Introducing Datashades.info, a CKAN Community Service

Do you use CKAN to power an open data portal? In this guest post Link Digital explains how you can take advantage of their latest open data initiative Datashades.info.

Datashades.info is a tool designed to deliver insights for researchers, portal managers, and the wider tech community to inform and support open data efforts relating to data hosted on CKAN platforms.

Link Digital created the online service through a number of alpha releases and considers datashades.info, now in beta, as a long term initiative they expect to improve with more features in future releases.

Specifically, Datashades.info provides a publicly-accessible index of metadata and statistics on CKAN data portals across the globe. For each portal, a number of statistics are aggregated and presented surrounding number of datasets, users, organisations and dataset tags. These statistics give portal managers the ability to quickly compare the size and scope of CKAN data portals to help inform their development roadmaps. Moreover, for each portal, installed plugin information is collected along with the relative penetration of those plugins across all portals in the index. This will enable CKAN developers to quickly see what extensions are the most popular and on what portals they are being used. Finally, all historical data is persisted and kept publically accessible, allowing researchers to analyse historical data trends in any indexed CKAN portal.

Datashades.info was built to support a crowd-sourced indexing scheme. If a visitor searches for a CKAN portal and it is not found within the index, the system will immediately query that portal and attempt to generate a new index entry on-the-fly. Aggregation of a new portal’s statistics into Datashades.info also happens automatically.

Maximise the tool and gain interesting information with the following features:

Globally Accessible open data

With Datashades.info, you can easily access an index of metadata and statistics on CKAN data portals across the globe. To do this, simply type in the portal’s URL on the homepage then click “Search“.

Integrated Values of All Metrics

After entering a portal’s URL, Datashades.info will load its information. After a few seconds, you will be able to see a range of data on portal users, datasets, resources, organisations, tags and plugins. Portal managers can access these via the individual portal page found on the site.

Easily-tracked Historical Data

Want to revisit data you previously explored? The tool also keeps old data in a historical index which users can explore any time on any portal page or by clicking “View All Data Portals” on the homepage.

Crowdsourcing

Datashades.info uses crowdsourcing to build its index. This means users can easily add any CKAN data portal not found on the site. To do this, simply search for a portal you know and it’ll be automatically added to the site and global statistics.

As the project remains at a beta level of maturity, it is still wanting of improvements in many areas. But with the continuous feedback coming from the CKAN community, expect that more data and features will be added in future releases. For now, have a look around and stay tuned!