Data is the Next Intel Inside

21 Mar

Why is data the next intel inside?

One of web 2.0 patterns is “Data is the Next Intel Inside”. This means data is as important as CPU in web 2.0 applications. Every computer has CPU and it is one of greatly important and necessary components. If there was not a CPU or the CPU was broken, that computer would not work. Like this, if a web 2.0 site did not have any data or the data had some problems, the site would be useless. As a result, a core technique of web 2.0 applications has become database management. Hal Varian says, “SQL is the new HTML.” In addition, a database application is often called infoware rather than merely software because of its importance. It clearly shows the core of applications is no longer technology, but data. Services are connected by database and it leads to mashups and creates new value.

Who owns the data?

This fact leads to a key question: Who owns the data? It is often shown that control of database by someone leads to control of the whole market in cyber space. In fact, it is very difficult to hold a dominant position in a business in the age of web 2.0. Nevertheless, if it is possible to dominate database, it may be easy to hold a dominant position, especially when the huge amounts of money is required to create the data or when a base for profits can be expanded by network effect. Therefore, nowadays many web 2.0 sites strive to develop and own unique data, and to establish their own database system supporting their data.


Citizendium is one of the examples. It is an open wiki project dedicated to creating a free, comprehensive, and reliable repository of structured knowledge. The project aims to improve on the Wikipedia model by providing increased reliability. In general, web 2.0-based encyclopedia sites like Wikipedia have the weakness of unreliability because they are easy to access and everybody can write and edit on the websites without any restrictions. Therefore, Citizendium is designed to make up for the weakness. It has striven to provide reliable information by managing its data in its own ways since 2007.

In fact, Citizendium is very similar to Wikipedia.  It has similar contents and functions. Citizendium also can be used by everybody like Wikipedia and its contents are made by users. However, it has definite differences. It does not allow anonymous editing unlike Wikipedia and participants must register under their real names with a working email address. Moreover, credentialed topic experts are invited to review articles written by participants. As a result, Citizendium has established its own reliable data. Reliable data gotten, reviewed and  edited through these ways is autonomously owned by Citizendium, so people can generally use the data but somebody may need to get permission from Citizendium if the person wants to use its data reviewed and edited. In addition, Citizendium manages its data in its own ways. All articles can be read by users, but those articles are ranked according to the degree of reliability. There are five classes in that site, and the class of each article can be changed if it is reviewed and edited. Moreover, if users do not want to see unreliable articles, they can see only reliable articles reviewed and edited by experts through clicking the link to approved articles on the first page of the website. Like this, Citizendium is striving to increase its value by providing a differentiated services unlike other online encyclopedias whose data are created by users.

However, in spite of its efforts, there is a limit which must be overcome to be widely used. Citizendium is somewhat complicated to post or edit an article. As it does not allow anonymous participants, users must resister and reveal their real names if they want to post some articles or edit something. It might be tiresome to some people. In particular, the people who are reluctant to reveal their real names will never participate in posting or editing. Citizendium is the website where contents are created and developed by participation of users, so its quality will decline if it does not have many participants. Therefore, Citizendium must strive to overcome its limit and attract many participants through providing some options. If it could attract many participants and keep the high reliability, its data would be more valuable and might make enormous profits.


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6 Responses to “Data is the Next Intel Inside”

  1. James March 26, 2012 at 10:51 pm #

    I have ever used this, but I think this has some weaknesses as you mentioned above. When I used this site, I felt uncomfortable. It was a good try, but to achieve their goal they need to make more efforts. Great analysing the website! Thanks.

    • subinkim March 28, 2012 at 8:05 am #

      I agree with you, James. For the reason, they are still making an effort to overcome those weaknesses. In fact, there are many better quality articles on Citizendium than Wikipedia. So I hope its success through overcoming its weaknesses. Thanks for your comment.

  2. Dave April 2, 2012 at 12:46 pm #

    Hey there,
    Your description of the pattern was impressive. Thanks for good explanation. 🙂
    But I’m curious as to why you chose this site as the best example. Of course, this can be an example. However many sites can be examples as well as this site. Is there special reason why you chose this?

    • subinkim April 3, 2012 at 1:55 am #

      Hello, Dave.

      Thank you for your comment. This is the best example I can give. Of course I know there are many examples which show application of this pattern. However, unfortunately, I know only few websites in English. Therefore, I had to find the example among them. If you know better examples, please let me know it. It is very interesting to get to know new websites. 🙂

  3. MOHAMMED April 4, 2012 at 12:42 am #

    Thank you subinkim on this site, It is really interesting. I really like the part when you mentions ” Citizendium manages its data in its own ways ” if you want to be well know you have to create a new ways to attract users.

    On the other hand, trying to be like a big site or a well known like Wikipedia requires a lot of hard work.


    • subinkim April 6, 2012 at 12:34 am #

      I agree with you. Even though the site has a good quality data system, that site will be useless if only few people use that site. Therefore, in order to be a big and useful site, much effort to attract many people is required. Thanks for commenting on my blog. 🙂

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