The Mine! Project

open source project for online data and relationships logistics

What Mine! is not

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The key to getting people understand Mine! is its relevance to them. Though sometimes it helps to say what Mine! is not.

  • Mine! is NOT a Blog or Blogging Tool
  • Mine! is NOT a Personal Data Store
  • Mine! is NOT a Social Networking Tool
  • Mine! is NOT a Photo Gallery etc

Blog is a publishing platform, one-to-many and although Mine! uses blog-based technologies, it is information management platform, for user’s own benefit and with controlled sharing.

Mine! stores more than mere “personal data”, it stores anything. It can contain and manage static and dynamic data, related to the person by the virtue of being in Mine!. On top of that, Mine! enables tagging, analysing, poking, prodding, collating and mashing up data not just “storage”. And it enables sharing via feeds that can be individual generated and targeted.

Mine! is not a social network a la Facebook, MySpace etc etc. It is meant for individual deployment and use. In some sense it is “antisocial’ software – no walls to write on, zombies to poke, vampires to throw. It is designed to bring control to information sharing.

That said, Mine! can provide valuable functionality for e.g. OpenSocial, federated micro-blogging, friends-lists, contacts, FoaF etc. All in addition to what Mine is designed for and enabled because the user has new capability.

Mine! is not a photo gallery, nor is Mine just a wine-lover’s tool or traveller’s companion,
but these examples will be used often when explaining what Mine! can do for users.

Finally, what does the Mine! give you:

  • a home for storing your data
  • a platform for poking your data
  • a means to share your data
  • in, for, and to establish relationships with others, so you are the definitive source of information about you and have absolute control & revocation of access

From my previous writings about Mine!

Store implies passive and static, with some distribution via feeds, whereas one of the major elements of the Mine! is equipping individuals with analytical and other tools to help them understand themselves better and give them an online spring board to relationships with others (in VRM context this includes vendors).

The personal data store implies that there is no other reason to be using it other than to slave yourself to someone’s CRM system [...] it treats people’s Mines! like a back-end to vendors’ CRM systems. It does not capture using the Mine! to manage relationships [...] the customer being in control of their own data.

… The purpose of the Mine! is not only to put the individual in the centre and align the vendors around him. That is a far more gargantuan effort than what the Mine! is designed to do as the vendors have very little motivation to do that in ways that are useful to the individual. The idea behind the Mine! is to give the individual ability to become the authoritative source of information about him by handling the living breathing data as they go about their life. Taking just the feeds and not groking the autonomous space for my data is like looking at a vast landscape through a key hole, not bothering to open the door.

So once more, with feeling – the feeds and the Mine! feed technology are a subset of the Mine!, which has been conceived as an alternative way to provide data logistics for the individual on the web, one with a higher degree of autonomy and control over one’s preferences that is possible now. It originates from the social web, not from the identity space or any other area. It is a platform for the individual, with the aim to shift the balance of power between individual and platoform (or customers and vendors or other types of locked see-saw). It aspires to be an infrastructure for other solutions but it is not and should not be defined in terms of any of those solutions – identity, VRM, authentication, data portability and hopefully many more.

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4 Responses to “What Mine! is not”

  1. Iain Henderson
    on Nov 7th, 2008
    @ 4:56 pm

    Hi Adriana,

    I asked the question before at the VRM Hub and did not get an answer, so i’ll ask it again. What reference point/ definition of ‘personal data store’ do you use when you say that The Mine! is not one?

    The reason I ask the question/ make this point is that all that I have ever read/ written on the subject of ‘Personal Data Store’ makes it clear that the term is a generic one to describe a range of capabilities that actually go beyond storage – sourcing, input, management, analysis, sharing etc etc.

    The parallel example I would give is the term ‘data warehouse’, which on the one hand could refer to just a dumping ground for data – but in practice it is commonly understood to cover the full range of input, management, analysis and output.

    Anyway, I think a lack of clarity around this fundamental terminology does not help the VRM movement move forward – so i’ll be looking to clarify over the next few weeks.


  2. Adriana
    on Nov 7th, 2008
    @ 10:23 pm

    Iain, I don’t think we need a reference point or definition for personal data store in order to differentiate Mine! from it. What I have in mind when talking about a PDS is a) what I have seen so far within VRM termed personal data store (more or less accurately) and b) what is normally understood as a place where individuals can access some or all of data contained within a certain platform or a silo.

    I don’t believe capabilities enabling manupulation of data by the user are part of Personal Data Store as such – they are currently being bolted on top as an afterthought and as a response to evolving user expectations and data-management savvy that comes from the online environment.

    So I disagree with your assertion that “it is commonly understood to cover the full range of input, management, analysis and output.” If that were the case, and such personal data store were common, I would not have to come up with, design and now work on implementation of Mine!. I’d like to see such personal data store…

    There also seems to be a confusion about the terms in the phrase ‘personal data store’. It seems interchangeably to mean personal data store and personal data store.

    The former suggests that whatever data is in the data store, it is personally owned, i.e. resides with the person whose data it contains. Normally, I’d understand that to be data on my laptop or my filofax or a filing cabinet that I own.

    The latter suggests that wherever the data is stored, it contains my personal data or data pertaining to my person. This could be a CRM system, or a site where I keep my information, such as medical records in Google Health, or other places that keep my personal data such as the General Register Office.

    Mine! is neither or both, depending on perspective. But the main point is that its objective is not to be a personal data store. Of course, it needs to act as a repository able to gather, capture and contain your data, personal or otherwise, but its purpose goes far beyond that. Calling it a personal data store would be like insisting on describing a car a “combustion engine on wheels”. Moreover, the point of a car is that you can own it and drive it on open roads (more or less) to the destination of your choice. As you may have seen on this blog, I do use the car metaphor to describe Mine!

    Finally, the ultimate vision for your data in Mine! is distributed, doing away with the idea of a single or even identifiable location where your data resides. This would make the description of Mine! as a personal data store at best misleading, at worst potentially fraudulent.

    So I don’t think it is clarification that is needed. I am pursuing the user-driven approach where my data is neither in the hands of the second party (the vendor) nor a third party (intermediary or service provider). This is a practical requirement if I am to exercise greater control over my data and autonomy over sharing it. And that is what I set out to enable with Mine! as best I can.

  3. alecm
    on Nov 7th, 2008
    @ 10:23 pm

    Hi Iain,

    I asked the question before at the VRM Hub and did not get an answer

    That was you talking to me, I suppose :-)

    There’s a more fundamental difference between the notion of a “personal data store” than merely one of nomenclature; the Mine exists to enable people to store, poke and share their own information in a new wholly manner, and these three abilities – plus the “newness” of having them all together and in the hands of the user – to me are deserving of a new name, and we have chosen “Mine!”.

    You mention “Data Warehouses” – yes I know what those are expected to perform but by a more physical analogy: a person does not live in a warehouse although they might store their possessions in part of one; however my home is not my “warehouse” by any stretch of vocabulary.

    Thus at least one clear distinction between a Personal Data Store and a Mine exists: A Mine is doubly personal in that is it may contain the owner’s personal data (and indeed, non-personal stuff too) but it is also a deeply personal repository and service; there is nothing about it of the industrial bulk repository implied by “Personal Data Store”, plus the Mine exhibits much more value to the user than a mere repository.

    I have (perhaps fortunately) never read anything that explicitly defines a Personal Data Store, so I can’t say what one of them does or does not comprise; however since you yourself say that the definition of a PDS lacks clarity, then I can’t see any basis for anyone to dictate vocabulary to The Mine Project.

  4. Iain Henderson
    on Nov 10th, 2008
    @ 9:38 am

    OK, we’ll agree to disagree.

    For what its worth, I would describe the personal data store as doing:

    • Data storage
    • Data protection and security, including identity validation
    • Data access
    • Data volunteering/input/publishing
    • Data sharing

    There are at many other perspectives obviously, including 2 UK and European patents in the space so I won’t waste any more of your time and mine trying to build a shared understanding on the terminology.

    Alec – I’ve no idea how a question about what you say the Mine is not gets turned into attempt to dictate anything to the Mine project. To be clear, I am very much in favour of the project and will happily use it – the more stuff built in this space the better as far as i’m concerned.

    Over and out.

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