Open Data: Global Goals, Local Impact


Upcoming Open Data Event

IODC16 Madrid. Global goals, local impact

The 4th International Open Data Conference, IODC16 will take place in Madrid. October 6-7, 2016. It will be ‘designed not as a single statement on open data, but rather as a curated record of discussions and debates, providing a snapshot of key issues and setting out a path forward based on the visions, ideas, and agreements explored at IODC 2015′ in Canada.

Reporting IODC 2015

snip_conf-report-2015

From the 2015 report:

‘More than 1000 participants from 56 different countries took part in the 3rd International Open Data Conference (IODC) in Ottawa from May 28-29, 2015 . Hosted by the Government of Canada, the International Development Research Centre, and the World Bank, IODC brought together open data experts to understand the global impact of open data, coordinate action, and share best practices.’ p.5

‘A few years ago, debates about open data centered on dataset formats and data portals—not any more . Today, the open data debate covers an increasingly broad spectrum of topics: from comprehensive principles for open data and the measurement of impact, to the development of common standards, and critical issues such as privacy, multilingual data communities, and indigenous knowledge.’ p.30

Using Linked Open Data LOD

An example showing how LOD helps break down silos: Florian Bauer’s presentation in IODC 2015 ‘Using Open Data Thesauri to Connect Climate Platforms’.

‘Data + Environment = Mobilizing Knowledge
Addressing climate change and environmental sus-
tainability is a knowledge-intensive enterprise . With
billions of data points from scientific research and mil-
lions of journal articles published in many different
languages over recent decades, organizing all that in-
formation, and getting it to the right people at the right
time requires both active intermediaries and shared
knowledge infrastructures . The Climate Knowledge
Brokers (CKB) group is building on the Renewable En-
ergy and Energy Efficiency Partnership’s (REEEP) mul-
tilingual climate thesaurus to tag and enrich content
from different document repositories, using a shared
Linked Open Data taxonomy . This helps to break down
the silos that keep information apart, building a stron-
ger open data ecosystem.’

Open Data Standards. LOD?!

‘In collaboration with Iniciativa Latinoamericana por los Datos Abiertos (ILDA), Open North interviewed governments and civil society organizations in 10 low- and middle-income countries to get a sense of their progress, challenges, needs and interests with respect to open data standards. After reviewing the previously identified gaps in standardization in light of the interview results, we proposed 32 draft recommendations, which we now invite stakeholders to discuss, comment on, and eventually implement.’ (Guest post on the Blog IODC 2016 from James McKinney of Open North).

The bad news for LOD is: It’s only nice to have in these countries. The good news is: LOD is on the radar even in countries with not so many resources. The five-star step in the WEB needs time.

On page 40/41 the report ‘Identifying recommended standards and best practices for open data’ (By Stéphane Guidoin (Open North), Paulina Marczak (Open North), Juan Pane (ILDA) and James McKinney (Open North).) gives the following recommendation.

snip_lod-nicetohave

‘Implementation
● When  possible,  government  could  provide  data  using  linked  data  format  like  RDF  or JSON­LD
● Data  tools  should  support  existing  ontologies  and  vocabularies  and  adopt  the relevant ones when possible
Discussion
On one  hand,  linked  data  and use of existing vocabularies is  perceived a significant  aspect  of open  data.  With linked  data,  it is possible  to  significantly  increase  the  automation  capabilities since data attributes become much less ambiguous.
On  the  other  hand,  linked  data  almost  did  not  appear  in  the  answers of  either government  or consumer  interviewees,  and  most  of  the  government  agencies  appeared  to  already  have difficulties  to  comply  with  more  simple  simple  recommendations.  Finally  linked  data  is  more difficult  to  use  and  require  more  advanced  tools  to  be  used  that  average  citizens,  CSOs  and even developer do not always know.
As  a consequence, use of linked data is presented as a “nice to have” recommendation and can be added to, but should not replace more accessible formats like tabular data.’

 

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