Posted 29 August, 2012 by Alix Dunn

The Pull Project: Connecting Public Data on Technology and Social Change

We here at the engine room like data.

We like to learn about the smart advocates around the world who are adopting new tools to push for social change.

We also like knowing more about the tools and the tactics they are employing.

And most importantly, we like to see if anyone else we know could benefit from the documented successes of others or the resources available.

Good thing for us, there are a lot of organizations in the space of technology and advocacy that do an excellent job documenting. They create databases on everything from tools, to case studies, guides, contextual data about digital threats, community conversations about tactics, and many more things that keep us reading.

We do our best to keep up to date on what data is being produced, but it’s not easy. Most data sets are siloed in sites because everyone uses different methods for describing data and different technologies for hosting it. This isn’t a problem of willingness to share, it’s a lack of coordinated collaboration.

Facilitating the good work of others by making information easier to access and resources easier to find is a big part of our mandate. So we chewed on the problem for a while. In a brainstorm with one of our advisors (thanks Gunner!) the idea for the Pull Project was born.

So what is it?

The Pull Project is built of three parts:

  1. An Open API that pulls from existing databases hosting information about technology in advocacy (we’ve teamed up with the Toolbox Initiative to make this happen)
  2. An easy-to-use and embed search interface that can query databases in the Pull Library
  3. A set of technical and taxonomical standards for future data sets that make sharing and finding as easy as searching in the Pull interface

How can you be a part of the project?

If you have data, or are planning to generate data about how technology impacts advocacy, we would love to talk to you. And if you have ideas about how a community project like this should work, let us know. We are also hiring a project lead to help us plan and implement Pull. If you or someone you know would like to apply, get in touch with us at pull [at] theengineroom [dot] org.

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