As faces filled the Panton Arms last week, it was great to see a healthy mix of the familiar and the new. The third meet-up in the #OpenDataCBG series proved to be one of the most friendly and interactive yet.

The Setting

Last Monday was a day of sudden torrential downpours. Perhaps for fear of another soaking, attendance was slightly lower at #OpenDataCBG than previously. But the rain did nothing to dampen the spirits of the twenty-odd folk who gathered in the Panton Arms for a lively evening of discussion and debate.

#OpenDataCBG

The Talks

The evening kicked-off with an excellent talk by Sarah Burge from the Sanger Institute, exploring how Wikipedia has been used to share RNA research at Rfam. Sarah’s talk was interesting and provocative, as proven by the questions and discussions it sparked as the evening continued – is Wikipedia taking over the internet?

Next Tom Oinn gave us an insight into Overtone. Whereas most music-sharing platforms only allow you to listen, Overtone is truly ‘open’ in that you can adapt, edit and build on the music in a new, collaborative way.

After a brief pause to re-charge glasses, Kat Braybrooke took to the floor to talk about OKFest, the experimental conference in Helsinki in September that many of us from the Open Knowledge Foundation will be involved with. It’s a long journey from Cambridge to Helsinki, but we hope that some of the faces from the Cambridge meet-up may come across and join us there!

Finally, Velichka Dimitrova shared the work she has been doing on YourTopia Italia, inviting everyone to log-in to the site and discover where their lifestyle priorities are best met. Once again, this sparked a lot of debate, with some interesting thoughts about whether GDP is an appropriate measure of economic performance and social progress, and the possibility of actually measuring happiness.

Newsflash Since Velichka gave her talk, YourTopia has won a prize in the Applications category of Apps4Italy. Apps4Italy is a competition to create tools and visualisations which demonstrate the value of public information. Congratulations Velichka and team! [Ed]

The Discussion

One of the best features of the #OpenDataCBG meet-ups is the fact that everyone has the chance to get involved. After a quick zip round the room for introductions, the floor is opened up to general discussion – whether to ask questions, to explore thoughts sparked by the talks, or to share an idea you’ve been pondering.

The discussion last week was particularly lively, with a lot of interesting points raised about the contemporary experience of the internet and the realities of working with information in the modern world. Much of the room joined in, and the insights of some first-time attendees were particularly welcome.

As the ‘formalities’ of the evening drew to a close, it was great to see people breaking up into smaller groups to continue an idea or to start up a conversation with someone who’s introduction had intrigued them. By the end of the evening, everyone had well and truly mingled and there was a great sense of new friends and exciting opportunities.

Hopefully the next #OpenDataCBG meet-up will see some of last times new faces becoming old friends, and new ones joining the mix to swell the ranks still more!

Get Involved

  • Do you live in or around Cambridge? We’d love to see you at the next #OpenDataCBG meet-up! Sign-up on our mailing list
  • Based elsewhere in the UK? We have regular meet-ups in London and Edinburgh, plus science meet-ups in Oxford and a host of occasional gatherings elsewhere. Check out our meet-up page for more details.
  • Live somewhere else in the world? We have local communities spread across the globe! Find out about our local chapters and view them on our meet-up page.
  • No meet-ups in your area? Start them up! Contact info [@] okfn.org for help and advice on getting going.