Shannon Clark


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MeshForum hosted collections of Network Data for researchers

author Posted by: Shannon on date Aug 17th, 2006 | filed Filed under: my Blogs

MeshForum’s mission is to foster research into Networks. One vital part of this mission is our annual MeshForum conferences and our monthly MeshWalk events. With this post I am announcing another way MeshForum will the community of researchers, companies and organizations who are working with and within Networks. MeshForum will be working with sponsoring companies to make large, real-world data sets available to researchers. These data sets will be drawn from a wide range of industries and types of networks, likewise the data is intended for researchers working in many fields and with a variety of tools and techniques for the analysis and study of Networks.

In the light of the ongoing complications around AOL’s release of search data for researchers, a major aspect of MeshForum’s service offering to sponsoring organizations and companies will be to work closely with the source of each data set to ensure that no personal data or propriatary information is released as part of the data collections, while also working to ensure that any necessary modifications to the data do not impact the network analysis of the data collection. In many cases this may mean that certain collections of data can not be released, or can only be released in forms suitable for some types of analysis (aggregate but not specific individuals for example).

MeshForum will seek to make these data collections as widely available as possible and will be working with all organizations and tools vendors to help define interoperable standards for the exchange of network data collections. We will work with other data repositories and research organizations. Our mission is to work in an open and interdisciplinary manner, so we will be seeking data collections from a very wide spectrum of types of networks – biological systems, transportation networks, supply chains, economic/business transactional records, data sets derived from social art projects, social network data collections and many more.

Data sets may also be of any size, though we will actively seek large, “real-world” scale data collections to make the largest and richest collections of network data available for research.

We will be exploring a variety of funding mechanisms for these data collections and related services. Our intent will be to balance the desire to make these data collections as widely available as possible, while covering the costs of collecting, storing, preserving, sharing and wherever possible updating these data collections. We will ask corporate providers of data to help cover many of the costs associated with their datasets. We will seek to make this data available both to academic institutions and corporate (or government) researchers equally.

If you are interested in working with MeshForum to make one or more collections of data available please contact us either via the contact us page on our website, via leaving a comment here, or by calling MeshForum at 1.800.454.4929.

If you are interested in researching networks and would be interested in any data sets we collect (or have specific types of data sets you would be interested in working with) please also contact us. We will add you to a mailing list for ongoing discussions, as well as to receive notifications as new data sets become available.

If you are a firm offering applications for studying or visualizing network data we are very interested in working closely with you to ensure that any data sets we collect that would be relevent to your users are made available in a format easily useable by your applications, either directly or through well documented (and ideally open source) translators.

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