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FEATURE STORY

World Bank Development Data Now Available in Chinese for Free

April 18, 2011


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STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • For the first time, users are able to tap into the World Bank's databases in Chinese via a new website data.worldbank.org.cn
  • Having the Open Data site in Chinese is a dream come true, given how much the country counts on gauging development progress and given the huge number of Mandarin-speaking users, says Justin Yifu Lin
  • The first batch of users of the data site in Chinese already voiced their enthusiasm about the site on the Bank’s Sina Microblog (Chinese Twitter equivalent)

For the first time, researchers, journalists, civil society, government workers, entrepreneurs and college students alike are able to tap into the World Bank's databases in Chinese via a new website data.worldbank.org.cn.

In April 2010, as part of the Bank’s larger effort to increase access to information, the World Bank freed up more than 2,000 financial, business, health, economic and human development statistics that had mostly been available only to paying subscribers. The move has been widely welcome and the number of visitors to the data portal site data.worldbank.org has tripled ever since.

The Bank’s development data, which come from different sources including the Bank’s 186 member countries and more than 30 international agencies, private and NGO partners, have long been a recognized tool for research and policymaking. What has been released to the public includes the Bank’s most popular statistical resources such as the World Development Indicators, Global Economic Monitor, Doing Business, and Global Development Finance. These data were available only in English until last year, but have since been translated into French, Spanish, Arabic and now Chinese.

“Making World Bank data and knowledge available to as many people as possible is vital,” said World Bank Senior Vice President and Chief Economist Justin Yifu Lin. “So having the Open Data site in Chinese is a dream come true, given how much the country counts on gauging development progress and given the huge number of Mandarin-speaking researchers, data users and students.”

The first batch of users of the data site in Chinese already voiced their enthusiasm about the site on the Bank’s Sina Microblog (Chinese Twitter equivalent):

 


" Nice move to have made the data site available in Chinese. It will reduce so much pain for someone like me who is not so proficient in English. "

Good to see that the World Bank is enriching its website content in Chinese.  This will help remove the language barrier for Chinese people to get more in-depth look into the outside world.

A very professional site, indeed! Accessing quality data is a good way to build better knowledge of the world.

The World Bank’s office in Beijing is planning to hold Open Data day events in public libraries and universities in China to bring these accessible resources to more people. More on this will be announced later.

Who can use the data site?

Everyone.  From someone who "just has one minute” and knows exactly what they’re looking for, to someone who wants to do extensive research and explore the database –perhaps download full sets in different formats, to a web publisher who can embed customized, always-updated tables and graphics to his site, to a software developer who can create her own applications based on the data available.

What can you do on the data site?

Easily find, visualize and download the most useful and relevant indicators of development, in charts, tables and maps. Build queries and graphics and embed them on your site or blog. Even get data direct to you iPhone, iTouch, and iPad, using the free “DataFinder” app.

What’s special?

API: Many indicators are available to developers and others directly from the database, to create data applications and visualizations through an Application Programming Interface (API).

Searchable on Google: the Bank has partnered with Google to make 39 development indicators available directly through the Google search box, and accessible in Google’s Public Data Explorer.  And Google has made of them available in over 30 languages!

The amount of data will keep growing: New datasets have been added to the site since its launch and the information it provides will continue to be updated as additional data resources are added.

Gradient maps and full screen mapping: Visitors can visualize the data in maps as points or shaded gradients.

Dynamic graphing: Build your own graph by navigating to an indicator page - add countries, regions or income groups to the graph. You can compare one country to another, or compare a country to its region or income group.

Widgets: put data straight into your blog post or website!! Each indicator’s table, map and graph have an embed link and you can just grab the code and put it into your own web site.

Giving code back to the community: The Drupal module that powers data.worldbank.org is open-source and available for anyone to use: https://drupal.org/project/wbapi.

How can you browse data?

Browse Country data: The Countries page provides a listing of all economies with populations of more than 30,000 and smaller economies if they are members of the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development (IBRD) or, as it is commonly known, the World Bank. The top of the page provides context information: region, income group, the country’s GDP, and population.

Browse Topic data: The Topics page provides a listing of development topics. Users can choose from the list of sixteen topics and will be presented with a page displaying relevant information for that choice. Users can also select a single indicator from the indicators list and view data for over 200 countries and, in many cases, the last fifty years.

Browse Indicator data: The Indicators page provides a listing of around 1,200 indicators from the World Development Indicators (WDI), which is the World Bank’s premier annual compilation of development data drawing on data from the World Bank and internationally recognized sources. It is the statistical benchmark that helps measure the progress of development.

Browse the Data catalog: The data catalog is a listing of available World Bank data sources and provides access to over 40 datasets containing around 7,000 indicators. This listing will continue to be updated as additional data resources are added.

What’s next?

See how others are using Open Data from the World Bank, by looking at the 107 entrants for the Apps for Development Competition. Winners of the competition were announced on April 14, 2011.

 


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