[open-development] Open Development Birds of a Feather at OKCon

Tim Davies tim at practicalparticipation.co.uk
Sat Jul 2 20:44:55 UTC 2011

Hey all,

Some of us managed to get together at OKCon in Berlin on Friday to meet
face-to-face and to share some updates on different Open Development
activities going on. I think everyone who was in that discussion is also on
this list, so I'd encourage you all to drop a note to the list as well with
a brief update on things you are working on. My own (very incomplete) notes
on some of the things discussed, and some reflections on possible things for
the future are below. It would be even more fantastic if those who were not
in Berlin could also share any updated on the list about current projects /
thoughts / things you are thinking about / ideas for action - big or small.

By way of my own input: The two main things I'm working on at the moment:

*1) Open & Linked Information Infrastructures - with IKM Emergent*
Looking at some further practical pilot work around Linked Information
taking survey data from Young Lives and turning it into Linked Data and
building interfaces onto it; and trying to get a project going around
'Social Life of Data' (
http://www.practicalparticipation.co.uk/odi/sociallifeofdata/) to explore
how open development eco-systems are more than just datasets. Also working
on a paper around linked data in development, which has included some
mapping of available development datasets. Details on that (and a list of
datasets which someone might like to add to CKAN if they've some time going
spare...) here: http://practicalparticipation.co.uk/odi/

*2) Aid Info Labs / IATI *
I'm also working a couple of days a week for the next few months with Aid
Info on supporting infomediaries and users of International Aid Transparency
Initiative Data. Blogging about tools, resources etc. at
http://www.aidinfolabs.org and very keen to hear ideas about what we should
be doing to make sure all stakeholders in development aid can make effective
use of the aid transparency and aid activities data that's starting to flow
through the IATI initiative.

I'm also doing some small bits around linked data and DFID research
meta-data (from Research 4 Development) - and very interested in finding out
what others working on making research data openly available are doing in
linked data terms.

*And by way of a few other quick notes from Friday's BoF:*

   - I think it's really important that we frame this group as 'open
   development' not just 'open data for development' - recognising data is part
   of the eco-system, but not the only part. We need to be encouraging and
   advocating for open collaboration, resource and information sharing as well
   as opening of data;

   - That said, there are some interesting bits of data infrastructure that
   could help link up open information and content - particularly taxonomy
   mapping tools that might help with some silo breaking. This might be
   something the open development group could explore.

   - There was a really good suggestion in discussions (from Tobias I think)
   around developing a place for FAQs about opening and accessing development
   information. I wonder if something like GetTheData.org (but framed perhaps
   as 'open for advice?' and linked in with 'open for change') could be useful?
   We could talk with OKF about setting up a quick install of the same tool if
   that was seen as a useful way to get knowledge sharing on the practical
   stuff flowing more;

   - It might be an idea as well to put together a short open development
   bibliography: does anyone have one already? Is anyone up for helping create

   - Lastly, there was some talk of creating resources to help people plan
   hack-day events, and to make them really issue-focussed (e.g. getting
   communities in to really explain the challenges to be solved; having
   specific 'water' or 'eco' or 'local economic development' focus in things).
   This sounds like a fab idea too... I'd be up for collaborating on that if
   someone was up for co-ordinating putting such a resource together...

Sorry for such a long e-mail!

All the best



07834 856 303.

Co-director of Practical Participation:
Practical Participation Ltd is a registered company in England and Wales -
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