The internet allows you to access open data on various subjects, but they are not always easily found. In general, they are spread out and require prior knowledge to be used. It is in this context that the Database, a website that catalogs sets of public information prepared by organizations around the world.
The Database includes, for example, data from IBGE (Brazilian Institute of Geography and Statistics), Inep (National Institute of Educational Studies and Research) and the World Bank. They are useful for academics, journalists and civil society in general.
With a collaborative character, the site allows anyone to register and insert the databases they know. The objective is to create a reference in the search for thematic bases, according to the master in economics at PUC-Rio and PhD student at Northwestern University, Ricardo Dahis.
To Tecnoblog, Dahis explained that he had the idea of creating the Database when he noticed that the information available on the internet was very spread out. He saw, then, the need to create a centralized source to organize the existing bases.
“Many people have ideas for research, reports, applications, but they don’t know where to start looking for data,” he says. “The site enters exactly there, to inform what exists, where to download, and to give general information about the database”.
Dahis hopes that the platform, still in beta, will help researchers, students, developers, public officials and other people interested in transparency and open data. “Everyone wins if there is an increase in the quality and quantity of academic research, of news reports informed by data, of applications using public data.”
The Data Base catalog already has collections such as Atlas da Notícias, which offers information about communication vehicles in Brazil, and the Social Connectedness Index, which takes advantage of Facebook friendships to determine the relationship between different regions of the United States.
The website also gathers data made available by the Brazilian government, from the 1872 Census to the Evaluation National Literacy Program. There are also dozens of other databases on education, health, culture, economics, science and technology, politics and others.
“It is not enough for information to exist and be public on the internet; you need a good search engine ”, summarizes Dahis. According to him, the Database does not maintain copies of the public information sets, but links that direct users to the source.
The economist explains that, at the moment, the plan is to expand the site on a verified basis to increase the platform’s reputation. The next step is to seek financing for the project, preferably by institutions that contribute to projects linked to transparency.