[open-government] Open Data Standards

Will Pugh will.pugh at socrata.com
Sun Nov 18 17:38:21 GMT 2012

Hey folks,

I wanted to jump in and talk a little about the open-standards project.
 This is in reference to another thread (

The entire effort for open-data-standards.github.com is to get vendors and
users on board with implementing open standards.  We are looking to build
on existing efforts, and did in fact both reference and build on the
efforts Rufus mentioned.  The catalog standards are all based on DCAT with
the V1 version of http://spec.datacatalogs.org/  .  These homages are
directly referenced on the site.  See
http://open-data-standards.github.com/efforts.html as well as
http://open-data-standards.github.com/data-catalog-schema/ in the
Inspiration and References section.

It is important that we keep the end goal in mind, which is vendor
interoperability and data portability.  This effort is not about a few
technologists building utopia, as much as it is a practical set of
solutions for all our customers to get more value from their open data
investment. To do that, we need to have vendors building the same
standards.  When looking at the existing efforts, we saw a few shortcomings:

1)  There does not seem to be any one place to go to that talks about the
whole of open data standards.  In addition, existing efforts seem to focus
too much on purely technical issues and not enough on  solving specific
customer problems. We believe that describing human user stories provides
the context for guiding and prioritizing work, which is why
http://open-data-standards.github.com/ starts from the goals of
these standardization efforts and works backwards to the technical

2)  The existing efforts like Dataprotocols didn't include other vendors,
like Socrata, or Junar. We weren't approached about helping out on
Dataprotocols, until after we socialized the idea for
open-data-standards. We've been building open data software since 2008 and
it's important that our customers -a very large number of government
organizations- are represented in the discussion.

As Rufus said, we have been talking, and moving towards a path towards
combing efforts.  I'm optimistic that this will bear fruit, and am less
tied to the idea of this being  http://open-data-standards.github.com/  vs.
http://www.dataprotocols.org. We just need to have a single place to build
cross vendor standards.

Finally, I think it is important to do this in a democratic,
meritocracy-based model, in addition to having a collaboration space that
is not attached to any one vendor.  This is why I deliberately chose
github, did not to label open-data-standards with Socrata branding, and why
I set-up a google group rather then a Socrata mailing list.

We're committed to working on convergence. It is important to everyone.

    --Will Pugh, CTO at Socrata.
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