Keeping “Open” Libre

Last week I attended the Jornadas gvSIG, the developer/user gathering for the open source GIS project supported by the regional government in Valencia. There seems to be a very supportive climate towards free software and open licensed data in Spain. I was impressed to hear people from commercial consultancies and local government information and infrastructure […]

Public Domain Calculators

As followers of the mailing list will know we are now planning to join forces with Creative Commons on the Internet Archive’s Open Library project. Our first step is to develop ‘public domain calculators’ for the different jurisdictions across Europe. Here a calculator is just an algorithm for determining whether a given work is Public […]

The IPCC Data Distribution Centre – environmental data licensing

We’ve recently started looking into how much environmental data made available on the web is open in accordance with the Open Knowledge Definition. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) has a Data Distribution Centre (DDC) – which is a good start to see what data is available. The DDC “offers access to baseline and […]

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 […]

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 […]

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 […]

Proof-Editing Shakespeare Entry from Encyclopaedia Britannica 11th Edition

Since the previous post we’ve succeeded in using tesseract and we now have a nice plain text version of the EB entry on shakespeare: What we now need to do is ‘proof’ this to correct the OCR errors. This kind of think is perfect for distributed volunteers so if you’d like to help out […]

Towards an Open Service Definition

As mentioned previously on this blog recent developments, particularly the increase in ‘Software as a Service’ approaches, have created the need to think hard about what would constitute an `Free/Open Service’ (as opposed to just plain Free/Open Source software or Free/Open Knowledge). Following extensive discussion in the last couple of months on the okfn-discuss mailing […]

Alpha launch of Public Domain Works

Public Domain Works advises users on the copyright status of a particular track to encourage creators and entrepreneurs to build on cultural history. Let’s say you want to use, sample or reissue a particular track, whether its Elvis, Elgar or Elmore Judd. Reusing even a fraction of a copyright-protected track (without the express permission of […]

Study on use of open licenses by UK cultural heritage organisations

The Eduserv foundation has funded a study, led by Jordan Hatcher, into the “current usage of Creative Commons (and other open content) licences by cultural heritage organisations in the UK”. The aim of the study is to try to build a snapshot of usage and plans for usage of open licenses for as broad a […]

KForge v0.13 Released

After another six months of work we’ve released a new version of the KForge software. KForge/KnowledgeForge is one the OKF’s main activities with the KForge software being used to run the KnowledgeForge service. Over two and half years after work first started the project is now fairly mature with a growing number of projects hosted […]

OCRing Shakespeare Entry from Encyclopaedia Britannica 11th Edition

One of next things we want to do for open shakespeare is provide an open introduction for to his works. The obvious idea for this was to use the Shakespeare entry in the 11th ed of the Encyclopaedia Britannica as detailed in this ticket: We’ve now written code to grab the relevant tiffs off […]

Open Education License Draft

Yesterday Dr. David Wiley of Open Content published the Open Education License Draft. Before the text of the draft itself he relates some of his thoughts and experiences relating to open licenses from a decade of promoting open content. Though wary of the proliferation and politics of open licenses, he suggests that there is a […]

We need an Open Service Definition

There’s a buzz at GUADEC, an open source computer desktop conference in Birmingham right now, about the idea of the Online Desktop. Increasingly we all use web services rather than local applications, and store our own personal knowledge in other people’s proprietary formats and software. GMail rather than Outlook, Flickr rather than iPhoto. Just as […]

The Comprehensive Knowledge Archive Network (CKAN) Launched Today

After a year of (off and on) development we are delighted today to announce the official launch of the Comprehensive Knowledge Archive Network (CKAN for short): CKAN is a registry of open knowledge packages and projects — be that a set of Shakespeare’s works, a global population density database, the voting records of MPs, […]

Guide to Open Data Licensing

Over the last month we’ve been working to produce a Guide to Open Data Licensing. As the name should make clear this is a guide to licensing data aimed particularly at those who want to make their data open. The guide is currently located on the wiki so that anyone can edit and update it: […]

Open Textbook Project Launched

Today we are pleased to announce the launch of Open Textbook, a place to list and keep track of news about textbooks that are open in accordance with the Open Knowledge Definition — i.e. free to use, reuse, and redistribute. We welcome participation in the project and if anyone has a textbook or notes they’d […]

AMEE: The Open CO2 Emissions Platform

One of the highpoints of XTech last week was the presentation of Gavin Starks about AMEE (Avoiding Mass Extinction Engine). AMEE is a “a platform for collaboration on Climate Change and Energy Efficiency”. It combines together a whole bunch of CO2 emissions data (including data from the UK government) with modelling code and assumptions to […]

Public understanding of the ‘public domain’

Last Tuesday 17th April i went to my first Own-It event – ‘Dead or Alive: Whose art work is up for grabs?’ – and was very happy to see a roomful of artists and creative types discussing the ins and outs of copyright law. I was however kinda surprised to hear their IP-expert solicitor use […]

New Version (v0.4) of Open Economics Released

This is the fourth release of the Open Economics project and the first that has been deemed ‘worthy’ of a full release announcement. The Open Economics project provides data storage and visualization for economics data as well as associated web services and assorted modelling code. The project home page is: while the open economics […]

v0.4 of Open Shakespeare Released

A new version of open shakespeare is out. Get it via the code page: Changelog Annotation of texts (js-based in browser) (ticket:20, ticket:21) ( Switch to unicode for internal string handling (resolves ticket:23: some texts breaking the viewer) Add functional tests for the web interface (ticket:11) Substantial improvements to speed of concordance (ticket:22) ( […]

v0.4 of Open Shakespeare Released

We’ve been doing more work on the Open Shakespeare project with the result that a new version (v0.4) is ready for release (full details including the Changelog can be found below). For those unfamiliar with the project, Open Shakespeare has two basic aims. First, to provide a simple but compelling open knowledge exemplar — and […]

Annotation is Working!

After another push over the last few days I’ve got the web annotation system for Open Shakespeare operational (we’ve been hacking on this on and off since back in December). To see the system in action visit: Quite a bit of effort has been made to decouple the annotation system from Open Shakespeare so […]

Some Statistics

We’ve been busy hacking away and as a result we now have some rough statistics: Composers whose works are out of copyright. Of the 1083 composers listed in the data kindly donated to us by Philip Harper we estimate that, as of January 1st 2007: Out of Copyright: 263 In Copyright: 762 Status Unknown: 58 […]

Is Citizendium Not Open?

Following a link from Peter Suber’s ever-valuable Open Access News I read Larry Sanger’s blog entry We aren’t Wikipedia (Citizendium blog, March 21, 2007) which lists the various ways in which Citizendium differs from Wikipedia. This made interesting reading but my eye was especially caught by these two items: To be confirmed: Our license disallows […]

Free Cultural Works Definition v1.0 Released

Having been working on the very similar Open Knowledge Defintion since Summer 2005 (with a v1.0 released in September last year) we were very interested when launched last May. Now after ten months of work they’ve released a stable, 1.0, version of what is now termed the “Free Cultural Works Definition”. Though having a […]

Open Knowledge Web Buttons: Get Them Now

Over the last couple of years we’ve done a lot of work to get a clear and clean definition of what open knowledge is in the form of the Open Knowledge Definition. This provides a core set of principles defining openness independent of any particular set of licenses similar to the way the open source […]

Porting Marginalia Annotation to Python

Adding annotation support to the texts in Open Shakespeare is the main item for the next 0.4 release. This is a rather large undertaking and the last 2 months has seen substantial work on the first stage in the form of porting Geof Glass’ marginalia into a standalone python package named annotater that can then […]

Open Data Discussion on SPARC List

I was recently involved in some interesting discussion with John Wilbanks on the SPARC open-data list and thought it worth excerpting some of this here. Email 1: Reply to a message from John Wilbanks Source: Hi all, chiming in here…just joined the list. The lack of international consensus on data makes use of CC […]

PD Burn receives BBC Phonograms data

The kindly people at BBC Archives have supplied our project with 1.8 gigs (over 1,000,000 items) of data, which includes, in particular, listing of antique recordings. The exact rights status of this data has yet to be determined, so unfortunately for now we can only analyze its contents. Before this analysis, we’ll need to decode […]

KForge 0.12 Released

After nearly six months of work we’ve released a new version of the KForge software. KForge/KnowledgeForge is one the OKF’s main activities with the KForge software being used to run the KnowledgeForge service. Two years after work first started on the project, KnowledgeForge is beginning to live up to the original vision, hosting, among other […]

Improvements to the Concordance

One of the main items scheduled for v0.4 of open shakespeare is improvements to the responsiveness of the concordance. Using the v0.3 codebase, using just the sonnets as test material, loading up the list of words for the concordance alone took around 24s on my laptop. This is because even with a single text there […]

Adding Web-Based Annotation Support

We intend to add annotation/commentarysupport to the open shakespeare web demo either in this release or next. As a first step we’ve been looking to see what (open-source) web-based annotation systems are already out there. Below is our list of what we’ve been able to find so far (if you know of more please post […]

Open Knowledge 1.0: London, Saturday 17th March 2007

~ For redistribution to all relevant blogs, lists, forums and individuals ~ Event home page: Event wiki page: What On Saturday the 17th March 2007 the first all-day Open Knowledge event is taking place at Limehouse Town Hall in London. Bringing together individuals and groups from across the open knowledge spectrum it will […]

Open Knowledge Forum on Civic Information (No. 2): Post-Event Information

Both those who attended the Open Knowledge Forum on Civic Information, as well as those who couldn’t, will be happy to know that the presentations of several of the speakers along with various additional material is now up on the forum’s home page: If you have material relevant to the forum you’d like hosted […]

Open Knowledge Forum on Civic Information: Tomorrow Night at UCL in London

As announced previously, in association with the UCL department of Computer Science, we’re running an Open Knowledge Forum on Civic Information tomorrow night at UCL in London. There’s still some space left in the Sir David Davies lecture theatre so it’s not too late to register. Speakers John Sheridan, Head of e-Services at the Office […]

Switch from Kid to Genshi for templating in the Web Interface

Today we made the switch from kid to genshi as our templating toolkit in the web interface. Kid has served us well but there are some issues with debugging and including input that can’t be guaranteed to be well-formed. Genshi, as a direct derivative of Kid, delivers very similar syntax but is both simpler and […]

Open Knowledge Forum on Civic Information No. 2

Organised by the Open Knowledge Foundation in association with the UCL faculty of Computer Science (Ian Brown) Web page: Speakers John Sheridan, Head of e-Services at the Office of Public Sector Information Heather Brooke of Your Right to Know Julian Todd of on “Other publicwhip-type projects I’d like to see and why” Richard […]

Does an ‘open’ scan of a shakespeare folio exist?

We’d really like to have some nice images of a shakespeare first folio (if possible from Hamlet) for use in the Open Shakespeare project. However all the scanned copies we’ve managed to find seem to be under full ‘all rights reserved’ copyright. For example there’s an online version from the Schoenberg Schoenberg Center for Electronic […]

v0.3 of Open Shakespeare Released

We’ve been doing quite a bit of work on the Open Shakespeare project (which we’ve mentioned before). Given that a brief search on the net turns up many sites about Shakespeare and lots of online copies of shakespeare’s texts you might be forgiven for asking why do we need another shakespeare project? In the new […]

Version 1.0 of the Open Knowledge Definition Released

The Open Knowledge Definition (OKD) provides an answer to the question: what is open knowledge? It puts forward, in a simple and clear manner, principles that define open knowledge and which open knowledge licenses should satisfy. After various improvements and lots of feedback over the last year to the initial draft, version 1.0 of the […]

Open Shakespeare v0.2

With a little bit of free time over the last couple of weeks I’ve managed to do some more work on open shakespeare. The new version (v0.2dev) is up and running on the site: (formerly NB: concordance only includes sonnets (this is not a necessary restriction but saved on concordance build time). Many […]

KForge 0.11 Released

The KForge/KnowledgeForge project is one the OKF’s core activities and the KForge software is being used to run both and the administrative backend for the main OKF site: The 0.11 release of KForge introduces a bunch of new features and bugfixes. Full details in this post on the KForge project site.

Public Domain Works Database Project

The Open Knowledge Foundation have been working on a Public Domain Works Database in association with with Free Culture UK (as part of FC-UK’s larger Public Domain Burn project). There is now a front-end site up (as of last weekend!) at: Summary: “The Public Domain Works DB is an [WWW] open registry of artistic […]

Alpha Site Up

As of last weekend there is a alpha version of the registry up at: If all went well Tom Chance demoed this at the iCommons summit in Rio de Janeiro. The database system and its interface is in alpha stage and the site is a prototype designed for testing purposes. In particular: This site […]

Composer Data

Many moons ago I came across: Which has lots of data on authors, books and composers (the guy seems to be transcribing a large amount of the US copyright register by hand!). In the light of our work on the db I wrote to the owner of the site at the start of May […]

Open Shakespeare

There are already very impressive examples of open knowledge in the form of projects such as wikipedia, publicwhip, the world-wide molecular matrix etc. However it would be nice to have something a little simpler, some sort of ‘hello world’ type open knowledge project, which would illustrate what we mean by open knowledge and why it […]

The Four Principles of (Open) Knowledge Development

[Further discussion and elucidation of the ideas in this piece can be found in the follow-up: What Do We Mean by Componentization (for Knowledge)?] Introduction Open knowledge means porting much more of the open source stack than just the idea of open licensing. It is about porting many of the processes and tools that attach […]