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Re: White House Roundtable on Open Data

From: Mark Harrison <mark.harrison@gs1.org>
Date: Tue, 24 Jun 2014 10:43:25 +0000
To: Steven Adler <adler1@us.ibm.com>
CC: Phil Archer <phila@w3.org>, public-dwbp-wg <public-dwbp-wg@w3.org>
Message-ID: <69F8AB50-7AC2-43E5-9FA1-817B75EB60B6@gs1.org>
Hi Steve,

Re-reading the points in your e-mail, a few things occurred to me:

1 & 2) I think your first two points are both related to data provenance and also the importance of expressing assumptions and explicit reference units (i.e. value per what?) in calculations.  Maybe we (DWBP) need to highlight some real existing examples of best practice use of W3C Provenance and provide a commentary about why/how that is considered best practice.  Guidelines can be very worthwhile, but sometimes complementing these with a few real-life existing best practice examples accompanied by a commentary can help people to get their data into better shape, if they have an annotated 'role model' example of what we think it should look like.  It can make it much easier for people to understand the guidelines if they see concrete examples.

3) Regarding visualisations, there are some very nice examples of visualisation mash-ups at http://publicdata.eu/ , some of which also include details about the source datasets and the frameworks that were used.  We should definitely encourage this - and encourage people to provide this kind of information to help others.  In a couple of talks I've given about Linked Open Data, I've shown some of these visualisations to explain what is possible.  One particular favourite of mine is http://apps.seme4.com/see-uk/ , which not only provides a very nice visualisation of various local socio-economic data (e.g. school provision, crime figures) - but also details about the underlying datasets and how it was constructed [ http://apps.seme4.com/see-uk/about.html ].  I'm sure that there are some other good examples we can highlight, to explain the benefits of mashing up open data sets to help people understand the data and make more meaningful comparisons.

4) Regarding keeping data close to its source, that works but there needs to be co-ordination at a federal or ideally global level on the appropriate vocabularies and terms to be used, so that we can do meaningful comparisons across these datasets provided by local government.  At the W3C RDF Validation workshop last September in Boston, there was a paper along those lines (and Linked Data Profiles) by Paul Davidson (CIO Sedgemoor District Council, UK, Director of Standards for the UK Local eGovernment Standards Body (LeGSB) http://legsb.inetwork.org.uk ):  http://www.w3.org/2001/sw/wiki/images/1/11/RDFVal_Davidson.pdf	I'm sure that Paul can explain the idea better than I can - but from what I understood, if each council or state is publishing essentially the same types of data, then it's a good thing if they publish the same kind of data in the same way, making use of the same vocabulary terms.  Because many local councils and US states might not have experts in Linked Open Data, it's helpful to develop Linked Data Profiles, to serve as a kind of 'template' for publishing specific kinds of data, so that we don't require every local council or state to figure it out for themselves.  Again, some real before-and-after worked examples (from raw data to best practice published data aligned with appropriate vocabularies) will be very helpful for many users - and complementary to just publishing guidelines or recommendations.

5) Well done for pointing out that data collected / generated at taxpayer expense should be made available, without seeking to charge for it a second time!

Best wishes,

- Mark


On 24 Jun 2014, at 09:58, Steven Adler <adler1@us.ibm.com>

> 1. Will do. Please send the event details so I can put it in my calendar. 
> 2. Excellent. We need more cooperation between standards bodies and this is a terrific step forward. 
> Regards,
> Steve
> ----- Original Message -----
> From: Phil Archer [phila@w3.org]
> Sent: 06/23/2014 07:28 PM CET
> To: Steven Adler; IBM Open Data Group <IBM_Open_Data_Group%IBMUS@us.ibm.com>; public-dwbp-wg <public-dwbp-wg@w3.org>; "betanyc-ibm-smartercities@googlegroups.com&gt &lt" <betanyc-ibm-smartercities@googlegroups.com>
> Subject: Re: White House Roundtable on Open Data
> Forgive me Steve for only just now responding to this.
> First off, thank you for flying the W3C DWBP flag for us in this (self evidently) crucial forum. A couple of points that immediately come to mind:
> 1. Please be ready to talk about your model contracts event at the Share-PSI workshop in Lisbon, December 3-4th. I'm working on the CfP for that this week but the basics are as we've discussed - it's a workshop about encouraging more commercial use of public sector data and licensing is a key issue.
> 2. You highlighted GIS. I spent last week in a city I believe you'll know well, Aalborg (and I took a little time to go to Skagen too). That was with a geosaptial information systems crowd where, among other things, I was able to make more progress with the draft charter for the joint OGC/W3C Spatial data on the Web WG [1]. We need to dot the Is and cross the Ts on that yet but I'm hoping that the memberships of both standards bodies will be asked to formally approve the (by then finalised) charter next month.
> Spatial data comes up in open data a lot (we had more than a day discussing that crossover) so it's a timely discussion.
> Cheers for now
> Phil
> [1] http://www.w3.org/2014/05/geo-charter
> On 19/06/2014 16:34, Steven Adler wrote:
>> Yesterday, I participated in an excellent Open Data Roundtable/Workshop at
>> the White House Conference Center in Washington, DC.  The event was
>> organized by the NYU GovLab OpenData500 and sponsored by the US Commerce
>> Department and the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy.
>> We were welcomed by Mark Doms, Under Secretary of Commerce for Economic
>> Affairs who spoke about the importanance of Open Data is to the economic
>> growth of the United States.   At a time, when the IMF and the Federal
>> Reserve are forcasting low growth for several years, the US Government is
>> looking at Open Data as a vast untapped resource to drive innovation and
>> growth in the economy.  Commerce then presented Open Data plans from NOAA,
>> Census, the Bureau of Economic Affairs, and the US Patent Office.
>> We had breakout discussions on six topics and I participated in great
>> discussion on GIS data.  We were 9 at my table and we were each asked to
>> identify key issues for Commerce Open Data.
>> I laid out these issues:
>> 1.  Data Comparability Standards: Open Data is published without
>> describing how data is derived or calculated and that makes it difficult
>> to compare factors and figures from even within the same agency.
>> 2.  Data Governance Lineage:  The US Government should publish Open Data
>> with metadata that describes the governance process behind the publication
>> - where the data came from, how long the department had it, how it was
>> processed, who signed off on publication.
>> 3.  Display:  Open Data Catalogs are great for developers but the rest of
>> the nation finds reading catalogs boring.  The Government needs to provide
>> analytical tools that yield insights and make connections between
>> datasets.  People can relate to data stories, charts, graphs, and
>> visualization.
>> 4.  Data Sources and Aggregation:  Much Federal Data comes from state and
>> local repositories and is aggregated without source file metadata.  The
>> Census Bureau, for instance, collects housing starts data from
>> municipalities and aggregates that data to provide track-level reports for
>> GIS Maps.  What would be better is if every municipality published their
>> own housing starts data as Open Data and the Census Bureau provided URI
>> Data Links to that data, creating massively federated Linked Data
>> infrastructure that minimized errors and omissions by keeping all data at
>> source.
>> 5.  Private Public Partnerships... The government sees constrained budgets
>> for many years to come and is looking for new revenue models to offset the
>> costs of Open Data publishing.  There are many datasets that the
>> government could publish that would be highly valuable (like NOAA
>> hurricane forecasts) but are also expensive to publish and are outside
>> agency missions and goals.  The government was looking for private
>> enterprise to pay for this data.
>> I told the government we are already paying for it through taxes and they
>> should not seek revenue recognition for stimulating economic growth with
>> Open Data.  It is a national resource that Commerce should provide for
>> free to make American business more competitive.  Later I had a discussion
>> with the CTO's from NIST, NAO, and Census in which we agreed that Open
>> Data publishing would transform government IT by shifting investment from
>> a do-it-all strategy that includes infrastructure, data, and application
>> development to decreasing focus on applications and increasing focus on
>> just publishing the data and letting private enterprise develop
>> applications instead.
>> 6.  Model Contracts:  I discussed the issue of license term confusion with
>> White House Office of Science and Technology Policy and they are keen to
>> co-sponsor an event with us in the fall to focus nationwide attention on
>> the need for Model Contracts that make Open Data really "Open for
>> Business."
>> The day was closed out with some passionate speeches from Bruce Andrews,
>> Acting Deputy Secretary of Commerce, and Penny Pritzker, Secretary of
>> Commerce.  Bruce quoted Ginni in his comments, which was wonderful, and
>> Penny said that Open Data is a key initiative of the Obama Administration
>> and a centerpiece of her mission at the Commerce Department.
>> A lot of the comments during the day gave one the impression that the US
>> Government had just discovered that their data is an asset that could
>> generate economic value.  I asked the Under Secretary if Commerce would be
>> using its economists to calculate the economic value of their data, and he
>> answered that they would be providing a report on that topic over the
>> Summer.  I spoke to him about it later and he admitted that his economists
>> have never thought about this issue before and don't have any great
>> insights on how to calculate economic impact of data and that the goal of
>> the report is just to get them to research how to do it.
>> So this event was kind of a kickoff.  Commerce feels they have some
>> valuable data and they want to be seen as leaders within the government.
>> The Deputy Secretary told us that the President wants Open Data to be part
>> of his legacy - a program that should be so successful at generating
>> economic value for the nation that it MUST survive beyond his
>> administration.
>> Best Regards,
>> Steve
>> Motto: "Do First, Think, Do it Again"
> -- 
> Phil Archer
> W3C Data Activity Lead
> http://www.w3.org/2013/data/
> http://philarcher.org
> +44 (0)7887 767755
> @philarcher1

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Received on Tuesday, 24 June 2014 10:43:54 UTC

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