Stephen Wolfram, the scientist behind Mathematica and Wolfram Alpha, says he’s been involved with the worldwide data community in coordinating the creation of a .data top-level Internet domain, which would highlight the exposure of data across the Internet, “and providing added impetus for organizations to expose data in a way that can efficiently be found and accessed.”
In a post on his blog, he says:
In building Wolfram|Alpha, we’ve absorbed an immense amount of data, across a huge number of domains. But—perhaps surprisingly—almost none of it has come in any direct way from the visible internet. Instead, it’s mostly from a complicated patchwork of data files and feeds and database dumps.
But wouldn’t it be nice if there was some standard way to get access to whatever structured data any organization wants to expose?
Right now there are conventions for websites about exposing sitemaps that tell web crawlers how to navigate the sites. And there are plenty of loose conventions about how websites are organized. But there’s really nothing about structured data.
There are product catalogs, store information, event calendars, regulatory filings, inventory data, historical reference material, contact information—lots of things that can be very usefully computed from. But even if these things are somewhere on an organization’s website, there’s no standard way to find them, let alone standard structured formats for them.
He goes on to express the idea of creating the “data web” to “parallel” the ordinary web, bug geared toward computational use.
Essentially, there would be a data-driven .data alongside a site’s .com.
Wolfram says they’re seeking input and partners for the effort. He appears to be taking a leadership role for the initiative.
Would do you think of this concept?