The reason they asked is because they can not believe where we keep coming up with the data we have on fresh new sources of supply that they have not heard of.
The first part of the answer is that you have to be a student of the database industry to understand what may be available to you without having to do a lot of work. At the end of the day a database is a list albeit a sophisticated list with lots of tables and joins and other database features that allow for the combination and use of data.
As an example, when looking to build a retail supplier database there is certain information you require in order for the data to be believable. UDDI (Yu-di) is an open industry initiative, sponsored by the Organization for the Advancement of Structured Information Standards (OASIS), enabling businesses to publish service listings and discover each other and define how the services or software applications interact over the Internet. These service listings can take a number of different forms such as business registrations, for UDDI they are in the following formats.
1. White Pages — address, contact, and known identifiers;
2. Yellow Pages — industrial categorizations based on standard taxonomies;
3. Green Pages — technical information about services exposed by the business.
Combining these data which is readily available from a variety of sources provides a great start. From there the challenge to add other attributes that are important to you such as certifications, sic codes, detailed company descriptions, sales figures, products carried, experience, ratings etc.
This author has always believed that reinventing the wheel is a misguided way to accomplish development initiatives and with all of the open source available on the market today and the cost of IT talent as high as it is we have to explore these alternatives to core development if time to market is a critical success factor.
So there you have it, my thinking and process for building our database. The next question is how we keep it fresh an updated. And that my friends are a trade secret.
We look forward to and appreciate your comments.