Last summer I registered the domain name rawdatanow.com. I was at Linked Data Planet in New York, listening to TimBL give his keynote, and was struck by his rallying cry for RAW DATA NOW!! The idea made perfect sense: concentrate on getting your data out (soundtrack by danja), and worry about the shiny interface later; or better still, by publishing the data according to Web standards and Linked Data principles you empower others to create the shiny interfaces that are meaningful and useful to them.
According to TimBL’s slides from TED the meme comes from this post from Rufus Pollock, but the clarity of the call was new to me (update: according to delicious I bookmarked Rufus’s post on 14th Nov 2007; obviously wasn’t paying attention properly) and it encouraged me to start the Linked Data Shopping List (which could do with some more attention). I also had in mind a grassroots campaign to promote the idea (full page ads in national newspapers signed by as many people as we could get, that sort of thing), which is why I bought the domain name. But it’s been a busy year, and between the ongoing efforts to sustain and increase the momentum of the Linked Data movement, and trying to get VoCamp off the ground, I’ve had no spare time to devote to more community activities.
So, here’s my offer to the community: if you have a compelling story to tell about how we can get encourage huge numbers of organisations and individuals to provide RAW DATA NOW, and being able to use rawdatanow.com would help with that, please let me know by blog comment, email (firstname.lastname@example.org) or identi.ca.
Update (2009-03-13): the domain http://rawdatanow.com/ now points to TimBL’s talk from TED2009, but the offer still stands.