We use proven tools and techniques to make important data for the cooperative sector easy to find, use, improve and share.
Cooperative businesses and the organizations that support them need to work together to coordinate resources and engage in effective collective action that advances the cooperative movement. To achieve this, members of the cooperative community must effectively share a wide range of information, data and knowledge with one another.
We believe that #opendata can help — and that the #opendata and cooperative movements can benefit from the best practices of one another.
- The cooperative movement wants groups to utilize democratic processes when making important decisions. That's why we're aspiring to be an inclusive and well-run platform cooperative. Learn more about our governance.
- The #opendata movement wants information about cooperatives to be organized using open data models co-created by its users. That's the work of our data standards group. The #opendata movement also wants data to be made available in bulk via open file formats and APIs. Browse our datasets and API information below.
Open Data Standards
We organize regular meetings of a data standards group that develops and approves shared open data models.
Open Coop Directory
We produce an open, API-accessible directory of cooperative enterprises and support organizations around the US.
Open Data Repository
We provide the coop community with a world-class CKAN data sharing platform.
Why a Directory?
We want to make it easier for newcomers and participants in the collaborative economy to develop a clear picture of what does and does not exist in this growing space. In doing so, we hope to reveal the potential for new opportunities and collaborations so that this sector can become bigger and stronger.
Why "Open Data"?
Open data allows organizers, researchers and service-providers to understand, analyze, visualize and contribute to the collaborative economy. Without open data, people are forced to constantly “re-invent the wheel” by collecting and organizing the same or similar data over and over again. Sharing is better!
We need cooperative sector-wide data sharing so that customers, vendors, nonprofits and government agencies who want to do business with cooperatives can do so more easily. If we want to see:
- cooperatives using labeling to note which products are cooperatively made (the equivalent of “fair trade” or “non-GMO” labelling);
- the emergence of cooperative online platforms that cater to coops and their customers;
- cooperatives sourcing inputs from other cooperatives; and
- the proliferation of cooperatives throughout the country and the world,
...then we need to invest time, effort and knowledge into the development of useful, open-data models and the tools needed to utilize them.
- Create a set of core data resources that our community can use as source materials to develop data standards and conventions.
- Build a data standards group consisting of motivated stakeholders in the cooperative community that want to develop and approve data standard and conventions.
- Develop our first data standard, approve it and publicize it to our community.
- Launch a basic data repository (using open source CKAN software) and invite organizations to use it to publish data related to our core data standard.
- Build training materials and organize online and offline training events that show cooperatives and their supporters why and how to use the data standard.
- Organize a set of hackathons and invite software developers to help convert organization’s data sets into standard compliant formats and to build applications that use this data in interesting and useful ways.
- Rinse and repeat for additional data standards until the entire cooperative data universe is semantic.
Stewardship by Sarapis
Sarapis is the underappreciated Ptolemeic god of information management, and also the name of a 501.c.3 organization with a mission to help nonprofits, community groups and free/libre/open projects benefit from the best practices of one another. In this situation we're helping convene productive conversations and actions that lead more valuable data exchange between stakeholders. We do similar work in humanitarian aid and regenerative agriculture communities.
Our focus is on instigating and facilitating processes whereby stakeholders — including networks, agencies, enterprises and communities — establish data sharing conventions to enable more information flow. By making it easier for people to follow information conventions such as using software, sharing data models, making vocabularies explicit and engaging in decision-making practices, good ideas can spread faster.
We actively collaborate with the cooperative knowledge sharing community and hope to work with them to document and spread open source collaboration practices as widely as possible so we can more people can benefit from the fruits of their own labor and civilization's technological progress.