3.2 What format to use? Consider…

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When deciding on what format to release the data, data publishers may also consider:

  • which open formats are compatible with current system infrastructure
  • which formats are widely accepted by developers
  • which formats maintain the highest degree of integrity when converted
  • if a dataset is proprietary, are there tools available to convert it to an open format e.g. Microsoft Excel file can be saved as a csv
  • can the data be released in multiple formats to meet the preferences of the community

Native Format Data

A dataset may also be made available in its Native (original) format. Although native format data or raw data may not be in an open format, it can provide interpretative benefits and provide users with greater knowledge for development. Data publishers can provide native data as an additional file which will be saved alongside the dataset as a resource.

Multiple Data Formats

Data publishers should consider providing multiple data formats. Additional data formats provide greater scope for developers and the public to re-use the data in a format that suits them.

A dataset may also be made available:

  • in a widely used proprietary format (e.g. .xls) that encourages re-use; or
  • via an existing data tool that allows users to explore, manipulate, and reuse the data.


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