Tuesday, October 13, 2009

New company, Factual, brings accountability to data

We're excited to see the launch of a new company today called Factual, whose mission is to "make data more accountable". Factual provides open access to better structured data (think of structured data as the kind of data you find in tables) by compiling exhaustive data sets on topics ranging from endocrinologists to American Idol finalists - and making that data open/sharable/mashable. Publishers, developers, or your average everyday "data enthusiast" can create their own tables, mash their data with others, and create bigger and more accurate spreadsheets of information that are embeddable across the web.

Check out their site, which launched a beta versions this morning at Factual.com. They even made a few tables for Members of Congress and the Senate, which of course include their YouTube channels:

U.S. Senate:

U.S. House:

The political applications of Factual are easy to imagine: government spending and campaign contributions are the quickest to come to mind. Last year, when we were preparing to launch Video Your Vote - the voting accountability project we did with PBS on election day, it took us forever to collect all the laws from every state regarding video camera usage at polling places. A team of researchers at Harvard's Citizen Media Law project spent a day helping us compile and interpret the laws from every Secretary of State's office. With Factual, that job would have been a lot easier - we could have dropped each site's URL into Factual.com, and all the data would have been extracted and structured instantaneously, ready for edits and interpretation from a broader community.

Find out more about Factual here:


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