Re: Civic apps and Linked Data

Dear Alvaro,

The activists and hackers are already there. But for now they have different agendas. When you talk about activists and hackers which categories in particular do you refer to? Activists dealing with human rights, environmental issues, fighting corruption, promoting freedom of information, open access, civil rights etc. all typically are too busy dealing with other things than ICT.

Civic apps as you call them are just now appearing and Transparency International recently listed a few apps being used in the good fight.

SW/L(O)D for now remains the domain of ICT specialists. My organization deals with ICT for development as a platform for enabling technologies.

Outfits like NTEN and IdealWare do a good job of cataloging ICT in non-profits which would cover most activists.

ICT is not a forte of non-profits, and since the financial crisis of 2008 onwards has greatly impacted availability of third party funding for non-profits, ICT usage is taking a back seat.


Milton Ponson
GSM: +297 747 8280
PO Box 1154, Oranjestad
Aruba, Dutch Caribbean
Project Paradigm: A structured approach to bringing the tools for sustainable development to all stakeholders worldwide by creating ICT tools for NGOs worldwide and: providing online access to web sites and repositories of data and information for sustainable development

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 From: Alvaro Graves <>
To: Linked Data community <> 
Sent: Wednesday, June 26, 2013 10:03 AM
Subject: Civic apps and Linked Data

Hello everyone,

A few days ago I attended ABRELATAM'13 an unconference focused on Open Data in Latin America. I proposed a session about Open Data + Linked Data to discuss how semantics and LOD in general can help government and civi organizations. I want to share the main ideas that emerged from the conversation:

- SW/LOD sounds really cool and the direction where thing should move.
- However there are many technical aspects that remain unsolved
- Since for many people having a relatively good solution using CSV, JSON, etc. is easier, they don't want to use SW/LOD because it is an overkill and too complicated.

So my question is: Why we don't see lots of civic apps using Linked Data? Where are the SW activists? Why we haven't been able to demonstrate to the hacker community the benefits of using semantic technologies? Is it because they are hard to use? They don't scale well in many cases (as a googled pointed out)? Are we too busy working in academia/businesses?

I know very few civic apps using semantic technologies and I don't think I have seen anyone that has made real impact in any country. I would love if you can prove me wrong and if we can discuss how can we involve more activists and hackers into the SW/LOD community.

Alvaro Graves-Fuenzalida
Web: - Twitter: @alvarograves

Received on Wednesday, 26 June 2013 18:26:44 UTC