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Google vs Facebook

Facebook has striken fear not only into the hearts of incumbent dot-com billionaires, but also into the hearts of open data freaks. It’s terrifying me – not least, because I use it. I give the most personal, sensitive information that I have to a private US corporation. I have no way of getting the data […]

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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 […]

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AMEE – an exemplary open service

The people behind AMEE, the ‘world’s energy meter’ (which we blogged about back in May), have been busy forging ahead into new areas of open service development. As well as ensuring AMEE conforms to the draft Open Service Definition (in short, open data plus open software) they’ve recently published a Memorandum of Understanding with terms […]

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Open Database License

Jordan Hatcher (Open Content Lawyer) and Dr. Charlotte Waelde (University of Edinburgh) have just published the first draft of the Open Data Commons, or the Open Database License. The new license was inspired by the Talis Community License (a draft open license for data from 2006) and its development has been sponsored by Talis. The […]

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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 setup.py 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 […]

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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: http://knowledgeforge.net/shakespeare/svn/trunk/shksprdata/ancillary/britannica-11th.txt 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 […]

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Talk at Law 2.0: Openness, Web 2.0 and the Ethic of Sharing

Yesterday I was at the SCL’s “Law 2.0? : New Speech, New Property, New Identity” talking on Openness, Web 2.0 and the Ethic of Sharing. The full text of my talk is inline below, there are companion slides up online (more graphics!) and for those who like source here a link to the markdown original. […]

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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 […]

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DBpedia 2.0

DBpedia recently released the new version of their dataset. The project aims to extract structured information from Wikipedia so that this can be queried like a database. On their blog they say: The renewed DBpedia dataset describes 1,950,000 “things”, including at least 80,000 persons, 70,000 places, 35,000 music albums, 12,000 films. It contains 657,000 links […]

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Articles in CTWatch Quarterly

As some of you many have seen, Open Knowledge Foundation advisory board members Peter Suber and John Wilbanks recently wrote two interesting articles in CTWatch Quarterly. Peter Suber’s Trends Favoring Open Access is a broad-ranging overview of developments in publishing, research, and technology that look to support Open Access. As well as looking at how […]

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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 […]

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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 […]

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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 […]

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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 […]

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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: http://p.knowledgeforge.net/shakespeare/trac/ticket/24 We’ve now written code to grab the relevant tiffs off […]

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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 […]

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The Open Library and Versioned Data

The Internet Archive has recently launched a beta version of The Open Library. A demo can be found here and the Open Library book can be read here. It is inspired by the idea of a “library that makes all the published works of humankind available to everyone in the world”. Initially it will consist […]

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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 […]

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‘Voyages into publisher copyright’

Peter Murray-Rust of the Unilever Centre for Molecular Informatics, Cambridge, has recently been looking into the licensing practices and access policies of publishers of science journals. He has particularly focused on the publishers of chemistry journals who say they endorse Open Access publishing, or what has come to be known as ‘Open Choice’ publishing, whereby […]

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Open Knowledge Foundation Newsletter No. 2

Welcome to the second Open Knowledge Foundation newsletter. Scroll below for information about: Comprehensive Knowledge Archive Network (CKAN) Guide to Open Data Licensing Open Text Book iCommons 2007 COMPREHENSIVE KNOWLEDGE ARCHIVE NETWORK (CKAN) Last week we launched the Comprehensive Knowledge Archive Network (CKAN for short) which you can find at: http://www.ckan.net/ CKAN is a registry […]

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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): http://www.ckan.net/. 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, […]

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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: […]

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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 […]

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Open Knowledge Foundation Annual Report 2006-2007

Today we published our 2006-2007 annual report that details some of what we have been up to over the last year. The following is taken from the introduction to that report. Introduction In May this year the Open Knowledge Foundation celebrated its third birthday. Much has changed in that time and the last year is […]

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iCommons 2007: Retrospective Reflections

The iCommons conference in Dubrovnik, where I’ve been for the last few days, finished yesterday. This has been a great event (a big well done to Heather Ford and all the other organizers) and I’ve had the chance to talk to a very large number of interesting people — renewing old acquaintances and making new […]

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Giving us our own information

Yesterday, the UK’s Cabinet Office published an important new review of Public Sector Information. It’s a fat document to read through, but it oozes with ideas and stories (many no doubt from readers of this blog) about the importance of open data. The obvious question is, what will the Government do with it at all […]

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Euro Directive on Re-Use of Public Sector Information: What Is Actually Happening at the Local Level?

John Gray has recently been conducting some rather interesting research on the degree of re-use actually being achieved at local government level in the UK pursuant to the Euro Directive on the Re-Use of Public Sector Information (Statutory Instrument SI 2005/1515) which came into force in July 2005. The aim of the directive was to […]

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Open Knowledge Foundation Newsletter No. 1

Welcome to the first Open Knowledge Foundation newsletter. Following is a glimpse of what we’ve been up to in recent months. OPEN KNOWLEDGE 1.0 Open Knowledge 1.0 took place on Saturday 17th March at Limehouse Town Hall in London. Over 70 people came to hear the panels and participate in the open space. There were […]

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Announcing CC-Salon London: June 28th

Creative Commons, the Open Rights Group and Free Culture UK are pleased to announce the first London CC-Salon event, to be held in Shoreditch on Thursday 28th June 2007. The CC Salon is a monthly event focused on building a community of artists and developers around Creative Commons licenses, standards, and technology, and have been […]

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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 […]

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XTech 2007

Last week I was at the XTech conf along with Jo Walsh in order to present in the Open Data track. We built on our recent discussion to argue for the fundamental importance of componentization in developing the Open Data/Knowledge ecosystem — you can find the slides of our talk (entitled Open Data and Componentization) […]

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What Do We Mean by Componentization (for Knowledge)?

Background Nearly a year ago I wrote a short essay entitled The Four Principles of (Open) Knowledge Development in which I proposed that the four key features features of a successful (open) knowledge development process were that it was: Incremental Decentralized Collaborative Componentized As I emphasized at the time the most important feature — and […]

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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 […]

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How to Develop Geodata Domain Models

Jo Walsh (who’s also a member of the Open Knowledge Foundation) has written a great post over on the mappinghacks blog about the development a new data model for OpenStreetMap. Though focused on the issue of modelling geodata the points she raises, particularly in relation to ‘Audit’ functionality (change tracking, versioning etc), are applicable to […]

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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: http://www.okfn.org/econ/ while the open economics […]

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v0.4 of Open Shakespeare Released

A new version of open shakespeare is out. Get it via the code page: http://www.openshakespeare.org/code/ Changelog Annotation of texts (js-based in browser) (ticket:20, ticket:21) (http://www.openshakespeare.org/2007/04/10/annotation-is-working/) 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) (http://www.openshakespeare.org/2007/01/03/improvements-to-the-concordance/) […]

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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 […]

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PlanningAlerts.com — Opening up UK Planning Application Data

Back at the Civic Info forum in November Richard Pope presented his initial work on scraping planning application data from local council websites. This was a classic case where the original providers of the data did not make it available in an open form that was easy to use and reuse (it was often just […]

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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: http://demo.openshakespeare.org/view?name=phoenix_and_the_turtle_gut&format=annotate Quite a bit of effort has been made to decouple the annotation system from Open Shakespeare so […]

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Presentation at Edinburgh Conference on Copyright and Research in the Humanities and Social Sciences

As posted about previously, last Friday I was in Edinburgh to attend the AHRB/British Academy Conference on Copyright and Research in the Humanities and the Social Sciences. I took part in the ‘Copyright Users’ panel and my presentation (in plain html), entitled The Need for More Openness, is now online. The event produced some really […]

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Copyright not applicable to geodata?

Over the last couple of weeks, I’ve heard new questions and opinions about open licensing of geographic information, coming from several different directions. Specifically: Local and regional authorities in Italy and in New Zealand among others, have been looking into whether it is appropriate to use a Creative Commons license for geodata. Richard Fairhurst of […]

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Copyright and Research in the Humanities and Social Sciences Conference

I’ll be speaking on the Copyright Users panel at the Copyright and Research in the Humanities and Social Sciences conference which takes place this Friday (30th March 2007) in Edinburgh. The event is being jointly organised by The British Academy and the AHRC Research Centre for Studies in Intellectual Property and Technology Law at the […]

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Response to OfCom’s Public Service Publisher Consultation

The Open Knowledge Foundation made a joint response in association with the [Open Rights Group](http://www.openrightsgroup.org and Free Culture UK) to OfCom’s Public Service Publisher consultation (officially titled: A new approach to public service content in the digital media age). The Response The founding of a Public Service Publisher (PSP) is an opportunity to make a […]

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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 […]

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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 […]

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Open Knowledge 1.0 Has Happened

Open Knowledge 1.0 took place last Saturday at Limehouse Town Hall in London. Over 70 people came to hear the panels and participate in the open space. Material (including speaker presentations) and related links from the event are being posted online at http://www.okfn.org/okcon/after/. We’ve had excellent feedback and in my opinion (though of course I […]

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The Nature of Information

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

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Storing and Visualizing Open Data: II

Back in June last year we posted about a demo site we’d put together to experiment with storing and visualizing open data. Recently several new sites have appeared doing web-based visualization, the most prominent of which are Many Eyes from IBM’s visualization research department and swivel. In both cases it appears that the code isn’t […]

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Open Knowledge 1.0 Nearly Here

Open Knowledge 1.0, which takes place on Saturday March the 17th at Limehouse Town Hall in London, is now just over a week away. While there are still some places left we are nearing capacity so, if you would like to come, we advise you to register as soon as possible via: http://www.okfn.org/okcon/register/ Open Knowledge […]

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Berlin Open Access Conference No. 5: From Practice to Impact: Consequences on Knowledge Dissemination

The next Open Access conference in the Berlin Declaration follow-up series (the 5th) will take place September 19 – 21, 2007 at the University of Padua. The preliminary programme includes: … c) Open Access and the e-science: how to support the free circulation of scientific raw data to facilitate cooperation and effective reuse; d) e-publishing: […]

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