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How many people are rocking Open Knowledge events around the world? Let us know!

Beatrice Martini - April 1, 2014 in Events, Featured, Join us, Meetups, Sprint / Hackday, Workshop

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We’re getting to know each other more every day on mailing lists and through surveys, we know that plenty of you populate and build groundbreaking projects and communities through our network of 42 local groups, 20 working groups, infinite number of projects and beyond. Now, we’d like to know more about your Open Knowledge events (what can be called such a thing? Have look here) and in particular how many people join them! We want our gathering community to grow and want to know and understand how it grows so how we can best support its sustainable development.

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Call for action: let’s discover how many people love Open Knowledge events!

Step 1

When you run an Open Knowledge event, submit an article about it to the Open Knowledge Community Stories Tumblr. Your article can be short and sweet but should at least tell about:

  • what / where / how (topic, offline or online location, format, goals)
  • how many people attended – lets see how Open Kowledge is growing all around the world!
  • outcomes and / or upcoming plans for the future

In addition to that, anything you’d like to add – pictures, quotes and links to post-event reports by attendees of the event, graphs – is very welcome and much appreciated!

Step 2

At the end of each month we’ll write a crowded wrap-up blogpost about all the Open Knowledge events which took place in the previous weeks, to be published on the main Open Knowledge blog, and we’ll know how many people around the world are taking action gathering together to build the future of Open Knowledge.

Do you have an event in the pipeline in April? Run it, have fun!, and report it on the Tumblr by the end of April – it’ll be featured on our first wrap-up post to be published in early May!

Join the “Get Ready For Open Data Day 2014!” Hangout on January 21!

Beatrice Martini - January 15, 2014 in Events, Featured, Meetups, Sprint / Hackday, Workshop

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Open Data Day 2014 is coming! On February 22 – just over a month!

And you might wonder: what is it exactly, where does it come from – and how can I organise or join an Open Data Day event?

We have answers for you and we are glad to invite you to join us for a “Get Ready For Open Data Day 2014!” Hangout. On Tuesday, January 21 (at 11:00 am EST/ 8:00 PST/ 16:00 GMT /17:00 CEST) David Eaves, Heather Leson and me will host a 30-60 minute Hangout focusing on:

  1. What is Open Day Day – History
  2. Planning tips
  3. Open Q&A

Reserve your spot now!

And if you can’t wait to start talking with other Open Data Day enthusiasts, no need to wait until next week! Join the event mailing list (please note: new URL) and meet curious citizens, journalists, coders, scientists, designers and data wranglers from all around the world running and joining Open Data Day events in person and online on the day. There are 49 events so far – plus Code for America’s CodeAcross 2014! Join the party!

Open Data Day 2014 is Coming Feb 22 – Time to Join the Fun!

Guest - December 17, 2013 in Events, Featured, Meetups, Sprint / Hackday, Workshop

This guest blog post has been written by David Eaves, public policy entrepreneur, open government activist and one of the initiators of Open Data Day. It was originally published on David’s blog.

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So, with much help from various community members (who reminded me that we need to get this rolling – looking at you Heather Leson), I’m pleased to say we are starting to gear up for Open Data Day 2014 on February 22nd, 2014.

From its humble beginnings of a conversation between a few friends who were interested in promoting and playing with open data, last year Open Data Day had locally organized events take place in over 100 cities around the world. Check out this video of Open Data Day in Kathmandu last year.

Why makes Open Data Day work? Mostly you. It is a global excuse for people in communities like yours to come together and organize an event that meets their needs. Whether that is a hackathon, a showcase and fair, lectures, workshops for local NGOs and businesses, training on data, or meetings with local politicians – people are free to organize around whatever they think their community needs. You can read more about how Open Data Day works on the event website.

Want to join in on the fun? I thought you’d never ask. Listed below are some different ways you can help make Open Data Day 2014 a success in your community!

a) how can i let everyone know about open data day

I love the enthusiasm. Here’s a tweet you can send:

#OpenData Day is community powered in a timezone near you http://opendataday.org #ODD2014

Yes, our hashtag is #ODD2014. Cause we are odd. And cause we love open data.

b) i’d like to participate!

Great! If you are interested in participating in check out the Open Data Day wiki. We’ve just unlocked the pages so cities haven’t been added yet but feel free to add your city to the list, and put down your name as interested in participating. You can even check to see who organized the event last year to see if they are interested in doing it again.

c) forget about participating, i want to coordinate an open data day event in my city.

Whoa! Very exciting! Here’s a short checklist of what to do:

  • If you didn’t organize one last year, check to see if anyone in your city did. It would be good to connect with them first.

  • Read the Open Data Day website. Basically, pick up on our vibe: we want Open Data Day to work for everyone, from novices who know little about data to experts like Kaggle participants and uber geeks like Bruce Schneier. These events have always been welcoming and encouraging – it is part of the design challenge.

  • Okay, now add your city to the list, let people know where it will be taking place (or that you are working on securing space), let them know a rough agenda, what to expect, and how they can contribute.

  • Add yourself to the 2014 Open Data Day map. (Hint: Wikipedia lists Lat/Long in the information side bar for each cities wiki page: “Coordinates: 43°42′N 79°24′W”)

  • Join the Open Data Day mailing list. Organizers tend to share best practices and tips here. It’s not serious, really just a help and support group. Check out resources like this and this about how to organize a successful event.

  • Start spreading the news!

d) i want to help more! how can open data day work more smoothly everywhere?

Okay, for the truly hardcore of you: right, we need help. Open Data day has grown. This means we’ve outgrown a whole bunch of our infrastructure… like our webpage! Everyone involved in this is a volunteer so… we have some extra heavy lifting we need help with. This includes:

What’s next?

I’m really looking forward to this year… I’ve lots more thoughts I’ll be sharing shortly.

Plus, I can’t wait to hear from you!

Planning Your Open Data Day 2014

Beatrice Martini - December 12, 2013 in Events, Featured, Join us, Meetups, News, Sprint / Hackday, Talks, Training, Workshop

Open Data Day is coming! On February 22, 2014 in a timezone near you!

What is it?

Open Data Day is a global community initiative to make and spread open data. People from all around the world gather together online or in person to make things with and around open data. Anyone is invited to get involved – from curious citizens to journalists, coders to scientists, designers to data wranglers.

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How does it work?

The Open Data Day events can have any kind of format / length and theme, but should all be connected by a couple of basic principles.

  • The events should happen on the same day – the next one, on February 22, 2014

  • The events should be inclusive and welcome diversity (epistemic, geographic, socio-demographic, of language and gender) – our movement is stronger when it is broader

  • Anyone can organise an event – add your name and online/ in person event to the wiki. For in person meetups: let’s try to keep it to one event per city, to maximize the local community’s strength. (Find tips on types of events in the Open Knowledge Foundation Event Handbook and in this post by our friend Michelle Thorne of Mozilla.)

  • Hacks and meetups should all involve open data

  • Show and share – each event should come up with at least one demo, brainstorm, proposal, to share online with the Open Data Day crowd (adding links to post-event materials, including pics and blog posts, to the wiki is warmly recommended). We will investigate more online spaces soon.

  • Virtual party – we aim to connect globally. Are you in a location with no in person event? Join us online via IRC, Hackpads or more (more details and links coming soon)

Some 2014 event examples? Take a look at this event organised in Washington DC at The World Bank. And did you already see the Open Data Day Japan website just launched today?

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Call to action: Help build Open Data Day!

The Open Data Day wiki needs to be prepped and polished to rock the 2014 action plan. We’re looking for stellar volunteers to help us with this. Skills required:

  • knowledge of Wiki management
  • ability to work with WordPress
  • design skills
  • mapping skills

Willing to help the wiki sprint? Get in touch with our very own Heather Leson. We’ll get this ready as soon as possible for everyone to add their Open Data Day events!

If you need some help planning your event, please do connect on the OKFN – Discuss mailing list or Open Data Day mailing list. Next week we will share some resources and planning help for local organizers.

Ready to open up data? Join the party!

Open Steps: 3 months documenting Open Knowledge in India

Guest - December 12, 2013 in Featured Project, Meetups, OKF India

This is a guest blog post from Open Steps, an initiative by two young Berliners Alex (a software developer from Spain) and Margo (a graduate in European politics from France) who decided to leave their daily lives and travel around the world for one year to meet people and organizations working actively in open knowledge related projects, documenting them on their website.

Three months have already gone since we wrote the first report about our journey here on the Open Knowledge Foundation blog, sharing our experiences discovering and documenting Open Knowledge projects. After Europe, we travelled along the indian sub-continent, gathering impressions that we would now like to share with you through this article.

A big country full of active individuals and initiatives

India is a huge and heterogeneous country, strongly marked by the cultural, economical and social differences between its 28 states. This was the main challenge we had to face while exploring the existence of Open Government initiatives, the use of Open Data in different fields and the level of awareness about Open Cultures in general. After these three months, in which we have visited both northern and southern regions, we are impressed by the amount and quality of projects and individuals we have met.

The first proof of the momentum the Open Data movement is currently experiencing, is the presence of the national Open Data platform. Created in 2012, it hosts an increasing number of relevant datasets and is being currently improved with new features as API access, support for regional data and new on-site visualisations. As we could experience during our event in Delhi, where we had the opportunity to discuss with one of the developers behind the platform, the use of this data is being encouraged through App Challenges and regularly organised Hackathons. The existence of such a platform is a consequence of India’s participation within the Open Government initiative. Along this topic, we can also remark that although not yet taking part in the Open Government Partnership, a similar initiative we cover, India has already shown its commitment and has been listed as one of the eligible countries 2013 and could apply for it.

Our first workshop took place in Mumbai, where we were introduced to some members of the Datameet group. This small community of like-minded individuals, open-source supporters and data-activists is the second point we would like to underline here. This public online forum is the place you want to address if you are willing to stay up-to-date in all things open happening in India. Its members collaborate together in different projects, organise monthly events and stay connected across the huge country. And fact is, that we have met Datameet members on every event we have organised!

Data-activism and problem solving made in India

By running this project, we are learning new things everyday. One of the topics we have had the opportunity to explore more in detail is data-activism. Many groups we have met in India are using data as a tool for intelligent, resource-conscious and effective problem-solving at local level. Organisations such as Transparent Chennai and Karnataka Learning Partnership, who both helped us running our event, are remarkable examples of non-profit initiatives addressing social issues in their cities, Chennai and Bangalore respectively. Also, we discovered the Tactical Technologies Collective, a Berlin-based company with office in the Karnataka’s metropole which advises NGOs, journalists and activists on the smart use of data and technologies for advocacy.

In addition, we experienced on first hand that the public administration is beginning to be aware of the benefits of Open Data. We took part in one of the meetings of the Open Government Committee at Karnataka Highway Improvement Project (KSHIP). There, we could give our input on which tools and strategies they could profit from to achieve their goal: realising their data to the public domain, encouraging citizen-participation and improving the decision-making process regarding the state’s road infrastructures.

Open Access, sharing knowledge in academics

Along our journey, we have met various kinds of organisations. But it was in Vadodara, Gujarat, where we had the chance to witness the use of open principles in the context of a university. We visited the Smt. Hansa Metha Library and spoke with its director about the Open Knowledge Gateway, an online hub they initiated where researchers and students can access publications, documentation and further information for free.

We could also discuss about Open Access in our meeting in Delhi, where the Open Access Week took place last October, organised in cooperation with UNESCO and the Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU). This shows that the interest towards making academic information available for everyone is growing in India and universities are already committed to accelerate innovation this way.

North vs South: Is there any difference?

As a matter of fact, southern indian regions are, in general, economically more developed than their northern neighbours. We experienced that in the South, Kerala’s administration promotes the development of Open Source software. Also, IT-metropoles such as Bangalore and Hyderabad, are the perfect setting for initiatives which use technology and data with the aim to improve society, always supporting the idea that knowledge should be available for everyone.

Nevertheless, as the Datameet group reveals, there are activists all over India. At the end, the motivation of these individuals and organisations is what makes the difference, and we could find them both in North and South.

We leave India with the feeling that we could keep researching further interesting projects for months. Actually, due to our tight schedule, we could not cover every project we happened to discover. There was a great interest in Open Steps and we were warm welcomed by all of our collaborators, even we have been contacted by many people we could not meet at the end. Hereby, we would like to thank all these remarkable persons who made our stay in India such an enriching experience.

But the journey continues. Open Steps is touring Asia (Thailand, Cambodia, Laos, Hong Kong and Japan) for the next two months. We will announce our schedule soon and would like to make a call for interesting Open Knowledge related projects we should get to know and document there, if you happen to run or know one, please drop us a line! Thanks!

Global Open Knowledge Festival Meetups – a warm-up in 3 steps

Beatrice Martini - November 26, 2013 in Events, Featured, Join us, Meetups, Network, OKFestival, Open Knowledge Foundation

It was just last week that we invited the open communities to start collaborating and warming up for the upcoming Open Knowledge Festival. Today we can already share with you the learnings and outcomes of the first OKFestival Meetup (in Berlin) – as we would love to imagine it, this was just the first in a long, diverse and busy series (no pressure, it’s all up to you!).

Folks from the Open Knowledge Foundation, Code for All, Free Software Foundation Europe, Open Bank Project, AfricaHackTrip, Hacks/Hackers, and Open Product Data facilitated a great evening of skill-sharing, peer-to-peer learning and exciting findings from each other’s projects. We spread the word about open (what is open? What does open knowledge mean? How many things around us can be open?), dug into a multitude of open projects and started discussing and writing down first ideas to be proposed for the festival (we’ll call for the community’s proposals to shape the agenda very soon – sign up for the festival’s newsletter to be the first to know when).

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But which are exactly the ingredients that made the evening special? We listed them and thought about sharing with you all – and you’re welcome to have a go too.

  • Diversity – the speakers came from different open communities (and countries, and languages) and we also invited people who wanted to discover more about open to join. Both newcomers and experienced folks in the open fields found a lot to learn from each other. The open ecosystem spreads itself in all directions, from open source, to open culture, government, science, education, environment and even to products we buy at the supermarket. There is so much to learn, talk about and share – and our peers can be the best source of new exciting discoveries. This doesn’t mean that multiple topics are always recommended, but inviting people with different backgrounds can often be a plus.

  • Online meets offline and viceversa – some of our attendees and speakers lived in the city we organised the event in, but that would be just half of the fun. Everybody was invited to join the conversation from anywhere in the world: on Twitter (ping the OKFestival crowd anytime including #OKFestival in your tweets), the events’ etherpad (prominently and publicly displayed during the event) and we also had a speaker from another country! Our guest this time was Katelyn Rogers talking about Open Product Data from the UK (see her projected on the wall in our pics). We missed to have Brazilian friends joining due to the overlapping Encontro Nacional de Dados Abertos on the same date – but next time we’ll be together. Hint: find time zones reasonably suitable with yours and ping people passionately working in the open space to invite them to your OKFestival Meetups! (The Open Knowledge Foundation Network could be a good place to start with)

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  • Participatory format – we all love listening to a thrilling lecture, but sometimes attending a talk with just a short Q&A at the end just doesn’t satisfy our curiosity to know more about new topics and people. So we experimented and organized the Berlin evening as a speed geeking session. What is it? Each project (and project’s presenter) has a table with chairs around. Participants are divided into groups, and each group starts sitting at one table, and talks with the presenter for 5 minutes. After that, at the sound of a gong (a kitchen pan, in our case) it’s time for each group to move to the next table and project. And if 5 minutes were not enough, there’s time (and rehydrating drinks) immediately after. It was a lot of fun – we’ll add the format to the Events Handbook soon.

So, what are you waiting for? Wherever you are, whatever is the field of open you’re passionate about, however you want to meet (be it in an embassy, in your kitchen, or in a bar!) – run your OKFestival Meetup! And don’t forget to share all about it on the dedicated etherpad; we can’t wait to hear what open means to you, feature your greatest meetups, and make OKFestival happen with you!

Open Knowledge Festival Meetups all around the world – now!

Beatrice Martini - November 19, 2013 in Events, Featured, Join us, Meetups, OKFestival

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We’re getting closer to the Open Knowledge Festival (Berlin, 15-18 July 2014 – save the date!) and it’s time to roll up our sleeves!

OKFestival (as friends call it) will gather people from all the open movements, communities and projects of the world. Planning and making stuff all together will be awesome. So why should we wait until July?

We invite people from the global open space to start meeting up, in person and online to:

  • spread the word about open and the festival with anyone who’s not (yet) familiar with them – be the spokeperson of open!
  • share details about each other’s projects, learning more about other crowds’ actions and discovering synergies
  • think about what amazing projects and ideas you would like to participate in, and what contributions you can make
  • if the sparks sets off – team up with diverse groups and start planning to do something together at the festival (individual proposals are great, but sometimes the bigger the team, the bigger the fun – just a suggestion)
  • (materially) support OKFestival itself. We’re working on offering a very affordable event, from tickets prices to financial aid opportunities. If you have leads to organisations who might sponsor the event or give a grant, please get in touch with info@okfestival.org – thanks!

The Open Knowledge Festival aims to give all its participants the opportunity to show/ share/ discuss/ make: that’s why it’s time to get ready to impress! We’ll:

  • publish a Call for Proposals soon, inviting the open communities to come up with the most groundbreaking, participatory and interactive submissions ever
  • offer open space and time for spontaneous sessions at the festival, which will be a very important element of the festival’s programme

And more than this: how to share ideas across pre-OKFestival Meetups?

  • With this etherpad. Here we invite people organizing a pre-festival event to document projects and ideas emerged during the meeting and anyone to chip in and get in touch / propose connections
  • Mixing up online and offline. If you have an offline meetup (from 5 to 500 people!), invite folks to join online from other countries (a Berlin meetup will experiment with this this week). If you have an online event, if the connection permits say hi face to face via hangout or exchange dates of the upcoming conferences you’ll attend and get the chance to meet some of your online peers.

Questions, hints? Feel always more than welcome to drop us a line at info@okfestival.org.

Get meeting, sharing and making!

Come and meet us at the Open Government Partnership Summit in London!

Beatrice Martini - October 29, 2013 in Events, Join us, Meetups, Network, Open Government Data, Open Knowledge Foundation

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The Open Knowledge Foundation is involved with a number of events at and around the Open Government Partnership Summit this week. If you’re coming to the summit or any of the events around it, here is where you can find us.

Tuesday 29th October

If you’re going to the Open Data Institute’s Annual Summit, you can catch up with the Open Knowledge Foundation CEO Laura James who will be speaking there.

We’re having an informal Open Data Meetup at the Centre for Creative Collaboration on Tuesday night from 19:00-21:30. If you’re around come and join us for lightning talks, drinks and more!

Wednesday 30th October

On Wednesday we’re helping to run the Open Government Partnership Civil Society Day, before the main summit kicks off. We’re coordinating the unconference and will be involved in sessions on proactive transparency, privacy and more.

Thursday 31st October

At the OGP Festival, we’ll have information stands where you can come and talk to us, as well as a dedicated space with sessions on:

We’ll also be in the Festival Space for a drop in session on the new Open Data for Development project (17:15-18:45).

At the OGP Summit you can find us talking and participating at sessions on:

Friday 1st November

At the OGP Festival, you’ll still be able to find us at our Open Knowledge Foundation information stands, as well as at an igloo session on the OpenSpending project (13:00-14:00).

At the OGP Summit, you can come and join us at sessions on:

If you’re not in London, you’ll also be able to follow the live streams for many of these sessions, and we’ll be blogging and live tweeting throughout the event.

Open Knowledge Foundation at Mozilla Festival – meet us!

Beatrice Martini - October 24, 2013 in Events, Join us, Meetups, OKFestival, Open Science, School of Data, Workshop

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At the Open Knowledge Foundation we love festivals – and attending is just half of the fun, we really like making things happen. So as soon as our friends over at Mozilla started building up their fabulous Mozilla Festival we decided to roll up our sleeves and join the party!

Mozilla Festival will take place in London (UK) on October 25th-27th. A big group from our team (who? Read on to know more about it) will head over and spread all around town for the duration. Our calendar:

Who of the Open Knowledge Foundation staff members will be at Mozilla Festival and can’t wait to meet you (ping them on Twitter to find them – links below)?

  • Beatrice Martini (Events Coordinator) joining the Mozilla Team as enthusiast friend volunteer, supporting the work of Mozilla Festival’s Events Coordinator (the wonderful Michelle Thorne) and warming up for OKFestival 2014 next July (do join us – sign up on the website for news!)
  • Zara Rahman, Christian Villum, Katelyn Rogers (Community Managers for Local Groups, Working Groups and Open Government Data – not in that order) running the Building collaboration across the open space workshop
  • Michelle Brook (Open Education Community Coordinator) coordinating the Open Science on the Web workshop
  • Michael Bauer, Milena Marin (School of Data) and Heather Leson (Community Engagement Director) rocking the Data Expedition Bootcamp
  • Sander van der Waal (Head of Long Term Projects Unit), James Hamilton (Development Director), Marieke Guy (LinkedUp Project Community Coordinator) meeting, supporting, linking up

Dear festival-goers, see you there – and at our very own upcoming festival, OKFestival 2014!

The first Open Knowledge Foundation Glasgow Meetup

Guest - August 28, 2013 in Events, Meetups, Open Knowledge Foundation Local Groups

The following guest post is by Lorna Campbell, former assistant director of the Centre for Educational Technology and Interoperability Standards (CETIS). It is cross-posted from her blog.

Last night Sheila and I went along to the first meeting of the Open Knowledge Foundation in Glasgow. The meeting was hosted by the Electron Club and the room was packed to the gunnels with over thirty enthusiastic open data geeks. The event was introduced by Edinburgh University’s Ewan Klein, who has already been instrumental in helping to facilitate a successful series of Open Knowledge Foundation events in Edinburgh.

There were six fascinating lightning talks on a wide range of open data topics:

Glynn Staples introduced the Glasgow Future Cities Demonstrator project, which Sheila, Martin Hawksey and I have already had a little involvement with, when we presented a worksop on social media engagement strategies earlier in the year.

Lizzie Brotherston gave a presentation on the Learner Journey Data Jam which took place in Edinburgh in April, and which featured the work of Cetis’ very own Wilbert Kraan :) It was interesting listening to Lizzie talking about the value of events such as the data jam, and reflecting back on the DevCSI hackdays and the earlier Cetis CodeBashes which ran between 2002 and 2007. We were ahead of our time!

Graham Steel’s presentation was called “Publishing research without data is advertising, not science” and to prove his point, he provided us with lots of useful links which you can find on his prezi here. [And look out for blog post to follow soon - ed]

Bill Roberts, from linked data company Swirrl, reminded us about the importance of presenting Open Data for multiple audiences and introduced a sort of typology of data users which featured “hard core spaqrl junkies” at the bottom!

Neil Logan, of Amor Group, introduced the SFC innovation centres initiative and the Data Science Innovation Centre proposal. You can read more about Neil’s presentation on his own blog here. One of the points that Neil made was that “academics talk to industry because they want money for research”, which I suspect is true, but it did rather make me wonder about whether industry could also offer any investment in teaching and learning?

The final presentation of the evening was by Peter Winstanley of the Scottish Government who talked about the Cabinet Office’s Open Standards Hub. Peter also presented one of the most robust justifications for the adoption of open standards, including persistent resolvable identifiers, that I’ve heard in a long time. If I hadn’t been precariously perched on the edge of a rather high table, I’d have stood up and applauded!

All in all it was a really lively and thought provoking evening and judging by the energy in the room and the many positive comments on twitter, there seems to be real enthusiasm for future Open Knowledge Foundation meetings to take place in Glasgow, so here’s looking forward to the next one!

If you’re intereted in learning more about the first #OpenDataGla event, I’ve posted a Storify here and Martin Hawksey has archived all the tweets here.

For all the latest on the Open Knowledge Foundation in Scotland, follow @okfnscot.

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