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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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IPPR ‘IP and the Public Sphere’ Seminar

On the 14th the IPPR Digital Society and Media team will be publishing a collection of papers as part of their project on intellectual property (IP) and the public sphere. I contributed one of these papers entitled The Value of the Public Domain and will be speaking at the publication event on the 14th of […]

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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 http://www.knowledgeforge.net/ and the administrative backend for the main OKF site: http://admin.okfn.org/. The 0.11 release of KForge introduces a bunch of new features and bugfixes. Full details in this post on the KForge project site.

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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: http://www.publicdomainworks.net/ Summary: “The Public Domain Works DB is an [WWW] open registry of artistic […]

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Alpha Site Up

As of last weekend there is a alpha version of the registry up at: http://alpha.publicdomainworks.net/ 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 […]

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The Barrington Atlas of the Greek and Roman World

It took 12 years to produce (1988-2000) and cost 4.5 million dollars (according to its editor Richard Talbert). It has a whole page dedicated to listing donors and supporters of the project. It recruited seventy-three compilers, with ten regional editors with ninety-five reviewers and twenty-two cartographers. It is 148 pp. long and with companion gazetteer […]

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Talk at IIC Telecommunications and Media Forum

Two weeks ago I was at the Telecommunications and Media Forum run by the International Institute of Communications in Brussels. The bulk of the panels were concerned with telecommunications issues but I was speaking in their IP session entitled: Striking a Balance in Copyright and Digital Rights: How Can Rights be Protected without Restricting Consumer […]

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IIC Telecommunications and Media Forum: Spectrum Policy

One of the good things about going to the IIC forum (see next post for details) was the opportunity to hear the debate on the other, more ‘telcoish’ panels which were extremely interesting — especially those that dealt with spectrum (albeit because it’s an area I don’t know that much about). Listening to the debate […]

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Storing and Visualizing Open Data

The basic purpose of the Open Knowledge Foundation is to ‘promote open knowledge’. In particular we want to: Get data out there — that’s why we’re developing KnowledgeForge Make sure that data is open data (i.e. is properly licensed) — that’s why we’re developing open knowledge definition Make sure that data can be found — […]

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Composer Data

Many moons ago I came across: http://www.kingkong.demon.co.uk/ 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 […]

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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 […]

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Knowledge Packaging (for Content)

Late in the afternoon at the Free Culture UK meetup back in April there was a discussion of the analogy between code and content in relation to open production models. This came up as an aside to the main discussion but it raised some very interesting points directly related to my ongoing consideration of the […]

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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 […]

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