Sunday, December 19, 2010

Thanks to applicants!

Thanks to everyone who applied to our project coordinator job posting! We're working through the applications and will be responding as soon as possible. A final decision will be made and applicants notified of the outcome by December 31, 2010.

Friday, December 10, 2010 launched

Congrats to on launching! From the announcement:

"It has been said that cooperativism is an economic movement that uses the methods of education. This definition can also be modified to affirm that cooperativism is an educational movement that uses the methods of economics.”
-Don José María Arizmendiarrieta Madariaga

Dear friends,

It’s time to democratize our economy by democratizing knowledge:Cultivate.Coop is officially launched and live. Visit the website now!

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Job Posting: Data Commons Cooperative Project Coordinator

Data Commons Cooperative Project Coordinator

The Data Commons Cooperative Project ( is the beneficiary of a $37,313 USDA Rural Business Enterprise Grant, which is funding this coordinator position. The grant was obtained on behalf of the Data Commons by the Cooperative Development Institute (, a 501(c)3 nonprofit based in western Mass.
The coordinator would be expected to telecommute from a home office, preferably in North America.
Work hours are estimated to range from 6 to 10 hours per week, over the course of about 1 year.
Compensation: $15,000 set salary over the life of the project.

Primary Roles
Bottomline the following tasks, with input and support from the steering committee, operations team, tech team, and advisory group (together, the DCP groups):

Operations/Administrative Coordination
Encourage and actively support democratic participation as an integral part of the organizing process.
Schedule, set agendas, and maintain records for meetings of DCP groups.
Maintain the Data Commons management googlesite.
Coordinate communication among the DCP groups.
Coordinate communication with Data Sharing Organizations.
Coordinate logistics for in-person meetings, with support from CDI staff.
Administrative tasks as needed, with support from CDI staff.

Organizational Development
Create/add to current database of potential members, with an emphasis on building a broad and inclusive pool of members and data sharing organizations.
Research and present different organizational models that may be suitable for the Data Commons Cooperative; facilitate a process for the Steering Committee to reach a conclusion on desired structure (e.g. consumer, worker, or hybrid co-op; or other).
Draft articulation of benefits and contributions of cooperative membership for each membership tier or class.
Develop and implement plan for recruiting members and promoting the DCC.
Assist with development of job descriptions for 2-3 worker-members.

Feasibility Study
Solicit input from all DCP groups and conduct market research, with the assistance of a business consultant and CDI staff.
Coordinate with CDI staff to complete a feasibility study.

Business Plan
Lead DCP groups through a business planning process, with assistance and support from a business consultant and CDI staff as needed. Gather and consolidate input from all these sources, and develop a business plan that includes both narrative and financial projections.

Legal Formation
Assist with development of organizational & governance structures and facilitate input from DCP groups to ensure that structures reflect the desired goals and principles of DCP groups.
Assist with incorporation process, including proofreading and editing Articles of Incorporation, Bylaws, and membership agreements.
Develop board policy handbook.

Grant Management
Write quarterly status reports for the USDA on progress toward project’s goals.
Draft a final management report for the USDA detailing goals, activities, and milestones reached; and draft a detailed plan of management objectives for subsequent 12 months. CDI staff will assist in drafting and in finalizing the reports and plan.

Knowledge of working models for worker ownership, consumer cooperatives, and/or non-profit cooperatives.
Experience with business planning and market research.
Community and/or cooperative organizing experience.
Knowledge of the breadth of the cooperative sector in US and Canada.
Strong organizational skills; attention to detail.
Ability to communicate effectively in a variety of formats, including strong written communication skills.
Experience with and commitment to collaborative or consensus-based decision-making.
Ability to work independently and within a team, while managing a variety of tasks.
Computer skills: experience and familiarity with word processing programs, spreadsheet programs, database programs, email programs, client management systems, and website publishing.
Ability to problem-solve and self-teach.

To Apply
Interested applicants should send a cover letter, resume, and at least two references to Applications are due by December 17, 2010. A selection will be made and applicants notified of the decision by December 31, 2010.

CDI is an equal opportunity employer. In accordance with Federal law and the U.S. Department of Agriculture policy, this institution is prohibited from discrimination on the base of race, color, national origin, sex, age, or disability. (Not all prohibited bases apply to all programs.)
To file a complaint of discrimination, contact:
Director, Office of Civil Rights
1400 Independence Avenue S.W.
Washington, D.C. 20250-9410
or call (800) 795-3272 (voice), or (202) 720-6382 (voice and TDD).

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Whatever happened to Swivel was a popular data visualization site that recently failed as a business. Some information is starting to trickle out about what happened, through an interview with its founders. Some choice quotes. First, expenditure:
We got a Round A funding of two million dollars. By the time I left, we had spent about three to four million dollars on the idea.
Second, income:
[How many paying users did you have in the end?] It was single digits
Ouch. Lessons learned? I'm cherry-picking my favorite here:
I think what we learned, like Roseman is saying, that the interface is not that important, that there are analysts who are really good at tools like R, SAS, etc. and prefer to continue to work in those tools to do powerful things with datasets.
Please read the article for the full context. I just wanted to highlight this point, which I think may be important for the Data Commons Project. I think it argues for letting people maintain their data with the tools they are expert with, rather than expecting them to use a new service. My personal theory is that distributed revision control systems are the way to go for collaborative data projects. Web-based services could be part of such a distributed ecosystem, but would not be its "hub".

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

FaceBook gives users access to their own data

Good news from FaceBook: users can now download everything they've ever put on the site. This is an important step towards transparency. The move is being welcomed by the DataPortability project, whose mission is to help people to use and protect the data they create on networked services - although they are careful to note that being able to download one's data is not the same as being able to control it (read Alisa Leonard).

Monday, October 11, 2010

FACT Social Justice Challenge 2010

Voting for the FACT Social Justice Challenge 2010 is now open on NetSquared. The goal of the challenge is to use web or mobile technologies to foster collaboration around social justice issues. The DCP has a proposal in there, which we invite you to vote for:
We propose building a collaborative directory of the rooted economy.

Our goal is to develop a democratically controlled, accurate, comprehensive, publicly searchable and updatable database of cooperative economic initiatives in North America. Rather than building just another website, we're experimenting with doing so in a (de-geekified) version of how programmers develop the open-source Linux code.

A vibrant movement for a cooperative and democratic economy is growing in North America. Offering innovative and effective alternatives to the “business as usual” of the distant, unaccountable corporations that dominate our economic, social and political landscape, cooperative enterprises and the organizations that support them are building an economy that truly works for people and the planet. But these efforts are often fragmented by geography, sector, and even organizational form. To succeed in changing the economic status quo, people need to find each other, help each other, work together, and be counted.

We're working on several fronts to make this happen. We're compiling a list of directories of the rooted economy (see and let us know about more to add, big and small). We are on track to create a Data Commons Cooperative to foster collaboration in the long term. We are developing free and open source software to show directories and make them editable, wiki-style (see, source code at - this directory will be used by Cooperative Maine, the California Center for Cooperative Development, and the Regional Index of Cooperation). In the course of our work, we've found that plenty of small and large groups are willing to share their data, but that right now it costs a lot more (in time) to do so than it ought to. People like to keep their data in spreadsheets or databases on their computers, and many are reluctant to move those online (e.g. to services like Google Docs). This is understandable, since it is most comfortable to edit data this way, and databases often have fields that should not be made public or stored externally. But that means sharing data can be a tedious and messy business of filtering, exporting, emailing, hand-merging, etc. Another sore spot is making updates to information: any update made in one spot filters slowly or not at all to other locations, and takes a good deal of effort to get there. We want to create a free and open source tool to speed up the process of sharing data and maintaining it up to date.

As it happens, a lot of the pieces are already in place. Programmers have created awesome tools for collaborating in comfort among themselves, which we believe could be just as useful for stream-lined knowledge sharing. What is needed now is a small, committed team who can bring “distributed revision control systems” to our communities in a useful form.

We've already developed a free and open-source program for merging tabular data, ssmerge. There aren't many such programs out there, and we believe ours out-performs them. We are integrating that with the fossil system ( for managing shared repositories. Fossil is free and open source, by the makers of Sqlite, a database used in Firefox, Skype, Apple Macs, many smart-phones, and plenty of websites. Fossil is uniquely lightweight and dependency-free, making it a pleasure to adapt to new uses. There's a first prototype of this work at (with links to documentation and download for Linux, Windows, or Macs). We believe it could be extended to become a great tool for easily sharing parts of spreadsheets and databases, with pain-free two-way flow of updates and additions between collaborators. That would really change the culture, just like similar tools have revolutionized the software world in favor of openness and distributed collaboration. We hope FACT will support us in bringing this change to life. For programmers, distributed revision control systems such as "git" and "bazaar" have proven their feasibility, and can scale from the smallest personal project to the largest (e.g. the Linux kernel). The Data Commons Project has data-sharing partners of all sizes, so we have a strong need for a similarly flexible tool. We suspect others have this need too. Our practice and commitment is to release all our code as free and open source, in ready-to-reuse form. If successful, the tools we build will have no need for central coordination, so there will be nothing to stop our work being used in any country, by any community, without needed to talk to us.

Here are some concrete examples of who we are working to benefit. This work will benefit large umbrella organizations such as NCBA (National Cooperative Business Association) and SEN (US Solidarity Economy Network). They will be able to systematically pull data (with filtering) from small, active networks and pool data with other large peer organizations with overlapping fields of interest. Just as importantly, the work will magnify the impact of data collection activities of smaller networks, such as Cooperative Maine, that focus on specific geographies, sectors, and/or organizational forms. The data-sharing tools and repository we build will assist collaboration between those networks and the overlapping umbrella organizations that represent their interests.

In general, through the proposed work and our other efforts, here's the "status quo" we're trying to improve on (quote anonymized on request):

“For [our co-op directory] we used a database that [a large co-op] had used previously and we added minimal additional data to it—I’m not sure what its origins are, however. I found that [a large sectoral umbrella group] was unable to provide a database of their members due to agreements with their members not to share data and [another large sectoral umbrella group] does not share [member organization] data because changes occur so frequently that the database would quickly become outdated. Those two entities hold a good chunk of the database info I had hoped to collect. The smaller cooperative organizations often do not have a well organized database—I got a [small co-op sector] list in a Word doc. So, those are some of the challenges I faced. That said, I think there are many in the cooperative community who would love to see a comprehensive cooperative database come to fruition.” – a co-op data aggregator

We are excited to find ways to systematically "hold a mirror" to bottom-up community driven organizations of all kinds, so that they become visible individually and in aggregate to their peers, to researchers, and to civic institutions.

Want to help? Vote here before October 15th:


CoopMetrics is a nifty service for benchmarking a cooperative against its peers, and finding ways to improve. By pooling and comparing financial data cooperatives in a particular sector can find out what works, what doesn't, and good ideas spread faster.
  • Details on the process: In summary, a co-op's accounts are mapped onto a standardized chart of accounts, quarterly trial balances are uploaded, and CoopMetrics crunches the data to provide various reports and comparisons. There are videos that give a sense of the steps involved.
  • History: CoopMetrics traces its lineage back to 1996, with the CoCoFiSt ("Common Cooperative Financial Statements") program developed by Walden Swanson and Kate Sumberg.
This is a great example of organizations gaining an advantage by pooling information, and extracting insight that would otherwise be elusive.

Hat tip: Jim Johnson

Friday, October 1, 2010

Happy October 1!

October is Co-op Month, with lots of fun Co-opy stuff going on. If all goes on schedule, by this time next year, the Data Commons Cooperative should be emerging from a warm nest of feasibility studies and market analysis to spread its wings and take flight. The cooperative is intended as a way to sustain our work long term, but we'll be excited to work with principled organizations of all kinds.

Happy October!

Thursday, September 30, 2010

UK Open Government License

Version 1.0 of the UK's Open Government License has been released, as developed by Her Majesty’s Stationery Office (good to see a stationery office that thinks beyond paperclips and printer paper!) It is similar to a Creative Commons attribution license with some added bits. Press release here - choice quote:
Commenting on the launch of the new licence, Lord McNally, Minister for The National Archives and Public Sector Information, said: 'The National Archives isn't simply a repository of our nation's history, its task is to bring information to life, make it accessible and enable its re-use. This innovative licence gives everyone the opportunity to create products and services which benefit society.'
update: there's some information from Beth Brook about why the Open Government License was developed, rather than using a Creative Commons license. In summary: they wanted a single license that covered both copyright and database rights, covering all UK jurisdictions, and which was as simple as possible (rather than having a simple summary but complex legal language).

update 2: post on about the license encouraging use of the license by local authorities.

update 3: analysis from on how this positions the UK.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Rooted economy directories

The growing list of rooted economy directories in this blog's sidebar is now a package in CKAN. CKAN is an open registry of data and content packages. You can download the directory list as a CSV file.
We maintain the list using Coopy, an experiment in distributed data collection.

"Have you and a colleague ever ended up with two versions of the same spreadsheet, with a mess of independently-made changes that now need to be merged? Coopy makes that problem go away."

Coopy applies the fossil distributed version control system, normally used for software development, to the problem of data collection.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

More funding!

The DCP has received a grant for tech development from the Cooperative Charitable Trust (founded by Bob Giel). Thanks very much!

Thursday, August 26, 2010


We have just received word that an application submitted back in February to fund organizational and business development of the Data Commons Cooperative has been approved. We now have the means to really research what services we can provide to whom at what cost to become a sustainable democratic business. For our early adopter data sharing organizations, this is the time to get to the nitty gritty! More details -- and ways to help us figure this out -- coming soon.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Private organization, open data

Infochimps has a post about the pros and cons of opening data, from the perspective of a private organization (as opposed to governments, which have been getting a lot of attention recently). Infochimps is a nifty site:
We’ve been working since the start of 2008 to build the world’s most interesting data commons, and since the start of 2009 to build the world’s first data marketplace.

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Have your cake and eat it

Does your so-called open data pass the cake test? Can you have a baker put a picture of it on a cake for you? If you can't figure this out in a minute or two (hmm, the baker profits commercially, and redistributes, is that ok?) then the data isn't very open, is it? (Here's the original post, in Spanish)

API versus downloadable dataset

There's an interesting discussion on Nat Friedman's blog about API versus downloadable data. Lots of new data sources are popping up online that wrap up their databases in a nice friendly fashion, which is great, but sometimes it would be very useful to cut out the middleman and grab the databases directly. Mark Colburn brings up some reasons to prefer an API, including clarity of provenance, reliability of data, and maintaining control over updates.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

The open data movement

A short inspirational talk from Tim Berners-Lee at TED: the year open data went worldwide. He gives real-world examples of open data making a difference to people's lives, from avoiding bicycle accidents to recovery in Haiti.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

UK address database

Tom Hughes has posted a response to a consultation about releasing Ordnance Survey data in the UK. He gives a very good summary of the current options for licensing open data (we are ourselves trying to figure out how to communicate clearly about this). Along the way, he speaks in favor of a national address register in the UK, for an interesting reason:
I believe that there would be significant benefit to the release of an address product, if only to try and break the current deadlock that apparently exists in government and avoid the current crazy situation where different branches of government appear to be competing with each to maintain their own address databases. Perhaps the craziest product of this infighting is the decision of the Office for National Statistics to create (at a cost of at least 12 million pounds) yet another address database in order to deliver the 2011 census. They then propose to discard that database once the census is complete.
Data often gets stuck in single projects or communities, even with the best of intentions. The Fórum Brasileiro de Economia Solidária, which has done massive well-funded surveys of organizations in Brazil, apparently filters out organizations that don't in the end meet the specific criteria they care about from their searchable, mappable online index. Hopefully the data isn't thrown away, but it certainly isn't easy to get to.

On the one hand, it is great to have a laser-like focus on one's community or project. However it is sad to miss out on the opportunities that collaboration with partially overlapping communities or projects can bring. The benefits are fuzzier and longer-term, but no less real.

However, making data public is hard work, and costly. Lowering that cost is a goal of the DCP. That will make it easier for organizations to justify the decision to divert some resources from achieving their own objectives to helping others achieve theirs, when the benefit to them of doing so is speculative rather than known from precedent.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Nonprofit mapping, an illustrated guide

The folks at have put together a fun and friendly Illustrated Guide to Nonprofit GIS and Online Mapping. Check out the clever cover graphic.

Here's what they have to say about obstacles to mapping projects (page 15):
Privacy: many nonprofit organizations collect address or other relevant data about their constituents, clients, donors, partners, and other community members. It's crucial to safeguard any data that has an expectation of privacy.

Community representation: it's critical that all stakeholders are considered during mapping/GIS projects, especially those projects that will influence decisions made concerning the community in question.

Discrimination issues: maps and GIS have been used to promote diversity, fair housing, and fair election practices, but they've also historically been used for discriminatory purposes against certain races or groups.

Intellectual property issues: in addition to software licensing issues concerning mapping/GIS software, many sources and types of data are embargoed by various intellectual property protections, such as copyrights and license agreements.
Along the way, they point to an interesting article on Idealware, on Understanding the Alphabet Soup of Data Exchange, which is a good general summary of the challenges of data integration in non-profits.

Making open data useful

Interesting post on the "tragedy of Edmontorcouver open data" from an OpenStreetMap contributor. They argue that municipal efforts at releasing data don't have the impact that they might have, because of the following mistakes (Edmontorcouver seems to be a fictional placename, but this presumably reflects experience with real towns is Edmonton/Toronto/Vancouver):
  1. They expected a new community to build itself.
  2. They wrote their own license.

Here's the advice given for rescuing such efforts:
  1. Curate your data and make it the best data possible.
  2. License the data with the PDDL.

The argument is that the municipality shouldn't be in the business of "curating" a community, since they won't be very good at it, and there are better curators already out there (e.g. the OpenStreetMap community). The municipality should focus on allocating resources to getting local experts to curate the local data. Similarly for the license, the municipality shouldn't be in the business of curating a custom license now that there are serviceable options already out there:

... the good folks at the Open Data Commons make it easy to select an appropriate license for your open data. Use the Public Domain Dedication and License if you want protect your interests by disclaiming liability and you want your data to have the widest possible audience. [Hint: you do!]

Sunday, February 28, 2010

Big list of directories

The "links to other directories" section on this blog has been growing steadily over time, as Noemi digs up more and more directories related in some way to what we've been calling the "rooted economy." Here's a snapshot of the list, for those following by RSS or email:

If you know of a directory that isn't on the list yet, please share!

Saturday, February 27, 2010

Best practice for open data, a reading list

It can be hard to convince data-sharers that data being "freely available" on a web-page isn't the end of the argument about whether that data can be reused. Here's a collection of postings I've found helpful in understanding the issues.
For comparison purposes, it is worth looking at the history of software repositories. For example, Debian has 20,000+ packages within it (depending how you count), covering every kind of software under the sun (and beyond, stargazers should check out the "stellarium" package). A typical package will depend on a dozen or so other packages, which in turn depend on others. It is a massive work of aggregation. There are huge technical challenges, but underlying the solution is the Debian social contract and their Free Software Guidelines. Here are the guidelines in full:

  1. Free Redistribution

    The license of a Debian component may not restrict any party from selling or giving away the software as a component of an aggregate software distribution containing programs from several different sources. The license may not require a royalty or other fee for such sale.

  2. Source Code

    The program must include source code, and must allow distribution in source code as well as compiled form.

  3. Derived Works

    The license must allow modifications and derived works, and must allow them to be distributed under the same terms as the license of the original software.

  4. Integrity of The Author's Source Code

    The license may restrict source-code from being distributed in modified form _only_ if the license allows the distribution of patch files with the source code for the purpose of modifying the program at build time. The license must explicitly permit distribution of software built from modified source code. The license may require derived works to carry a different name or version number from the original software. (This is a compromise. The Debian group encourages all authors not to restrict any files, source or binary, from being modified.)

  5. No Discrimination Against Persons or Groups

    The license must not discriminate against any person or group of persons.

  6. No Discrimination Against Fields of Endeavor

    The license must not restrict anyone from making use of the program in a specific field of endeavor. For example, it may not restrict the program from being used in a business, or from being used for genetic research.

  7. Distribution of License

    The rights attached to the program must apply to all to whom the program is redistributed without the need for execution of an additional license by those parties.

  8. License Must Not Be Specific to Debian

    The rights attached to the program must not depend on the program's being part of a Debian system. If the program is extracted from Debian and used or distributed without Debian but otherwise within the terms of the program's license, all parties to whom the program is redistributed should have the same rights as those that are granted in conjunction with the Debian system.

  9. License Must Not Contaminate Other Software

    The license must not place restrictions on other software that is distributed along with the licensed software. For example, the license must not insist that all other programs distributed on the same medium must be free software.

  10. Example Licenses

    The GPL, BSD, and Artistic licenses are examples of licenses that we consider free.

There's a lot going on here, and not all of it applies to data. But the desired outcome could perhaps be summarized as:
  • We want stuff than can be collected, mixed, and redistributed to others, who can in turn do the same.
  • We only want stuff that expressly permits such activity, and where the owners don't have any requirements that make such activity excessively complicated.
While data and software are different, projects like the DCP (and many others) would like to see this same outcome achieved for data. A challenge is that there is so much data out there that is "freely available" on a random website, but doesn't expressly permit aggregation, or state any requirements on allowed use. And yet, almost certainly, there are implicit requirements (no commercial use! no use by organizations my members disapprove of!) which may or may not have legal force but certainly ought to be respected by a well-behaved aggregator, even if the only way to respect them without splitting up the "data commons" too much would be by omitting the data entirely.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Linking with International Projects

There are a few key "data commons"-like projects that I think we should be following, connecting with, and perhaps collaborating with. A primary question for the DCP, I think, is: to what extent can we draw from and learn from (possibly adapt) the technologies of these projects (all open source) to serve DCP's goals? Are there things that DCP can contribute to these projects?

Mapping databases: (Italian) (Portuguese) (Portuguese)

Brasil also has a site that does social networking for their SE enterpises: (Portuguese)

It uses this application: (English)

With regards to this last application, it's built (like the DCP application) in Ruby on Rails. Is it possible that DCP could integrate it into our current work and have a readily-useable social networking/online commerce application up-and-running fairly quickly?

datapkg: data/knowledge packaging

Via the Open Knowledge Foundation Blog, we're excited to see datapkg maturing. This is a command-line tool for discovering, installing and sharing data packages. If you are familiar with Linux, the idea is to do for data what apt-get/aptitude/dpkg do for programs, with registries like CKAN playing the role for data that Debian or other distributions do for programs. For example, with datapkg installed, one can do something like this:

$ datapkg search ckan:// economics
stw_thesaurus_for_economics -- STW Thesaurus for Economics
energy-stern-review-economics-climate-change -- The Stern Review -- The Economics of Climate Chanage
repec -- Research Papers in Economics
unstats -- United Nations Statistical Databases
usa_bls_employment -- USA Employment status of the civilian noninstitutional population, 1940 to date
eurostat-gfs -- Eurostat - Government Finance Statistics (GFS) Data
numbrary -- Numbrary
economagic -- Economagic Economic Time Series
pl-budget -- Poland - Ministry of Finance - Budget
econ-alfred -- ALFRED: ArchivaL Federal Reserve Economic Data
ehnet -- Economic History Services Databases
eu-cohesion-beneficiaries-ie -- EU Cohesion Beneficiaries - Ireland
nl-statistics -- Netherlands - Statistics
econ-gdp-historical -- World Population, GDP and Per Capita GDP, 1-2003 AD
esfdb -- European State Finance Database
econ-fraser -- FRASER - Federal Reserve Archival System for Economic Research
fi-budget -- Finland - Valtiovarainministeriö - Budget
econ-fred -- Federal Reserve Economic Data
ceprdata -- CEPR Data

$ datapkg info ckan://econ-gdp-historical
## Package: econ-gdp-historical

name: econ-gdp-historical
title: World Population, GDP and Per Capita GDP, 1-2003 AD
version: None
license: Non-OKD Compliant::Other
author: None
author_email: None
maintainer: None
maintainer_email: None
notes: ### Author

Angus Maddison

### Openness: Not open

* No license
* Plus following statement attached to link to data: "Last update: March 2007, copyright Angus Maddison"

### Format

* xls (excel)
tags: ['economic', 'history', 'gdp', 'license-not-specified', 'data']
extras: {}

$ datapkg install ckan://econ-gdp-historical .
Registering ...
Created on disk at: ./econ-gdp-historical
Downloading package resources ...
horizontal-file_03-2007.x 100% |=========================| 1.5 MB 00:03

$ ls -R

horizontal-file_03-2007.xls metadata.txt

In other words, it gets a whole lot easier to discover and install data in an organized fashion. One exciting thing about that is that this opens the door to propagating changes and updates in a sane way, a topic near to our hearts. Good stuff!