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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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8.4 Million Grant to University of Manchester to Expand Semi-Open Data Repository

According to a press release yesterday the University of Manchester received a further 8.4 Million GBP of funding from the ESRC to continue and expand its MIMAS service which provides students and researchers with free access to social science data: The billions of data items managed by the School of Social Sciences and Manchester Information […]

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Collaborative Development of Data

$ This version: 2007-02-15 (First version 2006-05-24) $ We already have some fairly good working processes for collaborative development of unstructured text: the two most prominent examples being source code of computer programs and wikis for general purpose content (encyclopedias etc). However these tools perform poorly (or not at all) when we come to structured […]

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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 http://freedomdefined.org/ 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 […]

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Open Context Officially Launched

The Open Context project, “a free, open access resource for the electronic publication of primary field research from archaeology and related disciplines”, was officially launched back on January the 29th: In April 2006, we proudly launched the Beta version of Open Context, our new open access publication system that enables researchers to distribute their primary […]

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Copyright and the Digital Age

I authored the following short essay for publication in a pamphlet produced by the RSA entitled Promoting innovation and rewarding creativity: A balanced intellectual property framework for the digital age. The pamphlet was published at the beginning of January and along with my piece included items by Matthew Taylor (Chief Executive of the RSA), Lynne […]

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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 […]

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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 […]

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Zoetropes and Nickelodeons: A response to OFCOM’s ‘Public Service Publisher’ proposal

At Rufus Pollock of the Open Knowledge Foundation’s command (‘It’s your civic duty!’) I decided to accept an invitation to the riverside HQ of OFCOM, the UK’s independent regulatory body for television, radio, telcoms and wireless, to participate in a discussion about what the UK’s putative ‘Public Service Publisher’ (PSP) should be. It seems that […]

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An Open Search Service: Regulating Search the Open Way

The inspiration for writing this, as well as much of the information contained herein, came from the search Roundtable which took place at the IDEI Toulouse ‘Conference on the Software and Internet Industries’ on January 20th 2007. An earlier version of this essay as well as notes from the Roundtable can be found in this […]

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Thinking about Annotation

Annotation means the adding of comments/notes/etc to an underlying resource. For the present I’ll focus on the situation where the underlying resource is textual (as opposed to being an image, or a piece of film or some data). Various things to consider when implementing an annotation/comment system: Addressing and atomisation: Are annotations specific to particular […]

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Opening Up Ancient Geodata: The Barrington Atlas II

I’ve written previously about the Barrington Atlas of the Ancient World which took 12 years to produce (1988-2000). It’s a wonderful example of interdisciplinary collaboration using, as it did, the talents of a multitude of classical scholars as well as many cartographers. In that earlier post I pointed out that, unfortunately, none of the underlying […]

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Open Knowledge 1.0: Registration Now Open

Registration is now open for Open Knowledge 1.0 which takes place at Limehouse Town Hall in London on March 17th 2007. Space at the venue is limited so we encourage you to register. More information about the event available below. Open Knowledge 1.0 When: Saturday 17th March 2007, 11am until 6:30pm (Doors open at 1030) […]

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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: https://mx2.arl.org/Lists/SPARC-OpenData/Message/100.html Hi all, chiming in here…just joined the list. The lack of international consensus on data makes use of CC […]

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The Tragedy of the Enclosed Lands

Normally I don’t like to blog things solely in order to propagate them, adding no commentary. But The Tragedy of the Enclosed Lands is about the most lucid, personal and usefully social explanation of the consequences of the lack of open access to geodata in the UK, that I have ever read online. There are […]

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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 […]

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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 […]

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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 […]

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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 […]

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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 […]

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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 […]

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Office of Fair Trading report on the costs of knowledge monopolies

“The OFT’s market study into the commercial use of public information has found that more competition in public sector information could benefit the UK economy by around £1billion a year.” Summary and full report here.

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Open Knowledge 1.0: London, Saturday 17th March 2007

~ For redistribution to all relevant blogs, lists, forums and individuals ~ Event home page: http://www.okfn.org/okcon/ Event wiki page: http://okfn.org/wiki/okcon/ 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 […]

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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: http://www.okfn.org/okforums/civicinfo2/ If you have material relevant to the forum you’d like hosted […]

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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) […]

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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 […]

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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 […]

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INSPIRE: Where Next?

The OKF has been very actively involved in the publicgeodata’s campaign on the INSPIRE directive. Now that it appears compromise between all of the parties — the European Commission, Council and Parliament — has been reached it is natural to ask ourselves both: Where next? and How did we do? Where Next The immediate point […]

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Future of Copyright Roundtable at Birkbeck

On the 19th and 20th of last month I attended a roundtable organised by the AHRC Copyright Research Network and the Public Programmes Department of Tate Modern under the grand title “Future of Copyright and the Regulation of Creative Practice”. Of the approximately 20 participants there was a fairly even mix of artists, academics and […]

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Response to WIPO Consultation on Performing Impact Assessments for IP in the Creative Industries

Below is the response that was submitted by the OKF to a WIPO consultation on the Economic, Social and Cultural Impact of Intellectual Property in the Creative Industries back in September. Despite its extremely broad mandate the main part of the consultation was about a more limited, methodological issue, namely how to do impact assessments […]

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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 […]

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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 […]

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Mashing up is hard to do

Mashups, what. Two or more data sources or works combined to become a new data source or work. A media cultural term (cf Steinski) now applied to web applications; comparable to the tradition of data overlay in cartography and analysis mapping. Mashup is also a curious marketing phenomenon. Interoperability, what. The exchange and reuse of […]

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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: http://www.okfn.org/okforums/civicinfo2/ Speakers John Sheridan, Head of e-Services at the Office of Public Sector Information Heather Brooke of Your Right to Know Julian Todd of http://www.publicwhip.org/ on “Other publicwhip-type projects I’d like to see and why” Richard […]

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