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Introducing OpenData.cz – open data initiative from Czech Republic

The following guest post is by Jindřich Mynarz, from the National Technical Library in Prague. Jindřich will be joining us at the Open Government Data Camp in Warsaw!

I like to say that OpenData.cz is not a project, it is a state
of mind
. Its aim is to spread an open data mindset and to serve
as an umbrella brand that connects people collaborating on open data
projects. Currently, mostly academic institutions are involved in
OpenData.cz, such as Department of
Software Engineering at Charles University
or Knowledge Engineering Group at University of
Economics
. It is still a relatively young initiative, with its
inception dating back to the start of 2011. However, even with regard
to its short life, OpenData.cz has managed to start and get involved
in various projects.

OpenData.cz is an informal and unofficial initiative, as it does
not have an official blessing from the Czech government. However, the
members of this initiative are in touch with politicians, such as the
members of parliament or mayors and other public servants in Czech
cities. The members of OpenData.cz lend their expertise to consulting on
issues related to data openness and suggesting solutions and policies
that lead to more open data.

The goal OpenData.cz tries to achieve is to help build a
transparent data infrastructure of Czech public sector. This includes
all aspects of openness of data, promoting both explicit legal licences for open data and
standard data formats for technical openness. However, due to the
background of the most participants in the initiative, it is rather
focused on technical aspects of open data, and particularly linked
open data.

Contrary to the initial feedback that OpenData.cz got, its
conception does not compete with e-government activity. These two are
mutually supportive and complementary efforts. While e-government
advocates strive to make government function better through
technology, the activities of OpenData.cz concern the only data inputs
and outputs of the processes in public sector.

The pilot activity of OpenData.cz focuses on publishing public
contracts data openly on the Web. This includes a bundle of related
outcomes. To reach the desired level of data openness in this domain,
OpenData.cz has started to develop Public
Contracts Ontology
to establish a well-defined data formalization,
which is accompanied by a set of recipes for
publishing public procurement notices
in RDFa, and simple tool for choosing a
proper code from Common Procurement Vocabulary
.

Members of OpenData.cz intend to represent open data interests at
local conferences, workshops, and similar events. Earlier this year,
OpenData.cz helped to organize the Prague
part of the Big Clean
workshop. The Big Clean was a prime example
of collaboration across different organizations working with open
data. It reflects on a very important part of OpenData.cz activity
that is networking with akin organizations. For instance, its members
work with Open Knowledge Foundation on the Czech catalogue of datasets, cooperate
with Datablog.cz, a platform for
creative use of data, or are involved in European project LOD2 that is pushing the tools for
publishing linked open data to the next level.

You can find more about the initiative and its mission at its website. OpenData.cz welcomes
any help, so if you want to help this initiative to achieve its goals,
and to make data from the Czech public sector openly available on the
Web, please get in
touch
.

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