Up to now the main focus of EntryScape has been to act as an information management system helping organisations handle their information internally, developing user friendly interfaces for working with data catalogs and terminologies. Due to the flexibility of EntryScapes internal data model, i.e. Linked data, the system can now also handle other information needs.

Although the focus has been on supporting the workflow for information management, we also knew that the need to present information in an appealing manner couldn’t be ignored. The look and feel of the presentation is important. To simplify, there are two main paths to take for creating the presentation. Either you provide a separate data-driven portal or you try to integrate the information into the organisations existing website. When it comes to Open Data many organisations have so far chosen the first path, to create a separate data portal. This was perhaps made due to the lack of alternatives, but over the last two years we have now provided embed scripts for existing websites as well as thin presentation portals. Judging the feedback received from customers and voices in the industry, dedicated data portals kept separately from the web is a dead end.

The main arguments are:

  1. Development and maintenance cost are high
  2. The look and feel deviates from the organisation’s own website and profile
  3. Specialist competence is needed to write editorial content & change presentation

Keeping data separated from the main web also leaves the impression that data is not one of the core activities since it’s not shown in the organisation’s website. The sense of ownership is also at risk if outside specialists are needed to make even small changes.

Based on this analysis MetaSolutions have now developed a new kind of data-driven embedding that can be used in Content Management Systems (CMS) like WordPress. With the EntryScape Blocks solution you can enrich a CMS driven website with embedded UI-components, we refer to them as blocks or building blocks. Currently we have made blocks for embedding images, links, texts, bigger metadata views and a search view. Each block is expressed via HTML data attributes, or in WordPress via short codes. The following presentation of EntryScape Blocks was given at the Linked Data Conference in Sweden 2017:

The slides:

We tested the approach by developing an alternative national data portal as a proof of concept. Please note, it is far from complete and we have not spent time on final “polishing”, the aim at this stage was just to show the possibilities. View the demo-site here or contact us if you would like to learn more.