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Defining "Open" Data (was RE: no F2F3 in 2009 -- Re: Agenda, eGov IG Call, 11 Nov 2009)

From: Todd Vincent <todd.vincent@xmllegal.org>
Date: Thu, 12 Nov 2009 12:21:55 -0500
Message-ID: <61694BA0E9EA91449CB7ACCE04052D566D0DBF@exchange.xmllegal.com>
To: Niklas Lindström <lindstream@gmail.com>, "prof. dr. Tom M. van Engers" <vanengers@uva.nl>
Cc: <peter.krantz@gmail.com>, "david osimo" <david.osimo@gmail.com>, "Jose Manuel Alonso" <josema.alonso@fundacionctic.org>, "eGovIG IG" <public-egov-ig@w3.org>
This is an interesting topic.  I find that the term "Open" is used many, many different ways and often to the advantage of the person using the term.  Vendors will use the term "open" to promote the technology and data they sell.  Likewise, anti-vendors will use the word "open" to claim that a given technology or data is not sufficiently open, therefore, should not be used or is less worthy in some way.  The term "open" is overused and has lost much of its meaning over time as a result.  In the end, someone has to pay to make data available, which is generally why there is some cost recovery mechanism associated with end-use.  Nothing in this world is free and often people associate "open" with "free."

That said, I wonder whether a matrix of logical possibilities wouldn't be helpful, after which we might document and standardize descriptive names.  Here is a stab at it:

Unavailable: You simply cannot get the data.  Data is cost prohibitive to publish. There may be security or privacy reasons not to publish.  Or, simply, no one ever thought to publish the data.

Not Translated: Data is available, but exists in a different language than the end user's language.

Paper: Data is available, but it is only available on paper.

Free: Data is available at no cost and without restrictions.

Fee Based: Data is available, but only for a fee.
--- Public: Fee Based: Government provides data for a fee. 
--- Private: Fee Based: Private company provides data for a fee.

Copyright: Data is available (in some way) but there are copyright restrictions on republication or reuse.

Copyright with License: Data is available (in some way), there is a copyright, but also a license that allows some use (other than all rights reserved).

Public Domain: Data is available (in some way) and is in the public domain, so there are no restrictions on use of the data.

Electronic: Data is available electronically.

Electronic: Web Browser or Paper-Like Electronic Document Format: Data is available but only via a web browser or an electronic document format and not in an easily parsed format (where Images/Graphics, HTML, XHTML, PDF, Word, and Word Perfect do not count as easily parsed formats).

Electronic: Structured Format: Data is available electronically and in a structured format.  A structured format would include delimited text, spreadsheet, XML, and the like.

Electronic: Structured Format: Schema: Data is available electronically and in a structured format.  Additionally, there is a schema available that defines the structured format.

--- Government Schema: A government promulgates the schema. The schema may or may not be in the public domain.

--- Standards Body Schema: A recognized standards body promulgates the schema.  Schema is licensed under a "copyleft" (perpetual, free, but with restrictions not to modify) or similar license (typical of W3C, OASIS, but not all "recognized" standards bodies).

--- Private Schema:  A private company promulgates the schema.  The schema may or may not have licensing restrictions associated with it.

Electronic: Browser/Viewer: Electronic data, whether structured or not, is available only via a web browser or other viewer for viewing.

Electronic: Download: Electronic data, whether structured or not, is available to download.  Here, download means a "manual" download. Some manual user input must be done to download the data (e.g., downloading a spreadsheet or structured text file via an HTTP link or FTP) to the user's local machine.

Electronic: Web Service: Electronic data, typically structured, is available via a web service (meant in a generic way, not specific to a technology) for machine consumption.  There is some standard, specification, or documented publication rules, such that machines can reliably access the data on an ongoing basis.  The point here is not the format of the data, but the reliability and availability of the connection to the data, so that machines can get to the data feed without human intervention.

Each of these qualities makes the data more or less "open" or "accessible" as a practical matter.  There are  many combinations of these that one could put together.

Winchel "Todd" Vincent III
<xmlLegal> http://www.xmllegal.org/ 
Phone : 404.822.4668
Fax     : 770.216.1633
Email : Todd.Vincent@xmllegal.org
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-----Original Message-----
From: public-egov-ig-request@w3.org [mailto:public-egov-ig-request@w3.org] On Behalf Of Niklas Lindström
Sent: Thursday, November 12, 2009 11:23 AM
To: prof. dr. Tom M. van Engers
Cc: peter.krantz@gmail.com; david osimo; Jose Manuel Alonso; eGovIG IG
Subject: Re: no F2F3 in 2009 -- Re: Agenda, eGov IG Call, 11 Nov 2009


how about Open == Readable?

Not necessarily writable of course, nor republishable. But if data is
inaccessible until someone buys it (or "rents" it), can it sensibly be
called open?

The situation (at least in Sweden) is that lots of government/agency
data is totally unavailable until paid for. That is, if it at all
exists in some digital form. (And for that matter, is processable;
i.e. exists in an open format for which there are patent-free parser

Best regards,
Niklas Lindström

On Thu, Nov 12, 2009 at 3:57 PM, prof. dr. Tom M. van Engers
<vanengers@uva.nl> wrote:
> Open <> Free
> Prof.dr. Tom M. van Engers
> Professor in Legal Knowledge Management
> University of Amsterdam/Faculty of Law
> Leibniz Center for Law
> Kloveniersburgwal 48
> Postbus 1030
> 1000 BA Amsterdam
> +31 20 525 3494
> +31 20 525 2179 (fax)
> www.LeibnizCenter.org
> vanEngers@uva.nl
> -----Original Message-----
> From: Peter Krantz <peter.krantz@gmail.com>
> Sent: Thu, 12 Nov 2009 12:29:01 +0100
> To: david osimo <david.osimo@gmail.com>
> CC: Jose Manuel Alonso <josema.alonso@fundacionctic.org>, eGovIG IG <public-egov-ig@w3.org>
> Received:  Thu,  12 Nov 2009 03:29:01 -0800 (PST)
> Subject: Re: no F2F3 in 2009 -- Re: Agenda, eGov IG Call, 11 Nov 2009
> Hi!
> Open data is gaining a lot of interest in the EU right now. People are
> discovering that e-government services may have to be cerated by
> citizens as well and that a key enabler for this is access to open
> data (the other two being a laptop and programming knowledge).
> The current PSI directive (that member states should implement i
> national legislation) is rather vague and I hope to see a clerar
> definition of "open" data in a forthcoming version. Many agencies in
> Sweden provide data, but at a cost. You would have to pay USD 20K to
> get a basic digital map. This is why you don't see a FixMyStreet
> service here.
> Regards,
> Peter Krantz
> http://www.opengov.se/
> On Thu, Nov 12, 2009 at 10:37, david osimo <david.osimo@gmail.com> wrote:
>> Jose, all
>> I will be in Malmo and happy to debrief. It looks like open data will be a
>> key focus, not only in our Open Declaration but also in the official
>> statements.
>> The recent Visby conference on EU ICT policy gave good priority to open
>> data. Hans Rosling of Gapminder was keynote speaker.
>> http://www.se2009.eu/en/meetings_news/2009/11/9/visby_agenda_creating_impact_for_an_eunion_2015
>> The conclusions of the presidency (the most important document) state that
>> 10. EU member states and community institutions should seek to make data
>> freely accessible in open machine-readable formats, for the benefit of
>> entrepreneurship, research and transparency.
>> 11. Access to and reuse of public sector information and data should be
>> improved among EU Member States. The domains of data targeted by the
>> Directive on the re-use of public sector information should be enlarged.
>> Document attached
>> Best
>> david
>>> This is our e-government EU strategy, let's make it better! Please endorse
>>> the open EU declaration on public services
>>> 2.0 www.endorsetheopendeclaration.eu
>> david.osimo@gmail.com
>> skype, twitter: osimod
>> http://egov20.wordpress.com
>> mobile: +32-498088323
>> On 11 Nov 2009, at 13:10, Jose Manuel Alonso wrote:
>> Additionally, I should have mentioned that the plans to hold an event in
>> Brussels in Nov/Dec as the group's F2F3 have not been successful due to
>> workload on our end and on the European Commission's. Our ideas were
>> welcomed and we expect to retake conversation soon, likely after the EU
>> Ministerial in Malmö <http://www.egov2009.se/> next week. I expect to give a
>> more detailed update on the next call.
>> -- Jose
>> ps: among other things, I also had to cancel my trip to Malmö. If any of you
>> are able to attend, I hope you could debrief us on an upcoming group call..
>> El 10/11/2009, a las 9:34, Sheridan, John escribió:
>> Agenda, eGov IG Call, 11 Nov 2009
>> 13:00Z (9:00EST, 14:00GMT, 15:00CET)
>> ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
>> Chair: John
>> 1. Scribe
>> 2. Agenda adjustments and next meetings [2mins]
>> + next meeting [25 Nov 2009]
>> + next scribe
>> 3. Open Actions [10min]
>> 4. What's going on / coming up [30mins]
>> + TPAC 2009
>> + ISWC
>> + Open Knowledge Foundation event [13 Nov 2009, London]
>> + Jurix Conference
>> 5. Discussion: Government Linked Data, Techniques and Technologies [45mins]
>> + how does linked data support (non-RDF) data consumers?
>> + strategies for modelling government data
>> + essential metadata for Government Linked Open Data (eg VoiD)
>> + expressing rights and licensing information
>> + approaches to provenance, authority and trust
>> + using RDF for Statistical Data
>> Who can participate:
>> http://www.w3.org/2007/eGov/IG/participation
>> How to participate:
>> http://www.w3.org/2007/eGov/IG/wiki/Teleconferences
>> Notes,
>> On the last group call five areas were discussed, as being the main work
>> areas for the group over this year:
>> - Government Linked Data, Techniques and Technologies
>> - Government Linked Data, Strategies and Success Stories
>> - Best Practices for using Web Technologies to Deliver Government Services
>> - Best Practices for Long-Term Government Data Management Issues
>> - Best Practices in Government Use of Social Media
>> We agreed we would pick up on one each of these over the next set of group
>> calls. This call will be addressing the first of these topics, "Techniques
>> and Technologies for Government Linked Data".
>> Please don't print this e-mail unless you really need to.
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Received on Thursday, 12 November 2009 17:22:27 UTC

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