Open Database Files

The Open Data Project exists with the vision to allow users the chance to freely share data without fear of copyright infringement or patent protection suits. Open database files are those, therefore, which can be used, modified and added to for free, without any fear of legal action. The article below will describe everything you need to know in order to begin using Open Database Files as a part of your own projects, or simply to test your newly developed software.

What is an Open Database File?

An open database file is any which is freely available in a convenient and modifiable form, while remaining machine-readable. The data also must be easy to modify and edit, as well as easy to integrate other data sheets to. In addition to this, the database must be available universally. Universal availability means that no group or potential use of the database should be discouraged or discriminated against, as long as the users obey the terms of the license agreement. For example, the authour of a database cannot impose a condition that the database is only to be used for non-commercial applications, or just for educational or research applications.

What are the restrictions on Open Database Files?

For the most part, there are very few restrictions imposed on open source database files. The only conditions employed are not true restrictions on usage at all, but simply actions which must be taken in order to use the data in accordance with the license under which the database operates. There are usually only two such conditions governing usage of the database: you must attribute the data and share-alike. Correct attribution of the database and the data contained within it can be carried out by investigating the conditions set down within the database's license. The license normally contains a set of in-depth instructions detailing exactly how to attribute the database, so this is the first place to look before incorporating the database into a project. The share-alike clause relates to what to do with changes and modifications you may make to the database. Any additions, revisions, corrections or restructuring of the database must be shared for free with the rest of the Open Data community.

Although the database itself must remain free, this is not to say that the database cannot be incorporated into a commercial program; the clause simply compels you to include a free copy of the modified database alongside the software to allow the other members of the open data community to benefit from your use of the database.

Open source companies and software developers listed here.

What are the advantages of Open Database Files?

Open Database Files allow important information to be shared and distributed quickly and easily between groups of researchers or interested individuals, thereby facilitating advancements in a whole selection of fields, ranging from finance and economics all the way to scientific research. As well as this, sharing data with others encourages the development of efficient standardised formats for the databases, thereby increasing productivity and the speed of data processing for every user who utilises the open source system. Databases are a key component of a huge list of commercially available systems, and acquiring a large set of data is a fantastic way of building and refining a system designed to handle, search or modify data. For this reason, making data open source is a fantastic way to boost commercial growth of the software development industry, and stimulate the production and maturation of new and innovative developments in software development.

The cornerstone of the open data movement is the inherent interoperability and compatibility that ensures all users of the open database files have access to the same data, and are able to make the most of the information provided to them. Only by enforcing this interoperability can a creative commons be established and maintained. By reading the article above, any user should have no problem determining exactly what an Open Database File is, how it is to be used, and why it's a good idea to use them over commercial or private data files. Although this article is a good place to start, a full understanding of this area can only be achieved by studying the topics surrounding open source database files, and carefully reading the license of any file which you envisage using as part of your projects.