May 22, 2018

Palo Alto Library Makes Data Available Via an Open Platform

The Palo Alto City Library has made its statistical data available to the public via an open data platform recently implemented by the city.

The city partnered with the cloud-based Junar Open Data Platform in order to increase public access to high value, machine-readable datasets generated by various service areas and departments, including the library.

The library now has an open data page which shows numerous statistical items, such as how library funds are spent, what materials are checked out, and how many visitors the library sees each year. The datasets are accompanied by graphs, and users can share the information and take actions such as getting embed codes, exporting data views or exporting to Excel or to Google spreadsheets, to name a few.

“The library is excited to have our information more widely available to the community,” said Monique le Conge, the library’s director, in a press release. “We are equally eager to see how the information will be used and what innovations for libraries might result.”

The project was led by Jonathan Reichenthal, the city’s chief information officer. The city anticipates that by making the data available in this way, it will increase community engagement. Members of the public can participate in challenges and hackathons that will develop applications that save money and enhance city services at no cost to the city.

“We are delighted to work with a local, innovative Silicon Valley start‐up,” Reichenthal said in the library press release. “Rather than just publishing lists of datasets, the cloud‐based Junar platform has enhancement and visualization capabilities that make the data useful even before it is downloaded or consumed by a software application.”

Michael Kelley About Michael Kelley

Michael Kelley is the former Editor-in-Chief, Library Journal.