Linked data has been a topic of discussion at successive Open Data Camps. So at Open Data Camp 4 in Cardiff, Jen Williams of Networked Planet whipped through the basics.
“When people talk about linked data they are talking about putting it into a statement,” she said. “So in a normal spreadsheet, you have a lot of columns… with linked data you start with an identifier and then go to the column header, the ‘known as’, and then you go to the value. Continue reading Learning to love Linked Data
After a quick sandwich lunch, people attending the Open Data Camp in Cardiff were challenged to a debate. Is a single point of access, aka a portal, the best way to open up access to data sources?
Speaking for the debate was Giuseppe Sollazzo, who co-authored a report on the NHS and open data. “One of the things we have discovered is that there is a recommendation for a single point of access. I am not necessarily a fan of a portal, but at this point we have no other option. Continue reading Do we need portals for open data?
“Open data is for government. Open data is for activists. Data science is more serious.”
This is a fake dichotomy, and we need to deal with it. There’s no point in having open data if you can’t analyse it. We all want to get answers to people. And we need to connect the skills better. There’s no good delivering the best analysis in the world if it arrives two days after the decision was made.
Data science has to prove that we can deliver timely analysis based on open data that impacts on decision making.
Continue reading What can open data and data science bring to government?
If open data providers are concerned about how often their data is used, that opens the door to user research. But are they more interested in finding our what else people could do with the data? That’s a much harder task. The user research questions could easily bias the data.
Could it spiral out of control, as the definition of “user” grows too wide?
There’s a fundamental challenge around user research for open data: what would you do if you knew? also, many open data users are highly technical – is that something that makes it harder to run user research, if you’re not yourself technical?
Continue reading Can user research open up open data?
What are the best ways to engage with open data users?
DEFRA did a Bristol user group meeting – and most of the people who turned up weren’t actually using it. They were interested, so they were only potential users. The link came through ODI Bristol, and marketing on Twitter and Eventbrite. How do you find those people otherwise? Getting in the room with people is so important.
Continue reading Engaging with open data users
Is just repackaging and selling open data viable? Or should businesses be more sophisticated, aggregating and adding valuable insights to the data?
Some data sets are switching from OGL to restricted licences – like the ratings list. That has stopped some uncomfortable commercial uses – but killed some academic uses as well. The OS polygon data has been problematic because the co-ordinates can’t be republished. That’s been tightened up in a way that makes them completely useful commercially, because of wording that encapsulates all “benefitting” from the data.
Continue reading Are Open Data businesses viable?
What is open data?
There are loads of examples of open data. It can come in loads of formats. It’s data that’s open and free in accessible formats, that is machine readable. It can be any format – like a jpeg or a PDF, but that latter has become a joke in the community. PDFs are hard to get the data out of in a usable format. It’s great for people but a bit rubbish for computers.
Open data also has a licence, which makes it open. Everything else is just the icing on the cake. OGL or creative commons are common examples.
Continue reading Open Data: the basics for newbies
Wales. Cardiff. The Pierhead. 10.30 on a Saturday morning. It must be Open Data Camp. It must be time for… The Pitches!
(If you’re not familiar with unconferences, this is were attendees suggest the sessions they’d run, and the rest votes…)
Continue reading Open Data Camp 4: The Pitches