Our new 'Example Data' feature: helping you understand the structure of datasets
We’ve recently created a new feature for PublishMyData, which gives users a sneaky peak at the detail of each dataset. Before we developed this, you could browse the data in each dataset one resource at a time, and there was a brief description of each dataset’s contents, but it was hard to get an overall picture of the shape of the data. Previously, it was a bit like describing Wall-E as just ‘an animated film’ - true enough, but there’s so much more to it.
Because our whole ethos revolves around getting Linked Data used, we wanted to improve that initial user experience of the datasets. As data users and developers ourselves, we know how much effort it can sometimes be to understand exactly how data is structured and connected. By introducing a new Example Data tab to every dataset page on PublishMyData-powered sites, we’re trying to make that process a little bit easier and quicker.
Now, there is a fair amount of info on these example data tabs but, thankfully, it’s easy on the eye so you can go straight to the part you’re interested in. We summarise the types of resource you can find in a dataset, and provide full details of a random instance of each. See below for a screenshot of such an example (I got here by selecting the Fire Authority resource type from the wider dataset Local Authorities in England) on OpenDataCommunities (DCLG’s PublishMyData-powered data site).
But the good stuff doesn’t stop there. The supporting data boxes on the right help you further understand the structure of the data. These little boxes link to the Ontologies and Concept Schemes (common supporting metadata) used by the particular dataset in question. If you mouse-over one of these, we highlight which terms from our chosen example resources come from those vocabularies - good news for working out when two datasets are describing the same thing, and where terms come from, when you’re writing apps against our APIs.
Check out the example below which you can get to here (again, from OpenDataCommunities).
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