Community Indicators for Your Community

Real, lasting community change is built around knowing where you are, where you want to be, and whether your efforts are making a difference. Indicators are a necessary ingredient for sustainable change. And the process of selecting community indicators -- who chooses, how they choose, what they choose -- is as important as the data you select.

This is an archive of thoughts I had about indicators and the community indicators movement. Some of the thinking is outdated, and many of the links may have broken over time.

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

Freebase Up To 3.26 Million Topics

You'll remember our conversation about Freebase last September. describes itself as "a uniquely structured database that you can easily search, add to and edit; you can also use the data in it to power your own projects. It’s a data commons in the way that a public square is a land commons—available to anyone to use."

They've been adding a lot to the database in the last 90 days. From the Freebase blog:

3.26 Million. You guessed it — that’s the number of topics currently in Freebase. We wanted to share with you some of the data loading activities that we’ve been working on recently at Metaweb. In the last 90 days, we’ve seen the number of topics grow by 15% overall.

The blog continues with some interesting data visualizations covering types of topics added and their growth.

The Freebase team has more information to add:

It's been a long time since we last sent out an update, and a lot has happened since then, so we wanted to let you know about our more exciting developments.

If you're the visual type, feel free to skip to the screencast for a tour of our new features.

Over the past six months we've been working hard to improve the service. Some of the things you might notice are:

  • Way more data As Mike pointed out in his recent blog post, the Freebase community, along with our internal team, has been adding a ton of great new data to Freebase. As of today, there are more than 3.3M topics and over 100M facts.
  • A much improved UI Based on a lot of community feedback, we've completely redesigned the topic pages. The new view is faster, easier to edit, and really emphasizes what Freebase is all about: structured data. Check it out and let us know what you think.
  • Data dumps We want everyone to feel secure that if they put data into Freebase, they will always be able to get it out, so we now offer Data Dumps: free, downloadable files containing all of the data that you'll find in Freebase. We're hoping this will be a useful complement to the existing API and Freebase Wikipedia Extraction (WEX).
  • Better Terms and Policies We also noticed a lot of questions coming in around our site policies. How does licensing work? What about privacy? What are the rules around API use? We want everything around Freebase to be 100% clear and transparent, so we've updated our Terms of Service, especially our Licensing policy. Again, take a look, and please let us know if we missed anything.
  • A bunch of new hires We've hired some great people recently, including one of our early community members, Kirrily Robert (a.k.a. skud), as our new Director of Community. If you ever have any ideas, comments, or questions about Freebase, feel free to reach out to her.

We have quite a few new things in the works, so stay tuned these coming months. In the meantime, we encourage you to subscribe to our blog, join the Freebase mailing lists, or swing by our next user group meeting on April 16th.


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