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Release of DataCatalogs.org to map open data around the world

The following post is from Jonathan Gray, Community Coordinator at the Open Knowledge Foundation.

We’re very pleased to announce an alpha version of datacatalogs.org, a website to help keep track of open data catalogues from around the world. The project is being launched to coincide with our annual conference, OKCon 2011. You can see the site here:

The project was borne out of an extremely useful workshop on data catalogue interoperability in Edinburgh earlier this year, and then with a few further online meetings. It is powered by the CKAN software, which also powers data.gov.uk and many other catalogues.

This is just the beginning of what we hope will become an invaluable resource for anyone interested in finding, using or having an overview of data catalogues from around the world. We have lots of ideas about improvements and features that we’d like to add. If you have anything you think we should prioritise, please let us know in comments below, or on the ckan-discuss list!

Below is a press release for the project (and here in Google Docs). If you know anyone who you think might be interested in this, we’d be most grateful for any help in passing it on!

PRESS RELEASE: Mapping open data around the world

BERLIN, 30th June 2011 – Today a broad coalition of stakeholders are launching DataCatalogs.org, a new project to keep track of open data initiatives around the world.

Governments are beginning to recognise that opening up public information can bring about a wide variety of social and economic benefits – such as increasing transparency and efficiency, creating jobs in the new digital economy, and enabling web and mobile developers to create new useful applications and services for citizens.

But it can be difficult to keep up with the pace of developments in this area. Following on from the success of initiatives like the Obama administration’s data.gov and the UK government’s data.gov.uk, nearly every week there is a new open data initiative from a local, regional or national government somewhere around the world – from Chicago to Torino, Morocco to Moldova.

A group of leading open data experts are helping to keep DataCatalogs.org updated, including representatives from international bodies such as the World Bank, independent bodies such as the W3C and the Sunlight Foundation, and numerous national governments.

Neil Fantom, Manager of the World Bank’s Development Data Group, says: “Open data is public good, but only if you can find it – we’re pleased to see initiatives such as DataCatalogs.org giving greater visibility to public information, allowing easier discovery of related content from different publishers and making open data more valuable for users.”

Beth Noveck, who ran President Obama’s open government programme and is now working with the UK Government says: “This project is a simple but important start to bringing together the community of key open data stakeholders. My hope is that DataCatalogs.org grows into a vibrant place to articulate priorities, find and mash up data across jurisdictions and curate data-driven tools and initiatives that improve the effectiveness of government and the lives of citizens.”

Cathrine Lippert, of the Danish National IT and Telecom Agency says: “DataCatalogs.org is a brilliant guide to keeping track of all the data that is being opened up around the world. In addition to our own national data catalogue, we can now point data re-users to DataCatalogs.org to locate data resources abroad.”

Andrew Stott, former Director of Digital Engagement at the UK’s Cabinet Office says: “This initiative will not only help data users find data in different jurisdictions but also help those implementing data catalogues to find good practice to emulate elsewhere in the world.”

Notes for editors

The Open Knowledge Foundation (okfn.org) is a not-for-profit organisation founded in 2004. It has played a significant role in supporting open data around the world, particularly in Europe, and helps to run the UK’s national data catalogue, data.gov.uk.

DataCatalogs.org is being launched at the Open Knowledge Foundation’s annual conference, OKCon 2011 (okcon.org) which brings together developers, designers, civil servants, journalists and NGOS for a week of planning, coding and talks.

For further details please contact Jonathan Gray, Community Coordinator at the Open Knowledge Foundation on jonathan.gray@okfn.org.

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