CKAN 0.11 Released

We are pleased to announce the release of version 0.11 of the CKAN software, our open source registry of open data used in and This is our biggest release so far (55 tickets) with lots of new features and improvements. This release also saw a major new production deployment with the CKAN software […]

Talk at Chaos Computer Congress on “CKAN: apt-get for the Debian of Data”

Last week OKFNers including myself attended the 26th Chaos Computer Congress (CCC). As previously announced I was giving a talk entitled “CKAN: apt-get for the Debian of Data”. Slides from the talk are now up here: CCC was an amazing experience — a great venue, a great bunch of people and lots of interesting […]

Datapkg 0.4 Released

Just in time for demoing at the Chaos Computer Congress (where I’m speaking about Componentization and CKAN), datapkg 0.4 has been released. For those who haven’t heard about datapkg before: datapkg is a tool for distributing, discovering and installing knowledge (data and content) ‘packages’. datapkg is a simple way to ‘package’ data building on existing […]

Visualizar ’09

The project presentations from last month’s Visualizar seminar have now been posted online. This annual event brought together creative teams from a range of disciplines, with the objective of delivering workable presentations using freely available data resources. The theme for 2009 was Public Data – Data In Public. I was fortunate enough to attend on […]

KForge v0.17 Released

We’re pleased to announce the release of KForge v0.17! KForge is an open source (GPL) suite of tools for for managing software and knowledge projects. Tools available currently include: Wikis and mailing lists (e.g. MoinMoin, Mailman). Content management systems and blogs (e.g. Joomla, WordPress, DAV). Version control systems (e.g. Subversion, Mercurial, Git). A project framework […]

Latest Developments on Open Shakespeare (v0.8)

The last six months have seen significant developments on our Open Shakespeare project, many of which have are reflected on the website: The most major advance is the availability of new HTML and PDF editions of the texts, see, for example, these versions of Twelfth Night: We’ve also made improvements to multiview, […]

Conservatives Pledge to Open 20 Most Socially Useful Datasets

Thanks to a pointer from the ever-aware Julian Todd we’re heartened to see these pledges being made at the Conservative Party Conference in the UK: Use open source software as much as possible Publish on a website details of all government spending over £25,000. [ed: great news for Where Does My Money Go] Allow the […] Launched – and it’s Using CKAN

The UK Government’s public sector data site launched last week in a private beta — and it’s using CKAN as its backend for storing all its dataset info! They’ve got more than a 1000 existing data sets, from 7 departments, all brought together for the first time in a re-useable form. They’re eager to get […]

Abusing “Open”: Macmillan’s Open Dictionary

Jonathan recently wrote about the availability of open dictionaries. In a recent comment to that post someone pointed us to Macmillan’s “Open” Dictionary (the reasons for the quotes will soon be apparent). With a sense of excitement I followed the link: “Could it be”, I thought, “That a mainstream dictionary producer has decided that open […]

Speaking at OpenTech 2009

Tomorrow I’ll be talking at OpenTech 2009 in a session on “Open Government Data” with Richard Stirling of the Cabinet Office and John Sheridan of OPSI. With the recent, and very welcome, news on opening up government data both here and abroad I’ll be giving some suggested dos and don’ts for this process under the […]

Open Database License (ODbL) v1.0 Released

Open Data Commons have released v1.0 of the Open Database License (ODbL), a share-alike license for data and databases. This is really big news for anyone working on open data as there are very few open data licenses available and none that provide for share-alike. From the announce: We are delighted to announce the release […]

ODC Open Database License (ODbL) Release Candidate 2 is Out

Open Data Commons, a project we help host and run, has put out its second and final “Release Candidate” of the Open Database License (ODbL). As it states in the announcement: The Open Database License (ODbL) v1.0 “Release Candidate 2” is now available at: As expected there haven’t been many changes from the first […]

KForge v0.16 Released

Another release (v0.16) of KForge is now out. It’s amazing to think this will mark KForge’s 4th anniversary! KForge is the software behind our KnowledgeForge service and the code is now very stable — we plan for the next release to be our official “1.0”. On this occasion there are the following changes worthy of […]

The OKF Turns 5 – And We Need Your Support

This month the Open Knowledge Foundation is five years old. Over those last five years we’ve done much to promote open access to information — from sonnets to stats, genes to geodata — not only in the form of specific projects like Open Shakespeare and Public Domain Works but also in the creation of tools […]

CKAN 0.8 Released

A new release of CKAN is now out together with a new, and substantially improved versioned domain model library. Changes include: View information about package history (ticket:53) Basic datapkg integration (ticket:57) Show information about package openness using icons (ticket:56) One-stage package create/registration (r437) Reinstate package attribute validation (r437) Upgrade to vdm 0.4 The CKAN code […]

CKAN package party and general online meetup: Saturday 16th May 2009

We’re planning another CKAN package party + general OKFN online meetup for Saturday 16th of May. It’s a general meetup but with a focus on CKAN packaging so feel free to come and chat about anything open knowledge related — everyone and anyone is welcome. When: Saturday 16th May 2009, 1430-1730 BST (1330-1630 GMT, 0930-1230 […]

Open Data Commons Release v1.0 Release Candidate for Open Database License

Open Data Commons, a project we help host, has put out a v1.0 “Release Candidate” for their Open Database License (ODbL). As it states in the announcement: This updated version of the license incorporates a whole set of changes arising out of the earlier comments period and the main changes are summarized below. As the […]

US CIO Kundra Plans Site

I just saw this transcript of US CIO Kundra’s first conference call where he states: VK: One of the things we want to do is embark on launching which would democratize data and give data access to the public and based on that challenge whether it is citizens, NGOs the private sector to help […]

“Open Shakespeare Edition” Book Design

We’ve been thinking for a while that it would be a nice addition to the Open Shakespeare project to produce an “Open Shakespeare Edition” of the Bard’s works. By an ‘Edition’ we meant something designed as a book and suitable for printing: so an elegant title page, relevant front-matter, properly typeset text etc. This could […]

KForge v0.15 Released

Another release of KForge is out. KForge is the software we use to run: The code is now pretty stable, being 1.0 is in all but name and so releases are fewer and further between. This release saw some significant feature additions plus bugfixes and documentation improvements. Changes include: KForge plugin discovery via setuptools […]

Comments on the Science Commons Protocol for Implementing Open Access Data

Here I briefly comment on the Science Commons Protocol for Implementing Open Access Data as the protocol strongly advocates a position of ‘PD’-only. As will be apparent from the earlier essay on Open Data: Openness and Licensing I do not entirely share this view. The Protocol gives 3 basic reasons for preferring the ‘PD’ approach […]

Facts and Databases

[This post is an addendum to the earlier essay on Open Data: Openness and Licensing] It is important to be clear that any IP ‘rights’ in data(bases) are not ‘rights’ in the facts those data represent but in the ‘data collection’ (or database). Here I try to explain the difference (fairly crudely) with some examples. […]

Open Data: Openness and Licensing

Why does this matter? Why bother about openness and licensing for data? After all they don’t matter in themselves: what we really care about are things like the progress of human knowledge or the freedom to understand and share. However, open data is crucial to progress on these more fundamental items. It’s crucial because open […]

Open Economics: Recent Progress

Recently we made some substantial improvements/additions to our Open Economics project including: Improved javascript graphing. Extend Millenium Development Goals package and added web interface. First efforts at ‘Where Does My Money Go’ Aim: Dig up govt finance info and visualize the results (online) More details on each of these can be found below. Also […]

Open Data Commons now at the OKF

Just over a year ago Open Data Commons was launched as a home for the new open data licenses such as the PDDL which had been developed by Jordan Hatcher and Dr Charlotte Waelde. From early on, Jordan, the legal expert and aficianado-of-openness and the main mover behind these efforts, had been talking with us […]

CKAN 0.7 Released

Just in time for our upcoming workshops a new version of CKAN (v0.7) is ready. It provides some major improvements including: Convert to use SQLAlchemy and vdm v0.3 (v. major) Atom/RSS feed for Recent Changes Package search via name and title Tag lists show number of associated packages The CKAN code is available from: […]

Shakespeare v0.6 Released

See which includes full installation instructions. We’ve also reorganized the sites so that the news/blog is here at and the Shakespeare package web interface is at Main changes include: Major refactoring of internal code to be cleaner and simpler A new cleaner and reorganized web interface Search support via Xapian: Statistical […]

Some Agricultural History via Open Economics

One of the active Open Knowledge Foundation projects is Open Economics. A substantial part of that effort ends up being data acquisition and ‘cleaning’: getting hold of economic data, parsing it into (computer) usable form and adding it to the Store. (Wouldn’t it be nice if that data was already nicely packaged up or at […]

Database Back Up

Unfortunately due to upgrades of the software on the server the Public Domain Works DB has been down recently. Now, thanks to recent coding efforts it is back up with some early (1900s) data from musicbrainz. Check it out at:

Interview with Science Commons for their Voices from the Future of Science

Science Commons in the person of Donna Wentworth have done an interview with me as part of their series on “Voices from the Future of Science”. Among other things, I talked about what we can learn from the open source movement (Debian of Data anyone), current status and future plans for CKAN, and why we […]

Open Software Service Definition Launched

For more than a year we’ve been working with a variety of groups and individuals to fashion a clear definition of ‘openness’ in relation to online, software-based, ‘services’ (think: search engines, webmail, online spreadsheets, etc). The result, launched today, is the Open Software Service Definition: Simultaneously released, and to which we are party, the […]

CKAN 0.6 Released

Version v0.6 of the Comprehensive Knowledge Archive Network (CKAN) software has just been released (and simultaneously rolled out to the site). Changes include: Autocompletion (+ suggestion) of tags when adding tags to a package. Paginated lists for packages, tags, and revisions. RESTful machine API for package access, update, listing and creation. API Keys for users […]

More Text Up from Shakespeare’s Entry in Encyclopaedia Britannica 11th Edition

Another 3 pages (4600 words) are up from the EB 11 Entry on Shakespeare covering most of Shakespeare’s plays in chronological order. Current material can be found on: Encyclopaedia Britannica 11th Edition page Source version (plain text in subversion) can be found at:

Versioned Domain Model v0.2 with Support for SQLAlchemy Released

v0.2 of versioned domain model is now finally done — it was 95% complete in Feb but it has taken another 3 months to iron out the last bugs and polish up! Apart from being a concrete implementation of a system for versioning data(bases) — and therefore important for efforts to do more collaborative development […]

Open Shakespeare / Milton Mini Hackathon and Planning Session

After a fairly quiet period over the last 6 months development will be hotting up again thanks to discussion at Open Knowledge 2008 and the involvement of Iain Emsley (who will be focusing especially on a sister Milton project). To kick this off we’re planning a mini-hackathon: Wiki page: (sign up here) When: Saturday […]

Open Data Going Mainstream?

Bret Taylor’s recent post entitled “We Need a Wikipedia for Data” has been garnering a lot of attention around the blogosphere. While his suggestions are not particularly novel, the post and the attention it has garnered, is, I think, indicative of the growing interests in the issues of (open) data and its importance for the […]

The 2008 Open Knowledge Conference (OKCon) is on Tomorrow at LSE in London

Our second annual Open Knowledge Conference (OKCon) is taking place tomorrow. Like last year, the event will bring together individuals and groups from across the open knowledge spectrum for a day of seminars and workshops. Though we’re nearing capcity, there are still a few places left for last minute registrants! Details When: Saturday 15th March […]

Open Bibliographic Data: The State of Play

Given the public role of libraries and the fact that bibliographic metadata (i.e. the material in library catalogues) doesn’t seem that exciting from a commercial point of view you might think that, of all the types of data out there, it would be bibliographic data that would be the most open. You might even think, […]

A Traffic Data Odyssey

Recently, partly as an experiment regarding access to government data, partly out of genuine interest in the material itself, I looked into getting hold of some UK traffic count data — useful for, among other things, doing traffic analysis which is key to much road planning and policy (see e.g. this work by R J […]

Speaking at Oxford Geek Night on Open Knowledge and Componentization

Tomorrow I’ll be speaking with Nate Olson at the latest Oxford Geek Night on the subject of Open Knowledge and Componentization. Here’s the blurb: Componentization on a large scale (such as in the Debian ‘apt’ packaging system) has allowed large software projects to be amazingly productive through their use of a decentralised, collaborative, incremental development […]

Open Knowledge (OKCon) 2008: LSE, London, 15th March 2008

OKCon 2008 – ‘Open Knowledge: Applications, Tools and Services’ where: London School of Economics, London, UK when: 15th March 2008 (1030-1830) www: register: wiki: Following on from the success of our inaugural conference last year, we’re pleased to announce that the second Open Knowledge conference (OKCon) will take place on Saturday 15th […]

Pleiades: Lots of Ancient Geodata Released!

We’ve written about the pleiades project a couple of times before: Organized by the Ancient World Mapping Center at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, U.S.A., Pleiades brings together a global community of scholars, students and enthusiasts to expand and enhance continually the information originally brought together by the Classical Atlas Project (1988-2000) […]

Give Us the Data Raw, and Give it to Us Now

One thing I find remarkable about many data projects is how much effort goes into developing a shiny front-end for the material. Now I’m not knocking shiny front-ends, they’re important for providing a way for many users to get at the material (and very useful for demonstrating to funders where all the money went). But […]

British History Online: Why the Restrictions?

British History Online is a site created and run by Institute for Historical Research (part of the University of London I believe) and the History of Parliament Trust and located at: (note the ‘’ domain name signifying the official academic status though rather unusually they do run ads). Their purpose is clearly stated on the […]

The Open Definition and Creative Commons

This chemspider blog post expresses considerable uncertainty as to the respective roles and relationship of the Open (Knowledge/Data) Definition and Creative Commons. This kind of uncertainty, particularly as to whether the OD and CC are in some way competing ‘standards’, is something I’ve increasingly encountered over the last year or so. I therefore really think […]

“Open-Access” Quantitative mRNA/Protein Dataset

The RIKEN Research Center for Allergy and Immunology in Japan have just released RefDic, “an open-access database of quantitative mRNA/Protein profiles specifically for immune cells”: A prepublication epub has been posted on pubmeb giving more information entitled Construction of an open-access database that integrates cross-reference information from the transcriptome and proteome of immune cells […]

First Text Up from Shakespeare’s Entry in 1911 Encyclopaedia Britannica

We’ve completed the proofing and correcting of the first 5 pages of Shakespeare’s Entry from the 1911 Encyclopaedia Britannica. This is quite a bit of material (those EB pages are big) and includes full biography and a listing of plays. We’re posting this material on this site on Encyclopaedia Britannica 11th Edition page and will […]

WorldMapper: Is Its Data Open?

WorldMapper produces a whole variety of illuminating cartograms to show the distribution of various statistics across the world from royalties to the level of military spending. While looking at the site I immediately started to wonder about the openness both of the maps themselves and the underlying data (to my mind while the maps are […]

KForge v0.14 Released

Another release of KForge is out (mainly bugfixes and minor feature enhancements). Changes include: Ensuring admin pages at /admin/ and not just /admin/model/. Setting zip_safe to False in to avoid problems with apache/modpython. Bringing the guide completely up to date. Ensuring access control works with Apache 2.0 and not just 2.2. Alphabetical sorting of […]