Last month Rufus Pollock, Director of the Open Knowledge Foundation, spoke at OpenTech 2009 in a session with Richard Stirling of the Cabinet Office and John Sheridan of the Office of Public Sector Information.

His talk gave a blueprint for how to open up government data:

The talk includes the following, Opening Government Data “Rules”:

  1. “Really” open: use an open license for data
  2. Data first, interface second – shiny front ends come last
  3. Don’t worry about formats – as long as its RAW
    • csv, rdf, xls, json … – doesn’t matter
  4. Reuse existing infrastructure where possible
    • Cloud storage,, …
  5. Build demand and supply feedback into the system
    • Credit for good providers, demand info (voting) from developer and users

His talk also describes a vision for how UK government data will be discovered, stored, requested and reused:

Links to other documentation from talks at Open Tech 2009 are available here!

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Dr. Jonathan Gray is Lecturer in Critical Infrastructure Studies at the Department of Digital Humanities, King’s College London, where he is currently writing a book on data worlds. He is also Cofounder of the Public Data Lab; and Research Associate at the Digital Methods Initiative (University of Amsterdam) and the médialab (Sciences Po, Paris). More about his work can be found at and he tweets at @jwyg.

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