Wednesday, October 1, 2008

wwpjd? analyzing data, philip johnson style

I've been thinking a lot about what it would mean to analyze data from a glass house... All of a sudden reminds me of the time when Nick Denton opened up his blogging storefront on Crosby Street. 

Who can't relate to the situation when immersed in data, you yearn to channel various statisticians, or even your grad school advisor to figure out how best to proceed? Alternatively, have you ever been reviewing someone else's data, wanting desperately to point out something you think is interesting-- that you feel they should know, given your own forays in different data sets?

Several companies are getting into this idea of collaborative data analysis to help efficiently communicate important things as the amount of information proliferates. Early on, I reviewed one such impressive offering, I was immediately taken with the idea of a community designed around data analysis-- not only the ability to annotate analyses, but access to wealths of metadata on who made the annotation, what else they've commented on, their background, expertise, etc. 

Today, Matt Hurst, a former colleague of mine blogged about DataDepot from Microsoft Research. Strangely, I can't access it anymore, but earlier I noticed there's a lot of room for engagement with the data here... commenting, annotating, easily adding new datasets. This could really transform the way we happen upon empirical insights and highlight complex relationships; and, in the end, happen upon emergent outcomes. No more ivory towers!

What, beyond privacy concerns, are the repercussions of analyzing data in a glass house? Seems like it could really motivate researchers to be productive... 

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