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From: James McKinney <james@opennorth.ca>
Date: Fri, 8 Mar 2013 10:33:08 -0600
Message-Id: <3D4D8033-7373-4C3D-9ED9-0390E188753F@opennorth.ca>
To: public-opengov@w3.org
Hello all,

As a first step, I thought I'd start a thread to provide some more context to the community group's creation and to allow everyone to introduce themselves.

Firstly, the term "Open Government" is very broad in scope, and participants should feel free to pursue interests besides those for which I proposed this group's creation. In general, however, as described in the group's mission, I would like this group to focus on preparing specifications, rather than (to pick one example) authoring policy recommendations for governments (in retrospect, perhaps the name "Open Government Specifications Community Group" would have been better).

In terms of context, there are many groups creating software relating to open government: for example, online tools to help residents track and engage with politicians and legislatures. This software is maturing and increasingly has an eye towards reuse. To promote effective reuse, these tools should store and share information using the same schemas as much as possible. Such a practice allows other tools to build off of and easily integrate with existing ones.

This group was created as a common workspace for these groups to cooperate/collaborate on defining those schemas.

For my part, the nonprofit I work for, Open North, is leading the software development of the next version of OpenGovernment.org by the Participatory Politics Foundation (PPF). PPF and Open North are working on tools to help residents track and engage with city councils, and are writing the code to be reusable by other groups wanting similar tools for their communities.

As part of that work, I've authored a data specification [1] for people, organizations and the relations between the two, heavily based on the work of the W3C Government Linked Data (GLD) Working Group, of which I am also a member. We have so far received feedback on the spec from mySociety and the Sunlight Foundation, who also have tools for collecting and sharing data on people/organizations.

The scope of that work is largely about researching and implementing existing standards, and often about uniting different standards to address use cases that no one standard fulfills on its own. You'll see examples of this in the draft data specification I've written [1].

That's all for now - I can provide additional context, but participants in this past work have in general been acting in good faith with respect to similar groups and are eager to reuse existing standards.

1. http://popoloproject.com/



Received on Friday, 8 March 2013 16:33:44 UTC

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