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Applicants: Konrad Förstner
CC affiliated? No
Contact: Konrad Förstner
Coordinator: additionally
Project Start: 2010/09/01
Project End: 2010/10/01
Download budget Discussion

Describe the project you are proposing as clearly as possible in just five sentences.

ProductTransparency aims to empower people to evalute and compare products easier. This should lead to a more aware and informed public that consumes more critical. The first step is the creation of the infrastructure (i.e. a web tool) for an openly available (CC0 licensed) database that connects the Global Trade Item Numbers (GTIN – the number encoded in the barcode of a product) with further information like the list of ingredients. The next step is the creation of tools that help people to make use of this information e.g. by searches, comparison and visualization.

Detail the tangible project output (e.g., paper, blog post, written materials, video/film, etc.; this would be in addition to the final written report that successful grant recipients will be expected to deliver to CC at the conclusion of the project).

The aim it to created a web platform that enables people to add and to search product information (at first GTIN and ingredient list). The platform will offer a RESTful API to make third party development of (mobile) clients possible.

Describe the community you are targeting. How would the project benefit the community?

The project's audiences are critical consumers as well as people with data mining and visualization />

What is your relationship with the community you are targeting? Why are you the best individual/organization to lead this project? Do you have prior experience in related projects?

As a critical consumer I understand the motivations and needs of the targeted community well. Additionally I have a strong background in data mining and vizualisation techniques (due to a PhD inbioinformatics/computational biology).

How will you measure and evaluate your project’s impact - on your main participants? Other contributors? On the larger community?

The amount of contributing people as well as the amount of entries per time unit will ensure a clear and transparent evaluation system of the success and impact of the project.

How many participants do you expect to be involved in your project? How will you seek and sustain their involvement?

I will start the project by myself. After the creation of the web tool I am planning to give further talks on different meetings (e.g. Chaos Communication Congress in Berlin) to win supporting developers. Additionally I will try to reach and motivate people via consumer protection web sites and institutions.

Describe how your project will benefit Creative Commons' mission to increase the amount of creativity (cultural, educational, and scientific content) in "the commons".

The database created by the users of the ProductTransparency platform will be published as Commons Zero. Due to this there are no barriers for building on this data sets. People can create visualization, studies, and application based on it.

Describe what technologies and tools your project will use. What kinds of technical skills and expertise do you bring to the project? What are your technical needs?

The web tool will be programmed using Django - a Python based web frame work - while the data will be strored in a CouchDB instance. The development will be behavior driven (BBD) to ensure a high quality of software. I have experiences all these three fields/technologies.

What challenges do you expect to face, and how do you plan to overcome them?

A critical issue will start after the tool is developed: the attraction of initial data contributors. By direct interaction with interested people as well as actions like real life data collection meeting a critical mass of base data should be created. After a first talk some listener evinced the interest to contribute to the project so I am convinced to find enough initial volunteers.

How do you plan to sustain your project after the Creative Commons funding has ended? Detail specific plans. How do you plan to raise revenue to continue your efforts in the future?

The project will try to attract further grants from consumer protection institutes to add further functions and will ask for hosting support e.g. from AmbitiousLemon ( To grant the access of collected data under any circumstance they will be additionally exported to platform like FreeBase (

How can this project be scalable, or have a scalable impact?

It can be expected that with a growing amount of users of the tool / data the amount of data contributors will grow.

What resources and support do you expect Creative Commons to provide to your project to ensure its success (if any)?

Hopefully Creative Commons can fund manpower for the initial stage of the project - the implementation of the web tool.

Describe how your organization currently communicates with its community members and network partners. (100 words)

Currently there is a blog, a twitter and account, a wiki and a Google group. Additionally a lightning talk was given at the Chaos Communication Congress and further such activities are planned to happen in the near future.