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Swivel and Nationmaster – data visualisation online (updated)

I’ve been doing a lot of thinking about data visualisation – both as part of the Design Hub project and to find new ways of opening up the OPAC data to developers and researchers.

Paul McCarthy put me on to Nationmaster which lets you compare various statistics by country and across countries. There are some nifty things you can do with it.

Swivel is the web2.0 version of Nationmaster. Swivel lets anyone upload a dataset and visualise it, and mash it up with other people’s datasets, and plenty more.

[old post content – The only troubling thing is their license agreement which may limit what some people might want to do with it. I should clarify that most web 2.0 companies have similar license agreements with users as everyone tries to figure out how to make money out of user-created data.]


Brian at Swivel and I had a bit of an email conversation following my initial blog post in which I suggested they might consider a Creative Commons approach especially when dealing with data supplied by the non-profit and government sectors. They have now updated their legal conditions following a meeting with CC. I’m very pleased that Swivel have done this! (Not to mention slightly excited that this blog has had such an impact – its readership grows and grows beyond the museum sphere)

2 replies on “Swivel and Nationmaster – data visualisation online (updated)”

Hi there. Thanks for the post about Swivel.

About your OPAC data: we are hiring a team of college interns at Swivel who will help folks like you get large amounts of data into Please let me know if you’re interested.

About the terms of service: our model for data is pretty new. We strove to create terms of use that would be fair. If you see something about the terms that concern you, please let us know and we’ll work on finding a better balance.

Brian Mulloy
CEO & Cofounder

I don;t kow if you have seen this already, but Casey Bisson, an infrmation architect at Plymouth State University in New Hampshire, is developing a WordPress based OPAC, WPopac – a very interesting idea that meshes well with much of the stuff you are doing at Poerhouse, from what I understand of it.

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