Openness as Strategy: Leading Open Knowledge Communities

The following is a guest blog post from Prof. Philipp Mueller about his talk on Openness as Strategy at the Open Knowledge Conference, June, 30th & July 1st 2011 in Berlin. We live in a world where information and communication technologies have confronted us with new logics of collective action that allow new forms of […]

Opening up data on the European parliament

The following guest post is from Niels Erik Kaaber Rasmussen, Founder of ItsYourParliament.eu and member of the OKF’s Working Groups on EU Open Data and Open Government Data. Most people are unaware that the political parties they know from their national parliaments behave differently in an European context. Two Danish parties for example belong to […]

One week left for early bird tickets for OKCon

There is only one week left to get early bird tickets for OKCon, so please hurry if you want to make use of this offer! Early bird applications will close on June 1st. OKCon 2011 in Berlin will include keynotes, panel discussions and workshops on topics ranging from open data’s role in democracy and culture, […]

OKCon 2011: Travel Bursaries & Early Bird Tickets Available

OKCon 2011 is now just over one month away. Registration is ongoing at so you can still book your tickets online here. Early bird prices will be available until 1st June 2011 only, so book early! The official deadline for submissions has passed (but if you’ve missed it – please contact us and we will […]

As coder is for code, X is for data

For code we have the term coder, as in, “he’s a great coder”, but what do we use when talking about data? datanaut, datar, data wrangler, data hacker, data geek …? Suggestions (and votes) please in a comment or tweet! (@okfn or @rufuspollock) Would also be nice to have equivalents for the many variations that […]

We Need Distributed Revision/Version Control for Data

In the open data community, we need tools for doing distributed revision/version control for data like the one’s that already exist for code. (Don’t know what I mean by revision control or distributed revision control? Read this) Distributed revision control systems for code, like mercurial and git, have had a massive impact on software development, […]

A Wikipedia of English law

Writing in Times Online in April 2006 the eminent Professor Richard Susskind, legal tech guru and adviser to the great and good, spelt out his vision for a “Wikipedia of English law”: This online resource could be established and maintained collectively by the legal profession; by practitioners, judges, academics and voluntary workers. If leaders in […]

Identi.ca and ur1.ca – two new open services!

Over the past few days Evan Prodromou of Wikitravel and Vinismo launched two new open services: ur1.ca and Identi.ca. Evan got in touch to make sure that both services were compliant with the draft Open Service Definition and we’re pleased to say that they are both fully open services! Ur1.ca is a neat little service […]

SPARC Europe Seal for Open Access Journals

SPARC Europe (Scholarly Publishing and Academic Resources Coalition) and the Directory of Open Access Journals (DOAJ) have just announced a new SPARC Europe Seal for Open Access Journals. In order for journals to be approved, they must use a Creative Commons Attribution license – which is compliant with the Open Knowledge Definition. It is great […]

Open Textbooks Statement to Make Textbooks Affordable

Make Textbooks Affordable, a campaign composed of Student Associations and Public Interest Research Groups from across the US, yesterday released a statement in support of open textbooks signed by 1000 academics. From the press release: Open textbooks are complete, reviewed textbooks written by academics that can be used online at no cost and printed for […]

Free Knowledge Institute is launched

Today the Free Knowledge Institute is officially launched in the Netherlands: The Free Knowledge Institute (FKI) is a non-profit organisation that fosters the free exchange of knowledge in all areas of society. Inspired by the Free Software movement, the FKI promotes freedom of use, modification, copying and distribution of knowledge in four different but highly […]

On data transport through payment networks

I recently ran across the Cruickshank Report, a review written in 2000 of the state of payment information systems in the UK, and enjoyed what it had to say about “money transmission” (Think ATM networks, point-of-sale networks in shops, credit card networks, as well as intra-bank schemes for larger sums.) A lot of value is […]

Eduserv study on open content licensing in cultural heritage sector published

Just a quick note to say that the study of usage of and attitudes towards open content licenses in cultural heritage organisations (which we blogged back in August) has now been published. The final report is available here. 107 organisations responded to the survey. The executive summary lists the following key findings: Only 4 respondents […]

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 […]

Libraries for Lesotho

Richard Wright, Archive Technology Manager at BBC Future Media & Technology, has asked us to mention his Libraries for Lesotho project which he is currently raising funds for. In summary: A million books for a thousand students – in Lesotho! Richard Wright, audiovisual archive technology manager at the BBC, is taking three months off to […]

Summer of Content launch

Tomorrow is the first day of the Northern Summer of Content 2007. The Summer of Content is an initiative of WikiEducator and the One Laptop Per Child project. Inspired by Google’s Summer of Code, the programme aims to match creators with mentors and stipends to “develop open content and run free culture events throughout the […]

The Nature of Information

“We are moving towards a world in which all information is software and all software is information.”

Striking confirmation from Google of the problems with ‘open’ APIs

As of December 5th 2006 Google stopped issuing API keys for their SOAP search API. They appear to want to move people to their ajax service which provides much less freedom for the client to process and manipulate the data (in fact it appears it is very hard to get at the data any more […]

A great day for the law and for the people

Today the Department for Constitutional Affairs’ long awaited Statute Law Database project has launched, free at point of use for anyone. It’s super. Last week, access to consolidated versions of the law of the UK wasn’t possible without paying lots of money. Now it is free. There are some down sides – 40 acts are […]

The Trans-Atlantic Slave Trade Database: Is It Going to be Made Open?

Over a four year period in the mid-1990s a team of scholars centred on the Du Bois institute at Harvard compiled a comprehensive database of transatlantic slave-trading voyages. Over 27,000 individual journeys were recorded for the period 1650-1867 covering more than 2/3 of all voyages that took place. The data includes extensive demographic (and mortality) […]

UK National Statistics: Are They Open or Not?

I’ve used data a couple of times from the UK’s national statistics site: The other day I went there to investigate their licensing as part of an effort to do a simple survey of the openness of various UK government agency’s data. To summarize their copyright statement (full details are in 1): National statistics are […]

Open Knowledge Drives Out Closed (in the Long Run)

After Gresham’s Bad money drives out good though with opposite sense. Open knowledge here is taken as given by the open knowledge definition and, in its essentials, means the knoweldge (data/content/…) must be freely accessible, reusable and redistributable. Closed by contrast means knowledge for which access and reuse are restricted in some manner, for example […]

Free access to the laws that bind us?

In many countries, such as the United States, laws are published as open data, which anybody can copy and reproduce. In the United Kingdom, only the changes to the law (patches, in computer science terms) are published freely. You can find them on the Office of Public Sector Information (OPSI) website. They are known as […]

Removing the nc (contd)

Following my recent post about the problems of restrictions on commercial usage as found in Creative Commons ‘nc’ licenses there was a spirited debate on the mailing list. Tom Chance made the important point that for many in existing artistic communities the ‘NC’ restriction represents some kind of ‘ideal social contract’. Below I include the […]

Free Culture UK Meetup Report

I attended the Free Culture UK meetup which took place yesterday at Limehouse town hall in London. There were many familiar faces along with several unfamiliar ones including John Buckman. I thought it was a great day: I learnt lots and enjoyed plenty of interesting, and provocative, discussions (at least one of which will find […]

Open version of the OED

Jo pointed me at this recent email about progress by Kragen Sitaker on scanning the first edition of the OED (from looking at the front pages it looks like this copy has come from Harvard University library). Currently he’s up to volume 6 (L,M,N) and has also produced a nice web interface to let you […]