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New publication: business intelligence in the aid sector

on September 12th, 2012 at 11:59:41 AM

Announing a new publication: "An Information Platform for Business Intelligence in the Aid Sector based on Open Data and Documents; Integrated Access to structured and unstructured data using the document-oriented database CouchDB", by Michiel Kuijper.

Earlier this year, I was approached by Michiel Kuijper, who was working on his Bachelor degree at the Amsterdam University of Applied Sciences, and was looking for a project to combine Business Intelligence and text mining. Together, we started exploring how to apply this in the development aid sector.

In development aid, more and more information on aid activities is becoming available as structured data published according to the IATI standard. At the same time, a lot of mostly unstructured information is available in documents. We wanted to bring these two together.

  • From a business case perspective: how can a "business intelligence" approach help in data processing and analysis, based on performance indicators.
  • From a technical perspective: how can we deal with the large variety and volume of the data and documents.
  • From an information perspective: how can we combine a variety of structured and unstructured information for various purposes.

Michiel has put all of this together in a proof of concept "platform for business intelligence" based on CouchDB, using OpenCalais to annotate documents and with a front-end based on Exhibit and Simile.

A protocol for IATI implementation by CSOs: your comments, please!

on August 28th, 2012 at 4:22:12 PM

The International Aid Transparency Initiative (IATI) provides a standard to publish information on aid activities, and is intended to be used by (and useful for) all actors in development aid.

Interest is definitely growing and several organisations are investigating how to implement the standard. In several countries, national platforms of civil society organisations (CSOs) are engaging in discussions with their respective Ministries how to encourage and support implementation of IATI by CSOs. In the UK, DFID is even making IATI-compliant publication of data a condition for funding.