The second stage of the five-star system requires that the information be published on the Web under an open license, but it also requires that these databases be made available in a structured format that allows easy handling of its rows and columns.
In other words, while the first star allows scanned images of tables and PDF files of reports to be published, in order to obtain the second star it is necessary that the file be made available in a manner that allows consumers to use data analysis and structuring applications without needing to enter the information manually. Excel files (.xlsx), for example, are structured files.
The second star does not have any requirements in regard to the application that generated the file or document format, provided it is structured.
What are the benefits of
In addition to all the benefits of the first star, two stars allow consumers to use proprietary applications, such as Excel, to aggregate, perform calculations, visualize, and carry out other operations with the available data. Furthermore, the data can be exported into another structured format with ease.
The publisher can still publish data simply, just paying attention to the fact that the published file must be in a structured format, and respecting that it must be on the Web and distributed under an open license.
It may not seem like much, but two stars represent a major breakthrough in open data, since the information is available on the Web in a structured format and under an open license. However, the data is still locked up in a document. To extract the data, depending on the format used, consumers must use proprietary software (which can cost money), which is an obstacle for many people.