Support Us

You are browsing the archive for Talks.

Talk at LIFT 2012: Open Data – How We Got Here, and Where We’re Going

Rufus Pollock - April 2, 2012 in Featured, Ideas and musings, Open Data, Our Work, Talks

I’m pleased to announce that the video of my talk, Open Data: How We Got Here, and Where We’re Going, that I gave a few weeks ago at the LIFT 2012 conference has now been published:

Over the past few years, there has an explosive growth in open data with significant uptake in government, research and elsewhere. Open data has the potential to transform society, government and the economy, from how we travel to work to how we decide to vote. But we have only just begun down this road, and the going, even so far, has not always been easy.

My talk introduced the idea of open data, explaining how, and why, we are where we are today, and, finally, took a look to the future of the rapidly evolving open data ecoystem.

Slides from the talk – Link to full version

#OpenDataEDB: the results

Naomi Lillie - March 16, 2012 in Bibliographic, Events, Meetups, OKScotland, Open Data, Open GLAM, Open Science, Our Work, Talks, WG Open Bibliographic Data

Last night was the first OKFN Meet-Up in Scotland* at the Ghillie Dhu, Edinburgh, run in collaboration with DevCSI. 19 people attended from around the city and nearby, including Glasgow, and those visiting for the Open Biblio Sprint represented Cambridge, London, Wolverhampton and the Netherlands.

The Auditorium was a beautiful venue, and there was a good space for giving presentations complete with seamless audio and visual equipment (a rare treat!).


We kicked off with the first three Lightening Talks:

It was great to see people gravitating towards those whose presentations had struck a chord… Mahendra had invited discussion around potential events and many people had plans or ideas which they wanted to run past him, while Rod’s points on taxonomy were pertinent to Mark’s work on BibServer as well as others’ research. Other discussions grew between the bar snacks, as people began with the standard ‘what do you do?’ and swiftly developed into ‘oh that’s funny, I was talking to so-and-so about that just now…’ Our dedicated bartender was contributing too, as he specialised in nanotechnology!

The next three talks followed:

The hubbub of enthusiasm started up again, and it appeared there were good conversations and connections emerging around the room. From these, or perhaps just courage from having seen others do their presentations (and me fumbling along as make-shift compère), two additional people decided to give impromptu talks:

Many thanks to all those who presented and to those who attended to discuss all things #OpenData. Hopefully everyone left with good ideas of topics and people to follow up with afterwards, and who knows where these will lead?


As this was our first Scotland-based Meet-up we’d be glad to get feedback so we can improve; the next one is planned for May, so if you have anything you’d particularly like to see, hear or say, let us know (one suggestion was that talks are recorded, so people unable to attend can keep up-to-date). This and other events will be promoted via the OKFN Scotland List, so do sign up here otherwise you might miss out!

* It turns out there was an event in Scotland in 2010, according to people who have been on the scene longer than I… see here for comments on the Open Biblio blog post which highlight previous activity, and many thanks to the people who kindly contributed this information. Here’s to the next one :-)

European Commission launches Open Data Strategy for Europe

Jonathan Gray - December 12, 2011 in Open Data, Open Government Data, Policy, Talks, WG EU Open Data, Working Groups

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

This morning Neelie Kroes, Vice-President of the European Commission and Commissioner for the Digital Agenda announced a new Open Data Strategy for Europe.

I wrote a bit of background on the announcement on Friday for the Guardian Datablog, discussing what this might mean for open data in Europe.

There were some great bits and pieces in Neelie Kroes’s talk, including:

  • “The best way to get value from data is to give it away”
  • Exemplars include,, Tim Berners-Lee, the Open Knowledge Foundation, and WheelMap
  • “Instead of needing complicated authorisations you will be automatically allowed to reuse the public data you need.”
  • “Fees will be limited to marginal cost.” – If this means “marginal cost of reproduction” (which tends towards zero for digital material), and if this is enforced this will be a huge deal for open data and Public Sector Information in Europe!
  • Mention of cultural heritage organisations – although data will not be free of cost except where institutions agree to this.
  • “The revised Directive will need approval from the Parliament and the Council – […] but my real message is that Public Authorities do not need to wait for this package to become law, start this afternoon. You can give your data away now and generate revenue and jobs.” – I.e. the importance of ‘soft measures’ related to open data and PSI, not just ‘hard law’.
  • “I also say to private business – open your data.” – A very important aside!
  • “Lets join together and share our data. The outcome for everybody is more than when you keep it for yourself.” – Importance of individuals and organisations collaborating around public data.

From the press release:

> Brussels, 12 December 2011 – The Commission has launched an Open Data Strategy for Europe, which is expected to deliver a €40 billion boost to the EU’s economy each year. Europe’s public administrations are sitting on a goldmine of unrealised economic potential: the large volumes of information collected by numerous public authorities and services. Member States such as the United Kingdom and France are already demonstrating this value. The strategy to lift performance EU-wide is three-fold: firstly the Commission will lead by example, opening its vaults of information to the public for free through a new data portal. Secondly, a level playing field for open data across the EU will be established. Finally, these new measures are backed by the €100 million which will be granted in 2011-2013 to fund research into improved data-handling technologies.

> These actions position the EU as the global leader in the re-use of public sector information. They will boost the thriving industry that turns raw data into the material that hundreds of millions of ICT users depend on, for example smart phone apps, such as maps, real-time traffic and weather information, price comparison tools and more. Other leading beneficiaries will include journalists and academics.

> Commission Vice President Neelie Kroes said: “We are sending a strong signal to administrations today. Your data is worth more if you give it away. So start releasing it now: use this framework to join the other smart leaders who are already gaining from embracing open data. Taxpayers have already paid for this information, the least we can do is give it back to those who want to use it in new ways that help people and create jobs and growth.” See Mrs Kroes video quote here.

> The Commission proposes to update the 2003 Directive on the re-use of public sector information by:

> * Making it a general rule that all documents made accessible by public sector bodies can be re-used for any purpose, commercial or non-commercial, unless protected by third party copyright; > * Establishing the principle that public bodies should not be allowed to charge more than costs triggered by the individual request for data (marginal costs); in practice this means most data will be offered for free or virtually for free, unless duly justified. > * Making it compulsory to provide data in commonly-used, machine-readable formats, to ensure data can be effectively re-used. > * Introducing regulatory oversight to enforce these principles; > * Massively expanding the reach of the Directive to include libraries, museums and archives for the first time; the existing 2003 rules will apply to data from such institutions.

> In addition, the Commission will make its own data public through a new “data portal”, for which the Commission has already agreed the contract. This portal is currently in ‘beta version’ (development and testing phase) with an expected launch in spring 2012. In time this will serve as a single-access point for re-usable data from all EU institutions, bodies and agencies and national authorities.

We’re still digesting the announcement and what it will mean for open data in Europe. If you’re interested in discussing this further, you can join the euopendata.

Open Data in Cultural Heritage: Finding your way through the license labyrinth, London, 24th November 2011

Jonathan Gray - November 1, 2011 in Bibliographic, Events, Open Data, Our Work, Policy, Talks, WG Cultural Heritage, Working Groups, Workshop

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

Following on from our Open GLAM workshop in Warsaw last month, in a few weeks we’re hosting a half day workshop looking at how to overcome barriers to opening up data in the cultural heritage sector.

So far we have confirmed representatives from the British Library, the British Museum, the Imperial War Museum, the Tate, the V&A, and other cultural heritage institutions.

Further details are copied below. If you’re interested in participating, please pop me an email at: .

> ## Open Data in Cultural Heritage: Finding your way through the license labyrinth

> * Where?: Wellcome Trust, London, UK > * When?: 24th November 2011

> Galleries, libraries, archives and museums around the world are opening up datasets, documents and other digital assets to enable the creation of innovative web and mobile services.

> This half day, hands-on workshop aims to help decision makers in the cultural heritage sector to navigate the plethora of licensing options for opening up their data and to develop new business models. The workshop will include:

> * Case studies on successful open data initiatives presented by leading practitioners > * An open data licensing clinic with lawyers and legal experts, to address issues and questions with common licensing frameworks

> If you would like to participate, please email .

> ## Draft programme

> * Introduction – Jonathan Gray (Open Knowledge Foundation) and Mia Ridge (Cultural Heritage Technologist) > * The Risks and Rewards of Open Data – Jill Cousins (Executive Director, Europeana) > * Opening Up the BBC – Bill Thompson (BBC Archives + Technology Critic) > * Open Data Legal Clinic – Francis Davey (Barrister), Naomi Korn (Copyright Consultant), Prodromos Tsiavos (London School of Economics)

> The workshop is organised by Jonathan Gray and Mia Ridge as part of the Open GLAM initiative in association with the Open Knowledge Foundation. Refreshments are provided by the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation through their support of the LODLAM Summit, and the event is kindly hosted by the Wellcome Trust.

PRESS RELEASE: The world’s biggest open data event

Jonathan Gray - October 19, 2011 in Data Journalism, Events, News, OGDCamp, Open Data, Open Government Data, Press, Talks, WG Open Government Data, Working Groups

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

The Open Government Data Camp 2011 takes place tomorrow in Warsaw. We’re really excited. Our press release is below. We’d be grateful for any help in sending this to relevant colleagues and organisations!

> ## PRESS RELEASE: The world’s biggest open data event

> Hundreds of public servants, NGOs, journalists and developers will gather in a former factory building in Warsaw this week for what will be the world’s biggest ever open data event.

> Over 40 countries around the world will be represented at the camp, from city level projects in Manchester, Montreal or Munich to national initiatives like, as well as supranational institutions like the European Commission and the World Bank.

> Ellen Miller, Co-Founder and Executive Director of the Sunlight Foundation, says: “We anticipate that this year’s Camp will convene the open data and transparency movement’s most creative thinkers, doers and advocates, whose conversations will help inspire many enduring solutions for using government data for the public good.”

> Neelie Kroes, Vice-President of the European Commission and Digital Agenda Commissioner, says: “I am thrilled to see so much open data innovation going on in Europe. There is tremendous potential in this area – from enabling next generation public services, to creating jobs in the digital single market. This year’s Open Government Data Camp in Warsaw will enable key stakeholders from across Europe to exchange ideas and expertise.”

> Chris Taggart, Founder of, says: “Despite the successes of the past few years, the open data community faces considerable obstacles, from proprietary web services to governments who see open data as a threat. Open Government Data Camp will connect people who are serious about overcoming these issues and using open data to help to solve some of the world’s pressing problems.”

> Daniele Silva, part of a grassroots group of over 800 Brazilian hackers and activists, says: “To maximise the value of public data, there is just as much work to de done on the civic society side as there is on the government side. The camp in Warsaw is an opportunity for us to collaborate with groups from around the world to work towards a read/write culture for public data.”

> Nigel Shadboldt, who sits on the UK Government’s Public Sector Transparency Board, says: “Open Government Data creates social and economic value, improves public services, makes Governments more efficient, transparent and accountable. This Conference is about ensuring that more people understand how to make this work, more people can tackle the challenges and obstacles that arise, and more people are inspired to continue the work.”


> ## Notes for editors

> * For further information and interviews contact the organisers at > * The Open Government Data Camp 2011 takes place on 20-21st October in Warsaw, Poland. > * It is organised by over 30 organisations, coordinated by the Open Knowledge Foundation (UK) and Centrum Cyfrowe (Poland). A full list is available at: > * Further details at: . > * The event has been recently featured on the Guardian Datablog () and O’Reilly Radar ().

OKCon 2011: Introduction and a Look to the Future

Rufus Pollock - June 30, 2011 in OKCon, Open Data, Talks

This is a blog post by Rufus Pollock, co-Founder and Director of the Open Knowledge Foundation.

OKCon, the annual Open Knowledge Conference kicked off today and it’s been great so far. For those not here in Berlin with us you can follow main track talks via video streaming:

Below are my slides from my introductory talk which gives an overview of the Foundation and its activities and then looked to what the challenges are for the open data community going forward.

Looking to the Future

The last several decades the world has seen an explosion of digital technologies which have the potential to transform the way knowledge is disseminated.

This world is rapidly evolving and one of its more striking possibilities is the creation of an open data ecosystem in which information is freely used, extended and built on.

The resulting open data ‘commons’ is valuable in and of itself, but also, and perhaps even more importantly, because the social and commercial benefits it generates — whether in helping us to understand climate change; speeding the development of life-saving drugs; or improving govenance and public services.

In developing this open data ecosystem there are three key things are needed: material, tools and people. This is a key point: open information without tools and communities to utilise it is not enough, after all, openness isn’t an end itself – open material has no value if it isn’t used.

We need therefore to have widely available the capabilities for utilising open material, for processing, analysing and sharing it, especially on a large scale. Relevant tools need to be freely and openly available and the related infrastructure — after all tools need somewhere to run, and data needs somewhere to be stored — should be capable of effective deployment by distributed communities.

Over the last few years we’ve started to see increasing amounts of open material made available, with release of open data really starting to take off in the last couple of years.

But the (open) tools and the communities to use them are still very limited — we’re just starting to see the first self-identified “data wranglers / data hackers / data scientists” (note how the terms have not settled yet!).

Key architectural elements of the ecosystem, such as how we create and share data in an open componentized way, are only just beginning to be worked through.

We are therefore at a key moment where we transition from just ‘getting the data’ (and building the app) to a real data ecosystem in which data is transformed, shared and reintegrated and we replace a ‘data pipeline’ with ‘data cycles’.

Open Government Data Camp 2011 is coming soon!

Jonathan Gray - June 16, 2011 in Events, OGDCamp, Open Data, Open Government Data, Open Knowledge Foundation, Policy, Talks, WG EU Open Data, WG Open Government Data, Working Groups

Open Government Data Camp 2011 is coming soon! You can find more at:

  • We’re currently working with the excellent Centrum Cyfrowe Projekt:Polska to finalise logistics for the event, which is currently scheduled to take place on 21st October 2011.

As with last year’s event, we will have lots of developers, designers, data journalists, public servants, NGOs, and others at the event. It will coincide with the EU Presidency in Poland. And as you’d expect, there will be lots of workshops, code sprints, planning sessions, and other open data related activities.

If you’re interested please add your details to this form and we’ll ping you as soon as further details are available.

Open Data Workshop and OpenCamp in Sofia, Bulgaria 4-5 June

Rufus Pollock - June 7, 2011 in Events, Open Data, Open Government Data, Talks

On Saturday and Sunday (4th and 5th June) I was in Sofia, Bulgaria to run a Open Data Workshop on the Saturday and speak at the OpenCamp on the Sunday.

Separate notes on the workshop are here: with results of mapping of Bulgarian gov data on CKAN wiki:

Slides (fullsize): Open Data: What, Why, How


OpenCamp Sofia

Interested in data-driven journalism?

Liliana Bounegru - June 3, 2011 in Events, External, OKCon, Open Data, Open Government Data, Talks, WG EU Open Data, WG Open Government Data, Working Groups

The following guest post is from Lilliana Bounegru at the European Journalism Centre (EJC).

The EJC in collaboration with Mirko Lorenz at Deutshe Welle have created a survey that aims to gather the opinion of journalists on the emerging practice of data-driven journalism and understand their training needs in this field.

Data has always been used as a source for reporting especially by investigative journalists and will play an increasingly important role in journalism in the future. Data-driven investigative operations in the past however involved a lot of resources and time. With the increasing pressure on newsrooms to be more time and cost efficient, they remained a marginal practice.

Why data-driven journalism?

Data-driven journalism enables journalists and media outlets to produce value and revenues without requiring the large investments of time and resources that data-driven investigative operations required in the past, thus holding the potential to more evenly distribute this practice across newsrooms. This is partly due to the increasing availability of open data catalogues which reduces the time required for journalists to get their hands on valuable data, and of free and open tools for data interrogation and visualization that lend themselves to non-expert use, which make data-driven reporting easier to undertake. The most notable data journalism operation in Europe, the Guardian Data Blog, works mainly with Excel or Google spreadsheets and free tools for data interrogation and visualization, and was until not long ago a one-man show, using the potential of crowdsourcing for data analysis at times.

How to understand what journalists need?

To enable more journalists and newsrooms across Europe to tap into the potential of data-driven journalism, the European Journalism Centre plans to organize a series of trainings this year and in the coming year. To understand what journalists need in order to practice data journalism, we created a survey. The survey has 16 questions asking journalists and others for their opinion on data journalism, aspects of working with data in their newsrooms, and what they are interested in learning.

  • We’ve had a good start: in a bit over one week over 80 journalists responded. If you are a journalist we would be grateful if you took 10 minutes of your time to take the survey and help us understand what is useful for journalists in order to organize trainings that fit real needs. To say thank you one of the entries will win a EUR 100 Amazon gift voucher.

The insights from this survey will be made freely available. We would much appreciate also help with tweeting, blogging or forwarding this to relevant people you might know.

If you’re interested in keeping in touch with developments in this area, you may wish to join the EJC’s Data Driven Journalism group and the joint EJC/OKF mailing list on data-driven-journalism. You may also be interested in coming to the data journalism session at OKCon 2011 in Berlin on 30th June – 1st July, where we will present the results of the survey so far!

Open Data talk at Census Microdata workshop

jwalsh - May 25, 2011 in Talks, Uncategorized

Jo Walsh, Service Manager at EDINA and a member of the Open Knowledge Foundation board, writes: Yesterday I gave a last-minute talk on open data, the work of OKF and EDINA to a Census Microdata workshop in Edinburgh.

The slides consist of screenshots with links and cover the following.

CKAN – the Data Hub and the place to get all sorts of data that may be relevant to demographic analysis. A CKAN search for ‘census’ currently returns 27 relevant datasets. There are many CKANs, some are run by governments (including and many more run by community groups. Open Data Search looks at many different sources of open data including (i think) the network of CKANs.

Note that CKAN includes datasets that are not open, but one day may be open. So there is a companion service, “Is it Open Data?”; one can write to data providers through it, and the questions and answers are recorded in public. So if there are datasets which may be non-commercial or research-only that you really want to see opened, try “Is it Open Data”.

Now that we have got data, what are we going to do with it? Get the Data may help – this is a stackoverflow-type site intended for data wranglers rather than programmers. Ask questions here and look for relevant answers…

So all these things are projects of the Open Knowledge Foundation which builds infrastructure / tools and also does some open knowledge production – for example Open Shakespeare, which has done some print editions, and Where Does My Money Go?, visualising public spending and contributions in novel interactive ways.

Open Data Commons is another OKF project – it publishes the PDDL and ODBL licenses (inspired by free software licenses), which can be used to preserve the future freedom of your data.

OpenStreetmap is one open data project that’s now moving to the ODbL license – take the data and adapt it, but if you make improvements they should be contributed back to the original project. Taginfo shows that some people are adding census data to OSM.

EDINA the JISC datacentre based at the University of Edinburgh, provides several open data services which may support demographic data analysis and visualisation. Open Boundaries is the open data side of the long-standing UKBORDERS service for research access to boundary data. Digimap OpenStream provides web map tile services based on Ordnance Survey Open Data. Both these services are currently available to anyone with an email address. And the Unlock place search and text mining service provides some global open data coverage, free for anyone to use.

Get Updates