Why should you care about open data? Keeping proprietary data fresh and accurate costs money and time. But "open data" is emerging as an alternative sourcing model that can keep costs low and quality high. It's like what "open source" has done for software, but absolutely anyone can contribute to open data. To that end, we created Factual to help people and companies manage this new web of information, and make it easier to mix, mash, and share. Whether your motivation is to build cool applications or better the world, we'd love your help in starting new data projects on topics you're passionate about. Just follow a few easy steps.
You will need
- A computer with internet access
- A topic area that matters to you
- Information to organize and edit
- A web site (optional)
Step 1 Create a new open data table Start creating a new open data table by going to factual.com and creating an account. Then, click “Upload or create data tables.” You now have two main options.
Step 2 Upload data First option. If you already have data, you can upload a file from your computer, cut and paste from a spreadsheet or document, or simply point to data on the web by entering a URL.Here is how it would work:• Say you have a table of restaurants in your area that you want to share.In a few clicks, your table is online and ready to be shared and sent to your friends so they can add to or correct it.
Remember: Factual is a public data source. Please don’t upload confidential information or other data that doesn’t belong on a public web site. Read Factual’s Terms of Service for more info.
Step 3 Define a table Second option. If you don’t have an existing source of data, you can define an empty table by adding field names, and let other people fill in the fields with information. Advanced users may also be interested in Factual’s extraction tools.
Step 4 Add fields Now you may want to know which of the restaurants on your list serves Chinese food — and what their phone numbers are. • You can add fields by locating related tables and clicking on “Find related data” from the menu bar in the restaurant header.• Click the “add” link next to the new desired fields such as “Category” and “Phone Number,” then click the “Initiate Join” button.• Now you see your table, plus the two joined fields added as new columns.To locate Chinese restaurants, you can simply search on “Chinese.”
Step 5 Drill down Click on any cell to drill down to the story behind the fact — like which users submitted this data, and who, if anyone, disagreed. For example, a phone number could be wrong or missing. It’s easy for anyone to submit new information or correct a cell. Factual retains all inputs, then displays the best answer based on algorithms and user preferences.
Step 6 Promote the table You can “Share” a Factual Table by e-mail, by linking to the table, or embedding it on a web site. Once you share the table, it’s easy for anyone to enter new data. A good table can become a great public resource as more people get involved.