All Posts

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 […]

Read more

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 […]

Read more

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) […]

Read more

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 […]

Read more

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 […]

Read more

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 […]

Read more

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 […]

Read more

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 […]

Read more

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 […]

Read more

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 […]

Read more

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 […]

Read more

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 […]

Read more

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 […]

Read more

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 […]

Read more

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 […]

Read more

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 […]

Read more

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 […]

Read more

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 […]

Read more

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 […]

Read more

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 […]

Read more

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 […]

Read more

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 […]

Read more

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 […]

Read more

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 […]

Read more

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 […]

Read more

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 […]

Read more

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 […]

Read more

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 […]

Read more

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.

Read more

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 […]

Read more

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 […]

Read more

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 […]

Read more

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 […]

Read more

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 […]

Read more

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 — […]

Read more

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 […]

Read more

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 […]

Read more

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 […]

Read more

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 […]

Read more

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 […]

Read more

Removing the nc: why license restrictions on commercial use are problematic and (frequently) unnecessary

I was very interested to hear about the Deptford.tv project from Adnan Hadzi when he spoke about it at the Free Culture UK meetup. However given Deptford.tv’s focus on remix and reuse I was surprised to see that they use a by-nc-sa (Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike) licence which explicitly prohibits commercial usage (and therefore incompatible with the GPL-type […]

Read more

A Sighting of the Database Right

Given my interest in metadata for cultural works when I cam across a copy of Who Wrote What?: A Dictionary of Writers and Their Works (ed. Michael Cox) [OUP 2001] in a secondhand bookshop I was immediately interested. After a quick browse of the data presented I took a look at the ‘restrictions’ information inside […]

Read more

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 […]

Read more

Distributing Data Revisited

A while back there was a thread on okfn-discuss about distributing large amounts of data. So i was interested to run across an article on freshmeat about The Problem With Mirrors. The article itself wasn’t so great but I found the comments informative and noticed that they tended towards a bittorrent type solution that had […]

Read more

KForge 0.10 Released

The KForge/KnowledgeForge project is one the OKF’s core activities at present. The KForge software (now with its own site!) has been usable for about six months and stable enough for production use on http://www.knowledgeforge.net/ since the 0.9 release back in December/January. The new 0.10 release of KForge provides a whole bunch of improvements and takes […]

Read more

In Brussels for Committee Vote on the INSPIRE Directive

By fortuitous coincidence I was in Brussels earlier this week in the run-up to the ENVI committee vote on the INSPIRE directive. The OKF has been actively supporting the Public Geodata campaign and finding myself with some time spare this seemed to a perfect opportunity to do some last minute contacting of MEPs as well […]

Read more

Free Culture UK Meetup

Free Culture UK are having a meetup in London on Saturday the 8th of April. Anyone’s welcome and it should be a fun day so if your saturday’s free why not come along. I’ll definitely be heading down and am looking forward to some joint hacking on the the public domain project that we’ve been […]

Read more

Public Geospatial Data and the OSGeo Foundation

I admit that I vacillated for a while over being nominated to the board of the Open Source Geospatial Foundation. The idea clicked for me when I realised that I would want to put at least as much time into the Public Geospatial Data Project there as into a board membership role; and the PGDP’s […]

Read more

Access to Knowledge Conference at Yale, April 21-23rd

There seems to be a nexus of academic open knowledge efforts at Yale University. I just heard about a big Access to Knowledge conference that is happening there next month, on the 21st-23rd April. The first goal of the Yale A2K Initiative is to come up with a new analytic framework for analysing the possibly […]

Read more

Open Letter from Public Geodata

An Open Letter regarding the INSPIRE Directive to Members of the ENVI Committee in the European Parliament was published by Public Geodata yesterday. OKFN has been providing support resources to Public Geodata as part of the Open Geodata awareness raising effort, and Rufus has been doing a fantastic job of sanitising our rhetoric for official […]

Read more