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links for 2009-10-02

  • Amazon SimpleDB is a web service providing the core database functions of data indexing and querying in the cloud. By offloading the time and effort associated with building and operating a web-scale database, SimpleDB provides developers the freedom to focus on application development.

    A traditional, clustered relational database requires a sizable upfront capital outlay, is complex to design, and often requires extensive and repetitive database administration. Amazon SimpleDB is dramatically simpler, requiring no schema, automatically indexing your data and providing a simple API for storage and access. This approach eliminates the administrative burden of data modeling, index maintenance, and performance tuning. Developers gain access to this functionality within Amazon’s proven computing environment, are able to scale instantly, and pay only for what they use.

  • The Knight Commission on the Information Needs of Communities in a Democracy is a group of 17 media, policy and community leaders. Its purpose is to assess the information needs of communities, and recommend measures to help Americans better meet those needs.

    The Knight Commission sees new thinking about news and information as a necessary step to sustaining democracy in the digital age. It thus follows in the footsteps of the 1940s Hutchins Commission and the Kerner and Carnegie Commissions of the 1960s.

  • Yesterday, at the Right To Know Week panel discussion – Conference for Parliamentarians: Transparency in the Digital Era – organized by the Office of the Information Commissioner I shared three laws for Open Government Data that I'd devised on the flight from Vancouver.

    The Three Laws of Open Government Data:

    1. If it can’t be spidered or indexed, it doesn’t exist
    2. If it isn’t available in open and machine readable format, it can’t engage
    3. If a legal framework doesn’t allow it to be repurposed, it doesn’t empower

    To explain, (1) basically means: Can I find it? If Google (and/or other search engines) can't find it, it essentially doesn't exist for most citizens. So you'd better ensure that you are optimized to be crawled by all sorts of search engine spiders.

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