User Driven Services: 4. Data Portability

4. Data Portability

User Driven Services let people take their data wherever they go.

Mouse and SuitcaseTo exercise choice, we need to be able to move our stuff when we leave, taking it from one provider to another. Users must have the ability to easily move data into and out of the system, on their own terms. Data should be accessible using standard data formats and standard interface protocols. All of the data related to users should be available for download and the ownership rights of all user-specific data must reside with the user or be transferable to the user upon export.


Plaxo allows seamless integration with Outlook for constant maintenance of contact information. Wesabe and Mint automatically extract financial information from financial services as authorized by users. Third party Twitter clients such as Twhirl and Tweetdeck access Twitter under user authority in order to download activities and upload updates and messages. OpenSocial and Facebook Connect allow third party services access to your social data.


  • Can users import and export their data in usable formats?
  • Can users export or import on demand, at any time?
  • Can users provision (and de-provision) third parties to access their data under explicit user selected terms?
  • Can users get all of the data and related meta-data out of the system in sufficient detail to work with it elsewhere?

This article is part of a series. It is the fourth of ten characteristics of User Driven Services


  1. Checklist with Silver UserImpulse from the User
  2. Control
  3. Transparency
  4. Data Portability
  5. Service Endpoint Portability
  6. Self Hosting
  7. User Generativity
  8. Improvability
  9. Self-managed Identity
  10. Duty of Care

More soon…

This material is based upon work supported by the National Science Foundation under Award Number IIP-08488990. Any opinions, findings, and conclusions or recommendations expressed in this publication are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect teh views of the National Science Foundation.
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