Sir Tim Berners-Lee will co-direct the Open Data Institute (ODI), which has been created by the government to promote and advise on the use of public data to help drive economic growth.
The ODI will open in September and will be based in London’s Shoreditch. It aims to train people to use data in business and advise on what kinds of information should be released. Sir Tim is co-director together with Prof Nigel Shadbolt of the University of Southampton
"As the government releases more and more of data, the obvious question to ask is whether we are driving all the value out of that we can," said Prof Shadbolt, speaking to the BBC, “The ODI will seek to answer that question and act as a training and educational resource that will help people find the data that could be useful to them and provide advice about the best way to use it”.
The institute also plans to run "appathons" and "hackathons" to equip people with the skills to start using large data sets, as well as advise businesses about the best way to get the most out of the data they held internally.
Crucially, it will also provide feedback to the government about whether data was useful and the information businesses sought.
The ODI was first announced in the Autumn Statement of Chancellor George Osborne and the involvement of Sir Berners-Lee coincides with a government go-ahead. £10m has been pledged over the Institute’s five years but this is contingent on a similar sum being pledged by businesses.
Tim Berners-Lee: 8 data dictums:
1. Data is never perfect. There are always errors but put it out there and you will often get a crowdsourced repair.
2. Most people associate the use of data with the wrongful release or abuse of private data. In fact, only a small amount of the data out there is private data.
3. If data is funded by taxpayer money it should be openly available on the web. This requires a culture change within government.
4. The “mosaic effect”, whereby through cross-referencing multiple sources data can be de-anonymised, will be a focus of research for the Institute.
5. The interesting thing about open data is the serendipity effect. It's about interconnecting all kinds of things
6. Scientific data should be made open as a priority, particularly in proteomics, genomics and organic chemistry.
7. Basic core data is likely to be needed before we can make big strides in key challenges for science
8. It's about taking the data and building on it, but making sure you give credit to the person who published the original.
For the full interview with Tim Berners-Lee, please visit wired.com
Government Open data: the world’s view
Governments around the world are sharing information with citizens. Transparency in data is the way that governements are attempting to become closer to their citizens, says a recent Demos report:
“Government should be able to share much more information with citizens”, says the report, “who should be able to see in much finer detail what decisions government is taking and why. Citizens should in turn be able to contribute their views, ideas and feedback".
There have been many previous efforts and initiatives in the western world to make governments more accessible for both business and public, these include:
The US government launched its Data.gov initiative in May 2009 as part of president Barack Obama's Open Government Directive. The initiative instructs all federal agencies to use technology that makes their activities more transparent and enables them to engage more actively with citizens. Data.gov has become a collective data repository for government data from all agencies with the primary goal of improving access to federal data and expanding the creative use of those data beyond the walls of government.
At data.gov.be, there are already around 80 datasets from air quality to real estate sales and population by municipality. There is also a considerable list of various ideas and requests for opening up specific data sets.
A digital platform encompassing multimedia library, museum and archives. It offers direct access to digitised books, audio, film, photos, paintings, maps, manuscripts, newspapers and archive material. Europeana was launched by the European Commission and the EU's culture ministers in Brussels on 20 November 2008. By September 2011, it had 3 million direct visitors not including those who accessed content through API services.
For more on this topic: The next IT revolution is happening in the "I" - the information - not the "T"