[okfn-discuss] Launch of the Comprehensive Knowledge Archive Network (CKAN)

Rufus Pollock rufus.pollock at okfn.org
Wed Jul 4 13:36:30 UTC 2007

Dear All,

CKAN has now been up and running fairly robustly for the last couple of 
months so the time has come to 'officially' launch it to the rest of the 
world. Please forward the announce to any groups you think would be 



~~ The Comprehensive Knowledge Archive Network (CKAN) Launched ~~


After a year of (off and on) development we are delighted today to 
announce the official launch of the Comprehensive Knowledge Archive 
Network (CKAN for short): http://www.ckan.net/.

CKAN is a registry of open knowledge packages and projects — be that a 
set of Shakespeare’s works, a global population density database, the 
voting records of MPs, or 30 years of US patents.

CKAN is the place to search for open knowledge resources as well as 
register your own. Those familiar with freshmeat (a registry of open 
source software), CPAN (Perl) or PyPI (python package index) can think 
of CKAN as providing an analogous service for open knowledge.

### FAQ

#### What kinds of things do you expect people to register in CKAN?

Anything and everything -- when we say knowledge we mean any kind of 
content, data or information. That said there are two main 
recommendations regarding what you register:

   * First, we are looking for people to register 'packages' that is 
collections with some kind of structure rather than individual items. So 
a substantial set of photos, a datasets of all kinds, the writings of 
Shakespeare but not an individual blog, or your flickr photo collection.
   * Second, we're looking for stuff that's 
[open](http://www.opendefinition.org/): that is it's

#### Why Not Just Use the Creative Commons Search Facility in 

Two main reasons:

   1. We focus on work that is [open](http://www.opendefinition.org/). 
Simply put the set of open work and the set of CC-licensed works are not 
identical because (a) not all Creative Commons licensed work is open 
(for example those which use the non-commercial provision are not) and 
(b) there are plenty of open works which do not use CC licenses (e.g. 

   2. The registry is designed to support holding much more metadata 
than simply whether the work is open on not. In particular we want to be 
able to support automated installation of knowledge packages in the 
future (which requires things like dependency and version information).

#### Is CKAN itself open?

Of course, both the code that CKAN runs on and the data itself is open, 
see the license page: <http://www.ckan.net/license/>.

#### How Can I Get Involved

Start enter things into CKAN and editing existing entries -- you don't 
need to be the developer of a particular project or resource to enter it 
into the registry.

If you want to get more deeply involved join the okfn-discuss list and 
and introduce yourself or just drop an email to info [at] okfn [dot] 
org. If you want to just start hacking with the code see our development 
project page (then follow the links to subversion):


#### Who is Behind This?

CKAN is currently developed and maintained by the Open Knowledge 
Foundation (http://www.okfn.org) but involvement is welcomed from all 
quarters. Furthermore all data and code is open so that anybody can use 
and reuse the material.

#### CKAN and Componentization

CKAN is a key part of the Open Knowledge Foundation's long-term roadmap 
(http://www.okfn.org/roadmap/) and completes our work on the first layer 
of open knowledge tools:

   * The Open Knowledge Definition: http://www.opendefinition.org/ which 
sets out what we mean by open knowledge.
   * KForge/KnowledgeForge: http://www.knowledgeforge.net/ which provide 
a system for managing open knowledge projects and the services 
(repositories/wikis/mailing lists) they need.
   * The Comprehensive Knowledge Archive Network (CKAN):  which provides 
a registry so that open knowledge creators and users can find other open 
knowledge projects and resources.

CKAN links in especially closely with recent discussions of 
componentization. We envision a future in which open knowledge is 
provided in a much more componentized form (packages) so as to 
facilitate greater reuse and recombination similar to what occurs with 
software today (see the recent XTech presentation for more details). For 
this to occur we need to make it much easier for people to share, find, 
download, and ‘plug into’ the open knowledge packages that are produced. 
An essential first step in achieving this is to have a metadata registry 
where people can register their work and where relevant metadata (both 
structured and unstructured) can be gradually added over time.

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