Introducing FreeDive: A Simple Solution for Creating Searchable Databases




FreeDive is a simple tool that enables users to turn Google spreadsheets into searchable databases without requiring any coding. Developed by the Knight Digital Media Center (KDMC) of the UC Berkeley School of Journalism, the tool uses the Google Visualisation API to pull data from Google spreadsheets and generates a database widget that can be embedded into any webpage, allowing the user to search and filter the published dataset.  

The makers of freeDive, Len De Groot and Scot Hacker, equipped the tool with a wizard that makes the production of such a searchable database both quick and almost effortless, requiring only basic technical understanding for its implementation. This makes it particularly friendly for a journalistic team who wants to publish searchable databases with their articles, but might not have the time or the resources to invest in complex tools. 

Currently in alpha version, this free open source tool also allows images and links to appear in the result feed and can be used for loading live feeds.

Tutorials for the implementation and use of freeDive can be found on the KDMC webpage and source code is available on GitHub. Disappointingly some of the links on the project website lead to blank pages, as is the case with the FAQ page, but such aspects will hopefully be improved in later stages of the project.