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Following in the footsteps of the US government, which launched data.gov last year, the UK government has teamed up with Sir Tim Berners-Lee, the 'inventor of the internet', to launch data.gov.uk.

As the domain suggests, data.gov.uk is an online repository for data the government has in its virtual vaults and wants to make more accessible to citizens. From the economy to education, data.gov.uk currently offers just under 3,000 datasets - nearly triple what's available across the pond on data.gov.

That's one of the reasons data.gov.uk is getting some rave reviews. Marshall Kirkpatrick of ReadWriteWeb doesn't mince words; he says it "puts data.gov to shame".

A primary goal of data.gov is to get third party developers involved in using the government's data to create "wonderful things out of public data". Those wonderful things can even be commercial in nature.

As Tim Berners-Lee and collaborator Nigel Shadbolt stated in The Guardian today:

It's re-use of data in new - and often unexpected - ways that creates both social value and opportunities for economic growth. It's not our job to say where data might be useful; it's our job to unleash it and allow businesses and independent developers to build innovative services which they can then deliver to users. That's the story of technology through the years - and the way the World Wide Web itself has grown over the last twenty years.

Eventually, Berners-Lee and Shadbolt want to make data.gov.uk part of "business as usual" for government bodies. That would include regular updates of datasets and the use of Linked Data standards that will make it easier to combine different datasets in interesting ways.

That's an ambitious goal. but the beta of data.gov.uk looks to be a good start and with the inventor of the internet at the helm, data.gov.uk just might be the start of something really good.

Patricio Robles

Published 21 January, 2010 by Patricio Robles

Patricio Robles is a tech reporter at Econsultancy. Follow him on Twitter.

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Comments (2)

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Will Hawkins

This is good news. With the forthcoming election in the UK and with data like this available for the public to see and use, it should open up a new level of accountability for the government, both local and national. 

We just need to think up some good ideas of what data we would like to see. For example, given the recent cold weather, it would be good to see know which local councils have stocks of grit and how much. 

over 6 years ago

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vinay kumar

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A foreign degree is no more a distant dream!

The obvious benefits of studying in foreign universities and earning their prestigious degrees have always lured students to travel to these places and stay their on their own expenses. This phenomenon is more prevalent in developing countries where there is a real dearth of high quality educational institutes. But considering the sky-high costs associated with studying abroad in universities of high repute, it is no wonder that this is only a distant dream for the middle class families who are simply not able to afford the Lakhs of rupees required to get their children study abroad and get that high in demand foreign degree.

But things seem to be changing in the Indian context now. More and more Universities from abroad are collaborating with Indian institutes to offer a range of international degree courses in India. And herein lies that great opportunity for the middle classes of our country to fulfill their dream of earning a foreign degree that’s truly within their budget. These foreign university courses help in cutting the overall costs by almost 80% as they don’t require the students to stay abroad for most part of the course.

The classes for these degree courses are conducted in designated centers across India, where students are taught the same curriculum which is being taught at the University overseas. The faculty at the designated study centers is also appointed by the overseas University and has visiting faculty members from some of the finest universities around the globe. A degree offered through such collaborative arrangements is indeed a big benefit and a real stepping stone for all aspiring students coming from middle class families. Now these lesser privileged people can also live their dream of doing something big in life with the help of a worldwide recognized highly reputed foreign degree.         

over 6 years ago

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