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Data.gov.uk opens beta site for developers

Making it easier to peek under the kimono

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The Cabinet Office has opened a pilot website making government data more widely available.

The department, which revealed its plans on a digital engagement blog post earlier this month, has set up a beta version of www.data.gov.uk for developers to test the potential for re-using information.

A Cabinet Office spokesperson told GC News: "It comes from one of the recommendations of the Power of Information review, to release more government data through a single, accessible portal. We've been committed to it for some time, since we accepted the findings of the review, and this is the first stage.

"We're asking developers to log in, see what ideas we've got and how it works for them."

The beta version has been running for three weeks and has about 1,000 datasets, dealing mainly with facts and figures and none of them containing any personal data on individuals. The spokesperson said more will be added when the main version is launched and the number will be continually increased.

Logging on to the site requires registration and approval. So far about 1,000 people have signed up to test the service, which the Cabinet Office believes represents the community of "hard core developers".

It plans to launch the full site in December.

The site was developed by Sir Tim Berners-Lee, founder of the web, and Professor Nigel Shadbolt of the University of Southampton. It has followed a lead set by the US government's data.gov project, and has been built with semantic web technology, which will make it possible to draw together data into links and threads.

This article was originally published at Kable.

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