omdb is short for open media database

The idea for omdb

The background to the idea for an open media database was the finding that there are almost only commercial providers of media data (movies, CDs, books) who provide comprehensive information on these media. There is something in Wikipedia for individual, outstanding works, and there are also other sources on the Internet that provide information, but we miss a uniform structure here.

To focus on one medium first, we’ve focused on what’s arguably the most engaging medium—film. Wikipedia provides interesting information for some movies, but often refers to IMDb for more information. However, IMDb’s motivation is purely commercial in nature, apart from the fact that the website is confusing, incomplete and provided with little information. Nevertheless, IMDb represents the de facto standard for film information. This is mainly due to the relational model on which the data is based. The fact that you can easily jump from one movie to another, or view individual filmography, makes IMDb valuable.

Our approach

Based on this, our approach is to create a platform that combines a relational database model with the possibility of making this data editable for anyone interested. The user should slip into the role of the editor and be able to maintain his favorite movies, actors and directors there on the page. The approach follows the idea of Wikipedia, a knowledge platform created by the community.

Any person can – without user registration – maintain the data on the page. However, since at least the relations are entered correctly at some point (George Lucas shot Star Wars, you don’t have to edit anything anymore), there is a concept of being able to freeze the relational data so that the structure slowly solidifies. First of all, all information can be edited and an editorial team – which will be made up of members of the community in the long term – will then be able to mark individual pieces of information as final. These are then excluded from processing in the future. The wiki pages always remain free to edit.

All information – both the relational data and the free text information – are subject to the Creative Commons License. There will be a web service that anyone can use to tap into this data source. As a result, the database provides a contribution to “free knowledge” on the Internet. The data does not belong to a company or an individual, but to the general public.