Open data initiatives are becoming more commonplace. This idea that some data should be freely available to everyone to use and republish as they wish, without restrictions from copyright, patents or other mechanisms of control. This interesting information came to us from Vassar College’s student newspaper – Miscellany News – in their article, “Data accessibility trend overlooks systematic biases.”

Big data problem-solving is one catalyst that is driving this trend. However, it is easy to overlook the actual logistics of open-data initiatives, which are challenging. This is often the case because people assume it is a technical solution, not a human one. However, as the author points out, it is important to remember that open data sets can be contaminated by human bias just as easily.

Metadata is information about information, including how it was collected. Interoperability is the ease with which multiple data sets can be integrated. Sometimes these two things are at odds with one another.

Melody K. Smith

Sponsored by Access Innovations, the world leader in thesaurus, ontology, and taxonomy creation and metadata application.