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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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The re:transmission of video data

I dropped in for the last session of Re:Transmission event in London, on video metadata. This was a gathering for the Transmission network of independent video producers and distributors that is trying to move into standards-based, peer-based online distribution. This involves an effort to establish a simple common standard for video metadata distribution, right now […]

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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 […]

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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 […]

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Peter Suber and Benjamin Mako Hill Join the Open Knowledge Foundation’s Advisory Board

The Open Knowledge Foundation is delighted to announce that Peter Suber and Benjamin Mako Hill have agreed to join the Foundation’s Advisory Board. Professor Suber is a Research Professor of Philosophy at Earlham College, Senior Researcher at the Scholarly Publishing and Academic Resources Coalition (SPARC), and the Open Access Project Director at Public Knowledge. One […]

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Parliamentary data, in a can

Public Whip and TheyWorkForYou have been around for a few years now, grabbing data from the UK Parliament website and making it more useful, and accessible with better navigation, search and email alerts. It’s little known, but we also make all that open data available in a separate screen scraping project called parlparse. Rufus first […]

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British Academy Report: Copyright and research in the humanities and social sciences

The British Academy has just published its report on Copyright and research in the humanities and social sciences. They find a variety of problems (detailed below) and also provide an extensive set of recommendations (see the executive summary): The findings of the Review Copyright law generally provides exemptions for fair dealing for private study and […]

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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 […]

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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 […]

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Open APIs Don’t Equal Open Knowledge

Kragen Sitaker recently posted an essay about the equivalent of free software for online services. Kragen is always interesting and this is no exception. He points out that the movement to use online services rather than local applications greatly increases the possibility for vendor lock-in. This is Microsoft Office on steroids and I’d guesstimate that […]

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Collaborative and public geodata

Chris Holmes’ words on “Why isn’t collaborative geodata a big deal already” got me thinking about how some properties of the world can be observed – like street shapes and names – others can’t, but have to be transmitted – like postal codes and administrative boundaries. A GPS unit and a lot of goodwill will […]

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Dead knowledge: why being explicit about openness matters

When I think of the amount of knowledge that is ‘dead’ because of a lack of explicitness about its ‘openness’ I am always surprised by the number of examples. Consider the following two: Example 1: Everything2 and h2g2 Years ago, back when I was at university I remember stumbling across <http://www.everything2.com/>. Shortly thereafter I remember […]

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Why open geodata in an open source software foundation?

I was lucky enough to be able to attend the pre-OSCON meeting of FLOSS Foundations – a group of people too-intimately involved in the management of free and open source software foundations – representing OSGeo. I gave a short talk on the subject of why a free and open source software foundation finds itself engaging […]

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DfT Workshop to Discuss Data Mashup Lab: Summary

These are some highly impressionistic notes taken at a workshop on a cross-gov data mashing lab which took place today at the Royal Society in London organized under the aegis of the Department of Transports[1]. The purpose of the lab would be to develop tools and demonstration projects which would illustrate the possibilities of data […]

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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: http://openshakespeare.org/ (formerly http://demo.openshakespeare.org/). NB: concordance only includes sonnets (this is not a necessary restriction but saved on concordance build time). Many […]

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The Value of the Public Domain Published

As advertised in a previous post my paper entitled The Value of the Public Domain was published today by the IPPR as a part of a set commissioned for their project on IP and the Public Sphere. You can download the paper from the IPPR website in pdf form via this link: http://www.ippr.org/ecomm/files/value_of_public_domain.pdf It is […]

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