Bigger Than Big Data, Processed Information is Gold

In this digital era, freely available data is overwhelming. Data storage has become excessively cheap or free. Access to valid information is capital.

In the light of the recent terrorists attacks, our Western intelligence agencies have proved to have missed this ability of efficiently process the mass of collected data. They were not able to prevail terrorists attacks. Mohammed Mehra, Amedy Coulibaly, or the brother Kouashi, they were all known and tracked by security agencies,

So what went wrong? Probably the right process and analysis of the information.

What every organisation could learn from this experience?

Mass data or more sophistically called ‘Big Data’, is only the step one towards knowledge and wisdom. Processed data that is organised and accurate is worthy of gold. As for personal information, data minimisation, accuracy and data not kept longer than necessary are the basic requirements of the Data Protection principles.

Knowing how efficiently organize information with minimal cost is crucial.

that brings me to the Peartrees. Pearltrees is a useful tool for collecting and cataloging topics. This free application is a visual and collaborative curation tool to organize, explore and share any URL, document, picture or note. Just like classified paper documents in folders with the ability to duplicate, share, and add editorials, available everywhere, accessible on any electronic device. The curation can be public and shared with other members of the platform or private. Topics are searchable within your own folders or within the community. Very quickly and easily, the Pearltrees can become the ‘place for your interests’. Everywhere you read a piece, your browser App lets you ‘pearl’ the page you are visiting to be stored in a specific file or leave it on your ‘drop zone’ for later. The product features a unique visual interface that allows users to drag and organise collected URLs, and other digital files that themselves can be further organised into collections and sub-collections.You can also engage in social/collaborative curation using a feature called ‘Pearltrees Teams’.

I have been ‘feeding’ my Pearltrees for some time. I have therefore created an exhaustive collection of concurring publications on the subjects of my specialities, IT/IP law, social media, eCommerce, Privacy and Data Protection, or elearning for the last few years. This mass of information has been organised by theme. Where books, especially law books are fast obsolete, these Pearltrees are an ongoing project that can be constantly updated and maintained.

According to Wikipedia “Pearltrees claims to be one of the largest communities of curators on the web; by December 2011, the company claimed to have over 300,000 registered users and as of March 2012 the number had increased to over 400,000.

The company also claims to have broken the one million unique visitors per month barrier in January 2012 and to have received in excess of 30,000,000 page views that same month.

They are few other online tools of information management based on cloud storage such as Delicious for the oldest, Diigo or Zotero. The Pearltrees has the best visual interface. The same result could be achieved with other tools. The main point is to bookmark, organise and personalise the information easily accessible and shareable.

An example of how data can be collected to gather information around a conference is my curation of the major Computers, Privacy and Data Protection conference this Month in Brussels. Simply click on any square to access the relevant information, would it be a link to a webpage, a Pdf or a text or a picture.