New York Times: OpenData

Jeff Dalton has a great post up about the New York Times‘ recent announcement: the paper has lauched data.nytimes.com.  Currently the service offers 5k named (i.e. people) subject headings from the NYT news vocabulary.  The headings are available as linked open data.  More headings are on the way.

Handwringing (e.g. here, here and here) , maybe deserved, has been in abundance recently in the arena of print journalism.  Finding/maintaining viable business models for high-quality reporting in environments where free information is readily available is a challenge.

I’ve been rooting for NYT in this struggle.  In this respect I’m glad to see their release of data.  Rather than leaning on the obvious and dubious advertising model or walled gardens, this strikes me as a gambit for a novel approach to attacking the problem of the papers’ value.

Can we (i.e. hackers of textual data) repurpose and add value to the excellent information compiled by the Times’ editors?  Is there a viable business model for the Times that could emerge from releasing data, as opposed to closing it?  It’s a creative response to a problem that is full of caricature.  I hope we’ll take up the challenge.

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