Open Government Data Camp 2011 is approaching fast! We’re really excited about all the brilliant talks, workshops, plots, plans and people that are going to be there. In the run-up to the camp we’re going to run a series of posts from a range of voices, talking about different aspects of open government data and the camp. This first post is from Tim Davies, who will be part of the satellite workshop on “organisational identifiers” and data on organisations, jointly organised by Open Corporates and AidInfo.

Many open data projects would benefit from having a shared and stable way to identify organisations within datasets. There are a number of ongoing efforts to collect open data on organisations, or to assign unique indentifiers to organisations. Establishing a universal scheme of organisational identifiers is particularly important for projects such as the International Aid Transparency Initiative (IATI), which need to identify organisations across many jurisdictions and across sectors (companies, charities, governments, other associations and organisations), covering countries with diverse approaches to, and quality of, official registration schemes. This workshop seeks to bring together different initiatives working on organisational identifiers to share knowledge and develop shared approaches to creating complementary and compatible access to organisational information.

The core aims of the workshop are to:

  • Bring together different actors exploring the organisational identifier question: including those focused on companies, charities, government agencies and other forms of organisation.

  • Identify a shared method (standard) for re-using existing identifiers (e.g. Company Registration; VAT Registration). This may focus on convergence and compatibility between schemes such as the IATI Identifier (a framework for Identifiers); Open Corporates URIs (seeking to cover all companies globally); ORGPedia entries (“facilitating the “mashing up” of disparate data sets about the ownership, structure, performance and regulatory compliance of organizations” [REF]); Guidestar Identifier (NGO focussed) and other open data sources and initiatives.

  • Identify existing efforts to collect open data on organisations and to map together different identifiers (e.g. Corporate groupings; mapping Charity and Company numbers etc.)

  • Identify gaps in current approaches (e.g. how to handle countries or organisation-types with limited registration options available to them; how to check the quality of data etc).

  • Develop a shared agenda for action in which partners can each take forward complementary efforts to define and use shared organisational identifiers, and to build the eco-system of open data available for as many of those identifiers as possible.

Registration for the workshop is open at and participation is free.

Participants may also wish to register for the main OGD Camp. Register here!

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Theodora is press officer at the Open Knowledge Foundation, based in London. Get in touch via