit as well. That brings me to data.lincoln.gov.uk. Currently in beta, this is a VERY basic WordPress build which will act as a shop front for Lincoln’s open data. Information will go onto our website in one form or another and we will create links through to the data site for consumption, often using Google Docs as a conduit where appropriate.

Why use WordPress? A number of reasons:

  • Flexibility – I could create a stripped down, basic frontend for the site that just works
  • Categorising – I love WordPress’ category system, the way it builds itself up as you add categories; this seemed sensible when I could not guarantee what data packets we would be providing from the get go
  • RSS – WordPress generates an RSS feed; something that our website CMS does not do. Users will quickly be able to register for updates to the data library

So that’s it! Basic, simple to implement and maintain. I’m going to publicise this in Lincoln and see what kind of reaction we get to it.

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