Going Global?

November 2011

The Data Commons Cooperative is made up of organizations from the U.S. and Canada, and is working on integrating data from those regions.  We've been pleased by a few recent inquiries  - from Indonesia and from the U.K. - about why we're limiting our regional scope.  Why not go global?   


The answer is that we are and we aren't.  


From a tech perspective, we hope that our work will catch on and reach all corners of the globe.   The software we are developing - the tools for sharing - are licensed as open source platforms and we would love if people from everywhere would install, develop,  and contribute to maintaining them.   Our tools are made to be decentralized and if there were many installations, it would set the stage for a much larger collaboration.  Primarily I'm referring to:


The Data Commons Directory software, which we are using to for find.coop and assorted subdomains.  Instructions for downloading and installing the software locally are available at cultivate.coop.  Bugs can be reported at our launchpad site.  


The Coopy diff/patch tool, our longer term development for creating synchronization between databases, is available at share.find.coop.

Software development in general is not limited to any region.   A lot of our work is volunteer, but sometimes we have paid projects.  If you are interested in getting involved with our current tech team, join our tech email list and say hello.   


Where we are regionally limiting ourselves is in the membership of our nascent cooperative.   There are two major reasons for this.  One is that it helps us organizationally to start with a smaller group, in nearby time zones, to hammer out our structure and business model.   The second is that sharing data is a leap of faith for some organizations that are concerned about the privacy of their constituency.  Members want to be able to control what gets shared , and having a smaller group, many of whom work with each other on other projects, helps us with trust as work through bugs on this front. 


So: the software is available globally, our current membership is regional for now, with an eye on the larger world as our organization grows.