Posted on July 10, 2011.
Canadian open government data guru David Eaves provides some important updates in his blog’s latest post: Lots of Open Data Action in Canada, 8 July 2011. The post describes the new Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA) open data portal. Eaves comments that CIDA’s portal is “a solid start to what I hope will become a robust site” that “would be greatly enhanced if CIDA started publishing its data in compliance with the emerging international standard of the International Aid Transparency Initiative.”
In the 8 July post, Eaves also notes that the license for data.gov.ca has been updated recently, calling it “a step in the right direction, but still behind the open gov leaders.”
Posted in Canada, Data and statistics
Posted on July 1, 2011.
Open government data has been a hot topic for at least a few years now, pushed by nonprofit “good government” organizations and developers of web applications wishing to access and use government data without cost or other restrictions. “Open data” is one label in a list of many different “opens,” such as open access and open source. And there are other types of open data, some overlapping, such as open science data, open law, and open bibliographic data.
This is how the Open Knowledge Foundation (OKFN) answers — on their website called OpenGovernmentData.org — the question “What is open government data?”
- By “open” we mean open as in the Open (Knowledge) Definition — in essence material (data) is open if it can be freely used, reused and redistributed by anyone.
- By “government data” we mean data and information produced or commissioned by government or government controlled entities.
OKFN has another helpful site called OpenDefinition.org where they provide a more detailed definition of “open” as in open data.
OKFN recently announced DataCatalogs.org. From the site:
DataCatalogs.org aims to be the most comprehensive list of open data catalogs in the world. It is curated by a group of leading open data experts from around the world – including representatives from local, regional and national governments, international organisations such as the World Bank, and numerous NGOs.
These sites all provide a good grounding in the what, where, and why of open government data.
Posted in Data and statistics, International
Posted on March 28, 2011.
Following other national and local governments around the globe, Canada has launched a portal for open government data–although some researchers question just how “open” the data is. The Canadian government project is called the Open Data Pilot, and the site is referred to by its web address, data.gc.ca.
As explained on the website: “The goal of the GC Open Data Portal is to create socio-economic opportunities and promote informed participation by the public by expanding access to federal government data.” The Honourable Stockwell Day, President of the Treasury Board and Minister for the Asia-Pacific Gateway, launched the website with a speech on 17 March 2011. The pilot project is to last 12 months, and the government is soliciting feedback.
Open data in the pilot phase comes from ten participating agencies: Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada; Citizenship and Immigration Canada; Environment Canada; Department of Finance Canada; Fisheries and Oceans Canada; Library and Archives Canada; Natural Resources Canada; Statistics Canada; Transport Canada and the Treasury Board Secretariat.
David Eaves, a prominent proponent of open government data who was present at the launch ceremony, offers his critique of the site in his blog post Canada launches data.gc.ca – what works and what is broken. He concludes that what is broken is the restrictive license for using the data, and he has effected some changes in the license language to date.
We can add that what is working is an RSS feed for notices of data sets added to the site, a feature that would be most welcome if added to the U.S. Data.gov site.
Posted in Canada, Data and statistics, Information policy
Posted on November 17, 2010.
UPDATE: The authors of the study have made it available for free to government employees (in PDF).
The Harvard Business School online newsletter Working Knowledge summarizes a recent Harvard Business Review case study on Data.gov in the 16 November 2010 article Data.Gov: Matching Government Data with Rapid Innovation, by Martha Lagace. The case study itself must be purchased for $12.00.
Assistant Professor Karim R. Lakhani led the study in part to discuss “how Data.gov should reconcile both its public-citizen aspects of accountability and its potential to mediate private innovation.”
Lakhani also used Data.gov as a model for the private sector, saying, “CIOs and CEOs could consider what data they should make available throughout their enterprise…It would be great if any employee could look at data and think about different ways to mash it up. Just as there are concerns about security and privacy with the government’s data, there are security, privacy, and intellectual property concerns about private-sector data. But Data.gov shows that those things are manageable.”
Posted in Data and statistics
Posted on October 6, 2010.
It’s autumn in Washington, time for the Annual Meetings of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the World Bank Group. This year, the World Bank is using online media to open up some seminars and events to the general public around the world. The World Bank blog post Annual Meetings Week: The Bank Opens Its Doors describes the online participation opportunities. Online coverage includes the Bank’s blog, webcasts, video, and Twitter; these are linked from the Annual Meetings Week blog post.
The Bank’s Open Forum Meetings Center links to information on the event’s online chat forums; of interest, the session on the open data movement taking place 7 October, 12:30 pm ET to 8 October, 12:30 pm ET.
A 5 October press release from the Bank describes additional data, tools, and collaboration opportunities to be launched by the Bank. The release also announces the Bank’s Open Development website at http://www.worldbank.org/open/.
Posted in International
Posted on June 10, 2010.
Kudos to David Eaves for his 10 June 2010 blog post, Learning from Libraries: The Literacy Challenge of Open Data. David addresses the concern that (my paraphrase) “people will hurt themselves with all of that data out there.” From his post:
We didn’t build libraries for a literate citizenry. We built
libraries to help citizens become literate. Today we build open data
portals not because we have public policy literate citizens, we build
them so that citizens may become literate in public policy.
If you have any concerns about open data, or concerns about concerns over open data, David’s post is essential reading.
David Eaves leads the open data collaborative effort datadotgc.ca. He recently presented on Open Data, Baseball and Government [video] at the O’Reilly Gov 2.0 Expo conference.
Posted in Data and statistics
Posted on June 2, 2010.
The State of California has redesigned its data portal, Data.CA.Gov. The site is similar to the federal government’s Data.gov. Cailfornia’s portal includes sections for downloading state data files, geographic data, and data files from sources other than the state government, such as federal agencies. It also has a directory of state databases (data with search-and-report interfaces, rather than raw data). The front page of the site features popular data sets, such as files on the state budget, contract spending, health, and education.
A few other states have data portals similar to Data.gov. The federal Data.gov site links to these state data portals and U.S. city data portals at www.data.gov/statedatasites.
Posted in Data and statistics
Posted on May 30, 2010.
The Scholarly Kitchen blogger Alix Vance has posted interesting commentary on the current “open government” data push. The entire 25 May 2010 post, Data.gov: Selling the Government and Democratization of Information, is worth a read. Here is a brief excerpt:
Professionals will find or create the means to build utilities from these emerging global repositories of government data that will:
- Enable comparisons of data that has historically been unavailable, siloed, and non-standardized
- Deliver tools that surface previously hidden relationships between data points and suggest relational meanings
- Aid users develop[ing] new hypotheses and research entry points
The article also comments on how government release of free, bulk data may affect publishers.
(The Scholarly Kitchen blog is hosted by the Society for Scholarly Publishing.)
Posted in Information policy
Posted on January 30, 2010.
The catalog records of the library at CERN, the European Organization for Nuclear Research in Switzerland, are now under a Public Domain Data License and available for free download. Details from the CERN Library January 2010 press release:
The data of CERN Library will be used by the Open Library Project to provide a webpage for every book and allow users to add content like table of contents, classifications and summaries.
For massive reuse of data, the data will be provided soon by an open Z39.50, SRU and OAI interface via biblios.net, a repository of open bibliographic data.
The whole dataset can be downloaded from http://cern.ch/bookdata
Jens Vigen, Head of the CERN Library, is quoted in the press release: “Books should only be catalogued once. Currently the public purse pays for having the same book catalogued over and over again. Librarians should act as they preach: data sets created through public funding should be made freely available to anyone interested.”
Posted in Science information
Posted on January 24, 2010.
The U.S. has Data.gov; Australia has data.australia.gov.au; and last week the U.K. launched data.gov.uk. More nations and local governments either have a government data catalog online or are in the process of building one. Antti Poikola, a Finnish tech consultant, has posted a list of these catalogs in his blog entry Open government data catalogs, 23 January 2010. He hopes to keep the list updated on diigo under Public Sector Data Catalogues.
Keep in mind that these catalogs generally list data that is available for free bulk download. For aggregated statistics from national governments, see the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics list of Statistics Sites on the World Wide Web.
Posted in Data and statistics, International