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Introducing the Agora Catalog

I’m really excited to be writing this blog post to introduce our up and coming Agora Catalog. At Epimorphics we have years of experience working with clients and their data. I joined the company earlier in the year after nearly 20 years in the public sector wrangling data, so I personally understand the pressures that large organisations face managing data. Been there, done that, got the t-shirt.

Given the volume and variety of data that organisations have to manage these days it is frustratingly difficult to find what you need. Our answer is Agora Catalog where you can store and catalog data for whoever you want to share it with – be they internal, external, data-savvy or inexperienced.

Agora Catalog is a simple to use data catalog that helps people find, understand and access data. It allows teams to catalog the datasets and services they create and manage. It provides ways to join datasets together, to share them, and to create communities around data.

Infographic with green icon on the left representing complex organisation data, a circular icon representing the Agora Catalog in the middle and three small blue circular icons on the right explaining the benefits of the Catalog

Here’s a few of the problems I’ve experienced and that we hear from our customers. Do you recognise them?

  1. You know some data exists but, unless you know who to ask (and they have time to help you), it is hard to get hold of and hard to understand how best to use it.
  2. Your organisation has a metadata tool but creating records and keeping them up to date is labourious and repetitive.
  3. Your data governance role covers loads of datasets but the tools that are meant to help you are about collecting detail at the fine-grain level, not providing you with useful aggregated information.
  4. You have an awesome piece of data that others could use but your organisation has no central, obvious place to store it, or advertise its existence.
  5. Your organisation has more than one catalog and they don’t talk to one another – meaning double entry of records!

If, like me, you find these problems all too familiar then Agora Catalog is for you! It’s been fun to work as the Product Owner and help influence the way we’ve tackled these problems. Here’s some of the key features:

  • Simple to use metadata catalog for datasets and data services (like APIs) that helps users find what they want and learn about it.
  • Catalog records connect you to other people who have the knowledge you need.
  • Favourite datasets to receive updates on changes when they happen.
  • Personal collections bring dataset together for easy future reference and help you to understand and manage data you’re responsible for.
  • The Catalog’s data store is an easy place to keep data alongside its metadata record.
  • API access allows you to write records into the catalog, take extracts and be notified of changes.

In the future we’ll be adding other features:

  • Crawlers that can find datasets across your systems and databases and create/update catalog records for them.
  • Support for more complex data set types such as versioned datasets, composite datasets and data series.
  • Federation of multiple catalogs – like one internal and one external, or one for each department. Records in federated catalogs only have to be managed in one place and changes are synchronised across the rest.

We are about to enter a private testing phase to get early feedback from potential users, with a public beta early in 2023. If you’d be interested in learning more, or being involved in the beta, please get in touch!