Data portability is about you, the user, being able to move and use your data across space and across time.
- your data - whether you created it or purchased it
- across space - different websites, different devices, different media
- across time - archiving at one point in time, retrieving at another point in time, time-shifting in general
Relation to microformats
This was one of the incentives behind the development of microformats, and now microformats are a key enabling building block for data portability in various contexts:
- contact information portability. hCard has lowered the barrier to sharing contact information on the Web compatibly with the industry standard vCard (RFC 2426) format.
- event portability. With hCalendar, it is possible to upload an event from one calendar site to another and the portability of iCalendar (RFC 2445) data has also been enhanced for the Web.
Data portability has been an important topic for quite some time, our work today stands on the shoulders of that earlier work. Here are a few illustrative citations/examples:
- 2001 DigitalConsumer.org founded by Joe Kraus and Graham Spencer. key achievements:
- 2005 September Tantek Çelik's 2005 presentation on "Microformats: Evolving The Web" at Web Essentials 05 began with and emphasized numerous specific user scenarios and points of why data portability matters to every digital citizen, including:
- email archival, retrieval, search, export/import to new applications
- photo archiving
- accessing old archives
- accessing different disk formats, with different hard disk peripheral interfaces (SCSI, Firewire, USB)
- reading old file formats
- transfering your data when upgrading (or just replacing) a personal computer
- historical fragility of online-only data stores (e.g. Desktop.com, which terminated access without warning and thus effectively "lost" all their users' data).
- partial recoverability of files from hard disk crashes or other corruption
- "You control your own data" - Users should own their own data
- Incentives for companies to support open formats: do the right thing, build user trust, easier importing/growth, network effects, outgrow the competition (or established proprietary players)
- after the event: Ironically, the podcast of this session has been lost (was formerly at: http://we05.com/podcast/mp3/we05-2-tantek-celik.mp3 ). As it was Creative Commons licensed, if anyone out there has it, please post it somewhere, perhaps to http://odeo.com/ , and leave a comment on the Odeo entry for the original podcast linking to the new location.