Tracking Down Cultural Data (part 3)

This is the third blog summarising the challenges around setting parameters for our ambitious data pilot. At this point it is probably a good idea to remind ourselves of the guiding purpose of the pilot:

The aim is to create a single data source that can be used as the basis for a variety of digital platforms and applications that can, in turn, help to:

  • Showcase Kent’s cultural assets to the broadest audience possible.
  • Promote the county as a cultural destination for residents and local, national and international visitors.
  • Ensure people are aware of what’s going on in every part of the county, wherever they are.

It’s also important to remember that the project has grown a bit since its first inception and now includes more qualitative experiments in collaboration and engagement to achieve the three bullet-points – but which can also feed into the data-driven work.

As the last two posts have shown, with data collection and management, the devil is in the detail. We now have to wrestle with some specific decisions on how to progress.

It doesn’t seem reasonable to expect people to input data into a new, separate database so, if they only input data once, should it be into a central source from which relevant information is pushed out to their websites? Or should we make something that pulls that information from what they are already doing into our central data-pool? Or could we just select one of the data sources currently available and adapt it and encourage others to use it (e.g. the Visit Kent website, the Kent Online website)?

Which are the organisations whose information is essential to give us a worthwhile critical mass? How do we make sure it is still relevant and easy for smaller cultural organisations to take part? What’s our definition of cultural? Would it be useful to have information about restaurants, bars etc as well as the traditional arts / culture organisations? Could including this kind of information lead to an application which would help visitors plan whole itineraries? Or would it dilute our primary purpose?

Should we try to work out one big master plan? Or should we try to use more Agile-like processes?

And when we have our amazing data pool, what are we going to use it for? Probably not yet another website, given the proliferation of websites currently available … maybe an app or, what? And once whatever it is built, how will we market that tool? Questions that we will begin to answer over the next little while. We’ll let you know how we get on!

Read the previous post: Tracking Down Cultural Data in Kent (part 1)

Read the previous post: Tracking Down Cultural Data in Kent (part 2)

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