It’s with great excitement that we can announce that OKFN Greece, after 1.5 years as a Local Group in our global network, have established themselves as an official Chapter of the Open Knowledge Foundation. This means that our Greek friends are now through their own legal entity a more integral part of the organization.
The last year and a half has been fast-paced for the Local Group in Greece, and their progression towards becoming a Chapter is nothing less than exemplary.
Getting started by bringing people together
They started in 2011 by organizing several Meetups, including invited guests such as former OKF Community Manager Kat Braybrooke and Dr. Soren Auer, coordinator of the LOD2 Project and member of the OKFN advisory board, to get things started. On the side they also initiated collaborations with Creative Commons Hellas (via Marinos Papadopoulos) and the Wikimedia Greece Community (via Kostas Stampoulis).
Additionally, the group initiated various mini hack-days. A spending visualization hack-day was organized to coincide with a visit from the OKF’s Open Spending Project Coordinator Lucy Chambers, which led to the production of several interesting sets of visualization samples. Wikipedia in Medicine hack-day was held later in the Aristotle University of Thessaloniki Medical School to train and encourage medical scientists to contribute valuable and accurate open medical content to Wikipedia.
Connecting with stakeholders
As a means to connect with other networks, OKFN Greece has participated in a series of networking events across the country, including: Free and Open Source Software Communities Meeting (Serres, May 2012), Ignite Athens Show (Athens, October 2012) , e-Learning Expo (Athens, October 2012), Wikimedia Greece Community Conference (Athenks, April 2013), and co-organized #opnHealth (Thessaloniki, April 2013).
Developing projects in many fields
OKFN Greece has lately developed the Greek version of DBpedia Spotlight and also published the Greek versions of Wordnet and Wiktionary linked datasets. The DayLikeToday is a timeline visualization which presents what happens in a day like today from Wikipedia’s data via DBpedia.
Other projects include publishing a huge dataset containing the bibliographic information of the Veria public library as a linked open dataset, being part of the cloud diagram and particularly the Greek sub-cloud (http://open-data.okfn.gr/linked-data), based on the work of the group’s members – with all source code released under an open license on the OKFN Greece github.
Their latest work is the Greek open data hub, which was praised by the Vice-President of the European Commission, Neelie Kroes. Lastly, the translation of the Open Data Handbook (printed booklet funded by the mEducator project) was a great occasion for the group to join the linguistic linked data group. Subsequently the CKAN and the OpenSpending platform were also translated in Greek.
New local Working Groups
Most recently, as the group’s activities started to grow and become more complex, they took the decision to split up the workload into a few working groups, exactly as we do with the Working Groups of the main OKF organization. The aim of OKF Greece working groups is to provide a support mechanism, a space for reflection, and a space for the development and promotion of tools from different communities with common interests in open data and open knowledge throughout Greece. The working groups will remain closely involved in the international OKFN, sharing their ideas with the main OKF Working Groups.
Moving towards a bright future
OKFN Greece wants to play a central role in the open knowledge landscape of the future – in Greece and beyond. As an official Chapter of Open Knowledge Foundation they now have a much better and firmer foundation on which they can better participate in local decision-making processes together with the Greek authorities and the state of Greece. All in all the future looks bright – congrats and good work, OKFN Greece!
Christian Villum is an open data and open everything advocate, disruptive-technology geek, project bootstrapper & electronic music buff. He lives in Copenhagen, Denmark, and has a background in media and culture entrepreneurship, community creation and hacktivism.