I just read, courtesy of Simon, a great article at the Guardian covering a presentation that Adrian Holovaty gave there last week.

Strangely enough I was talking about this with a colleague this very afternoon. My thesis was that data is generated by applications but should be considered independent of them. Treat your data carefully and you have a treasure trove of information that defines your organisation. Take an application centric view of the world and you end up with a load of blobs that are only meaningful in the context of your application code. If you can ever find a way to free your information you can find so many different ways of viewing, interpreting and analysing it.

In essence this is the excitement that surrounds mashups and the value that shown in sites like Chicago Crime and My Society. Expose the data and then marvel at what happens.

As I said in a (remarkably brief) presentation that I gave tonight - I'm Andy and I'm a data manager. If I can ever find a way of making a living taking data, turning it into information and making it available in new and interesting ways I guarantee that I will quit my day job in a heartbeat.