[okfn-advisory] Details and agenda for OKF Advisory Board conference call, Thursday 3rd December @ 1800 GMT

Jonathan Gray jonathan.gray at okfn.org
Tue Dec 1 15:36:17 UTC 2009

Hi all,

Please find below details for connecting to OKF Advisory Board
conference call on Thursday.

As requested, I've also drafted a summary of the OKF's recent
activities, and questions to guide discussion (also below). This is a
bit longer than I hoped, but a skim should give you a flavour of what
we've been up to and what we're looking for advice about!

Looking forward to it!


## Connecting to call

To join the call, please dial in and then enter the Passcode when
prompted followed by the # key.

  * When: Thursday 3rd December, 1800 GMT
  * Passcode: 901854
  * Telephone number:
    * UK only: 0844 84 84 84 0
    * Germany: 01805 123 0131
    * Everywhere else: +44 844 873 60 60 or +49 1803 002 063

Low cost evening rate via 0844 8 360 360 after 6pm.

## Agenda

### The Foundation and its community

The OKF (okfn.org) is a not-for-profit community-driven organisation
dedicated to promoting open knowledge in all its forms, "from sonnets
to statistics, genes to geodata".

We have a wealth of projects and working groups, which can be seen here:


I have provided a summary of the most important developments with
respect to these below.

We are currently working hard to make it easier to understand what the
OKF does, to make its operations more transparent and to make it
easier for people to get involved. We are reorganising its structure
and governance to reflect the fact that it is democratic, meritocratic
and, crucially, driven by representatives of the community it serves.
In the next few months we are planning to make a series of micro-short
films about different areas the OKF works in and why they matter.

Main general questions for Advisory Board:

  * What should the OKF be focusing on?
  * What can it do better?
  * Any ideas for new opportunities?
  * How can it encourage more people to get involved?
  * Ideas for better publicity and communications?

### CKAN, an open source registry of open data

CKAN (ckan.net) is one of the OKF's flagship projects. It is an open
source registry of open data and large collections of open content. It
aims to make it easier to find and reuse open material.

The UK Government recently decided to use the software for CKAN, the
OKF's open source registry of open data, to build data.gov.uk [1].
Though not yet launched, the new government site has received lots of
favourable media attention (partly in the wake of the US's data.gov).
We hope that in the near future the UK Government will authorise us to
publish the thousands of datasets they are listing on the main CKAN

CKAN also contains the European Open Data Inventory, co-created with
the NGO EU Transparency and launched at a press conference in Brussels
[2]. We also launched a 'Linking Open Data' group for semantic web
data at a recent workshop in London [3]. We are currently creating a
German version of the site aimed at German open government data and
scientific datasets. We are also in discussion with several NGOs about
using CKAN for open data related to international development.

There are plenty of opportunities to use CKAN to document open
government data, open data in science, collections of open content and
public domain material. We are in touch with several groups about
using it, and are starting to advertise volunteer 'editorships' to
encourage people to get involved. We are testing a new 'Is It Open?'
service which will allow people to make publicly documented requests
asking if a given work or dataset is open.


  * What can we do to promote CKAN better (in different domains)?
  * What can we do to improve it? (E.g. visualisation of tags, better
user profiles, ...)
  * Ideas for specific people we could contact? (E.g. Scientific
organisations, Amazon Public Datasets, Google, ...?)
  * Ideas for specific collections that we should create where there
might be demand? (E.g environmental data...)

[1] http://blog.okfn.org/2009/10/08/datagovuk-launched-and-its-using-ckan/
[2] http://blog.okfn.org/2009/05/11/european-open-data-summit/
[3] http://blog.okfn.org/2009/11/20/after-the-open-data-and-semantic-web-workshop/

### Open Definition, defining the 'open' in open data, open content
and open services

The OKF aims to promote legal and technical guidance and standards for
making content, data and software services open.

Its most high profile success in this area is OKF Director Rufus
Pollock's 'Raw Data Now' meme which was taken up by Tim Berners-Lee,
who gave a TED talk on this topic (citing Rufus in his slides). This
has received lots of attention in the media and in the blogosphere.
Someone has kindly donated us RawDataNow.com, which we are planning to
set up with details on how and why to publish raw data [4].

Apart from that we have been continuing to work on OpenDefinition.org
- which we are currently in the process of revamping. Open Definition
includes definitions for 'openness' in content, data and services. We
are aiming to provide specific guidance for open data in science, as
well as for open government data (with input from Working Groups in
each area).

We recently authored a report on legal and technical aspects of making
data open, directed at international development data [5]. We are
currently starting to undertake a similar piece of work for the Open
Society Institute about open government data and the (older) freedom
of information movement.

  * What can we do to better promote opendefinition.org?
  * Are there specific people we should contact regarding third
parties adopting it as a standard?
  * Ideas for how we might apply this work in new/emerging areas?
  * Ideas for how we can improve documentation?

[4] http://lists.okfn.org/pipermail/okfn-discuss/2009-October/001710.html
[5] http://blog.okfn.org/2009/09/21/new-report-on-sharing-aid-information-is-now-open-for-comments/

### Open Data Commons

OKF recently adopted the Open Data Commons legal tools for open data
(opendatacommons.org). These are legal tools, a bit like the Creative
Commons licenses, but specifically aimed at making data open. There is
a public domain legal tool (the PDDL) and a 'sharealike' style license
(the ODbL). Open Street Map is currently looking into using the ODbL.
Quite a number of open data projects have used them, including the
Guardian newspaper in the UK.

  * What can we do to promote these tools effectively in different domains?

### Where Does My Money Go?

'Where Does My Money Go?' is project which analyses and visualises
information about UK public spending. It was a winner of the UK
Government's 'Show Us A Better Way' competition. We are currently
working on a prototype with funding from the Cabinet Office [6].

There has been lots of interest in the project, and we are currently
in discussion with the UK's Channel 4 about further funding. The next
stage is to have much more fine grained detail, more local
information, and more useful analysis. Ultimately we're interested in
porting this model to other countries.

[6] http://blog.okfn.org/2009/11/11/alpha-release-of-where-does-my-money-go-prototype/

### Events: OKCon, workshops, COMMUNIA

We have been busy with several events.

In March we organised the EU funded 5th Communia Workshop (on "Public
Sector Content and Data"), for which we had UK Government Cabinet
Office minister as keynote, and talks from government departments,
NGOs and cultural heritage institutions across Europe [7]. We also had
our annual OKCon 2009 conference, which brought together open
knowledge users and advocates from different communities [8].

Last month we had a workshop on 'open data and the semantic web' which
was a major event for the UK Linked Data community [9]. We were
completely oversubscribed, and participants included the great and the
good from the UK semantic web community, as well plenty of people from
media and government. The BBC even came down to interview people! We
also had a small focused workshop on building a set of European public
domain calculators - to help find out which works are in the public
domain in a given jurisdiction [10].

We are currently organising OKCon 2010. We hope to have a big session
on open government data. Details on other events are at:

We are also a member of Communia, a European policy network for the
digital public domain. As such all advisory board members are eligible
to receive support to attend events. The next events are scheduled to
be in Luxembourg, Istanbul and Turin. Please let us know if any of you
would be interested in coming along to any of these events!


  * Any other ideas for workshops we should have?
  * Ideas for sessions at OKCon 2010?

[7] http://communia-project.eu/ws05
[8] http://blog.okfn.org/2009/05/20/open-knowledge-conference-okcon-2009-post-event-information/
[9] http://blog.okfn.org/2009/11/20/after-the-open-data-and-semantic-web-workshop/
[10] http://blog.okfn.org/2009/11/17/documentation-from-the-public-domain-calculators-meeting/

### Other projects

We have lots of other projects, including:

  * Open Shakespeare (complete works of Shakespeare in an open form
with associated material),
  * Weaving History (exploring historical events using maps and timelines),
  * Public Domain Works (registry of works in the public domain),
  * Open Text Book (registry of open textbooks),
  * Open Economics (economic data store plus basic graphing facilities)

More information can be found at:


Thats all for now!

Jonathan Gray

Community Coordinator
The Open Knowledge Foundation

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