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

From: Daniel Dietrich <daniel@so36.net>
Date: Fri, 13 Nov 2009 14:26:51 +0100
Cc: Jonathan Gray <jonathan.gray@okfn.org>, eGovIG IG <public-egov-ig@w3.org>, "Emmanouil Batsis (Manos)" <manos@abiss.gr>, Todd Vincent <todd.vincent@xmllegal.org>, Niklas Lindström <lindstream@gmail.com>, "prof. dr. Tom M. van Engers" <vanengers@uva.nl>, peter.krantz@gmail.com, david osimo <david.osimo@gmail.com>, Jose Manuel Alonso <josema.alonso@fundacionctic.org>, washingtona@acm.org
Message-Id: <B2B0FA85-1395-4EF2-ACAB-FF0D63BEAEB4@so36.net>
To: Brian Gryth <briangryth@gmail.com>
Hi all,

This Discussion is of great interest for us here in  Germany. The Opendata Network Germany is working on putting Opendata on the political agenda and helping German Government and Authorities to open their data. 

One of the Questions we have been asked by Officials is like this: What would be the benefit (and for who?) of making (exactly witch) data available in a way (api, formats, license) that is more open than it is available right now? Now this is a tricky question and I don't want to discuss it here with you, but it is obvious that we need a clear definition of what we really mean by open. Only than we can deduct what the potentials and benefits of that openness would be to the public. 

For us here in Germany the Open Knowledge Definition mentioned by Jonathan is a good point to start from. What we (here in Germany) have to do is now to explain to Officials why their data is not "open" enough and what they should do. Too do so I think the distinction in three issues "Access, Rights and Formats / Medium" Brian Gryth mentioned is very helpful to break things down. The argument against fees and costs is one of the hardest to face and I would appreciate to learn from your experiences. What are the best strategies / arguments against these kind of fees on so called "open" data?

Kind regards
Daniel Dietrich

Chairman OpenData Network Germany
Mail: info@opendata-network.org
Web: http://opendata-network.org
Twitter: @opendatanetwork

On 12.11.2009, at 21:04, Brian Gryth wrote:

> From this discussion, it appears that there are three basic issues:
> 1) Access (i.e. whether there is a cost related to getting the data)
> 2) Rights (i.e. copyright and other legal obligations or privileges)
> 3) Format/medium (i.e. electronic human-readable, electronic machine-readable, or paper)
> The open knowledge definition is a good framework and maybe sufficient.  A lot of smart people have contributed to the definition and associated licenses produced by the Open Knowledge Foundations.  
> As Manos and Anne pointed out, it is extremely important that we not ignore human-readable content by focus solely on machine-readable content.  Of course, I think the powers that be often ignore the later.  We need to strike a balance and press that open government data needs to be accessible in multiple formats.  It needs to be accessible to the general public in a human readable format and it needs to be accessible to developers in a machine readable format.  Linked data, from my limited understanding, is best method to strike the format balance.
> One point on costs or fees, sometimes government agencies are required to charge fees for records (i.e. data, documents, and etc.).  For instance, my agency is required under Colorado Revised Statutes section 24-21-104 to collect fees to cover the expenses incurred by the agency.  See http://legislink.org/us-co?CRS-24-21-104.  Therefore, fees are sometimes unavoidable because of legal barriers.  However, if this group can produce work product that makes the case that the cost of making data available is near zero then fees may become difficult to justify.  Especially, if other public policy benefits can be expressed and illustrated.
> Thanks,
> Brian
> On Thu, Nov 12, 2009 at 10:43 AM, Jonathan Gray <jonathan.gray@okfn.org> wrote:
> The Open Knowledge Definition aims to give a definition of the 'open'
> in 'open data':
>  http://opendefinition.org/
> Functionally, it is a bit like the definitions for Free/Open Source
> software - providing criteria for determining which licenses, legal
> tools and terms and conditions make the material they are applied to
> 'open'. It covers everything from the UK Click Use PSI License to some
> (but not all) of the Creative Commons licenses.
> Is this of interest?
> --
> Jonathan Gray
> Community Coordinator
> The Open Knowledge Foundation
> http://www.okfn.org
> On Thu, Nov 12, 2009 at 5:27 PM, Emmanouil Batsis (Manos)
> <manos@abiss.gr> wrote:
> > Todd Vincent wrote:
> >>
> >> This is an interesting topic.
> >
> > Very true, but not all possible aspects are within scope here.
> >
> > As a citizen, I'm certainly interested in social and practical openness,
> >  meaning information accessible by all and for any possible use when talking
> > about government data. Tech-wise though, we mostly mean easy to use in the
> > context of heterogeneous systems etc.
> >
> > Of course, I'm sure many would be interested in ways "open" in the technical
> > sense may be directed in such a way as to produce social (side?) effects.
> >
> > Oh well.
> > --
> > Manos Batsis, Chief Technologist
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> >                        /____/
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> >
> >
> >
> -- 
> Brian Peltola Gryth
> 715 Logan street
> Denver, CO 80203
> 303-748-5447
> twitter.com/briangryth
Received on Friday, 13 November 2009 13:27:29 UTC

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