Artistic Creation (1901)

Adam Green - August 27, 2014 in artist, creation, early film, illusion, robert paul, trick film, walter booth

A wonderful short film directed by illusionist-turned-filmmaker Walter R. Booth and produced by Robert Paul - one of the earliest examples of trickery in the editing room enabling an artist's creation to come to life on screen, a popular motif in early film.

Open Knowledge en la Media Party 2014

Yas García - August 27, 2014 in Escuela de Datos, Evento

Por segundo año consecutivo estaremos participando de la MediaParty de Hacks Hackers BA. Durante la feria de proyectos presentaremos Escuela de Datos y también participaremos el día viernes del taller ¿Cómo enseñar a usar datos? con Juan Manuel Casanueva.


La Media Party de es el evento de mayor trascendencia de Latinoamérica que se realiza durante tres días, del 28 al 30 de agosto, en Cuidad Cultural Konex, para periodistas, desarrolladores y diseñadores que buscan innovar en los medios y en las formas de producir y contar historias.

Tres jornadas imperdibles de conferencias, talleres, demos, networking y un hackatón de ideas para realizar proyectos de innovación.

En 2014, esperamos 30 expertos de los mejores equipos de noticias interactivas y proyectos de innovación de todo el mundo, 50 workshops y una feria con más 70 proyectos.

La Media Feria se realiza por tercer año consecutivo y de ingreso libre. Este año, contaremos con la presencia de Burt Herman, de Storify, Trei Brundrett de Vox Media, Dan Sinker de OpenNews Project, Brian Boyer del equipo de aplicaciones móviles de radio NPR, Sasa Vucinic de, Jeanne Brooks actual especialista en audiencias y engagement de Radio WNYC, Miguel Paz de Poderopedia, Harlo Holmes que es desarrollador web & mobile en The Guardian, además de integrantes de los equipos interactivos de ProPublica, Texas Tribune, Washington Post, entre otros medios locales e internacionales.

La inscripción se realiza en el Meetup de Hacks Hackers BA y para conocer más del evento pueden ingresar a


Using Data Journalism to probe economics in the West Bank

Eva Constantaras - August 27, 2014 in Data Expeditions, Data Journalism

Ramallah Cityscape

Weeks before the current conflict erupted between Israel and Hamas, twenty Palestinian journalists came together in Ramallah for three days to use data to untangle the economic reality for Palestinians.

The fourth in a series of workshops aimed at establishing economic beat reporting in the West Bank, the Data Journalism for Economic Reporting workshop immersed journalists in the raw economic data that could provide objective, analytical content on a highly politicized local and global topic and explore viable solutions.

Watch a video from one of the workshops:

For the first time, journalists took a deeper look at the data behind buzzwords such as “economic peace” and “economic packages” that form part of the negotiation process between Israel, the Palestinians and donors. Almost immediately journalists identified cases in which a better understanding of data would have served the needs of their audience.

When the World Bank issued the report Area C and the Future of the Palestinian Economy, most journalists just reported on it using a version of the official press release Palestinians Access to Area C Key to Economic Recovery and Sustainable Growth. None requested the raw data to determine what areas of the economy have the most growth potential, what policy changes would be key in negotiating for market growth and what vocational and other educational programs could be put into place to prepare the workforce for a lifting of current restrictions.

“The language of statistics and figures are stronger and more credible,” explained Abubaker Qaret from PADECO Co, an investment firm.

Participants planned to both request the data from the World Bank study and investigate audit data from the donors who keep the Palestinian Authority afloat.

Over the course of three days, journalists practiced the skills to produce the first data-driven economic reporting in the West Bank. Trainees learned to scrape data (extract data from human-readable output) using scraper extensions, identify story angles in monthly economic data releases, answer basic questions about economic growth and government spending using Excel and visualize their findings using Google Charts.

Akram Natcha, a journalist from Al-Quds TV has a financial background but had not thought to apply some of the technical skills to his journalistic work. “This is the first time I used Excel data analysis with the aim of publishing.”

During a Google Charts visualization exercise, trainees used data scraped from PDFs downloaded from the Palestinian Ministry of Finance website to calculate and visualize which sectors of the economy experienced the largest growth during 2013.

Abubaker Qurt visualized his findings:

Trainees also compared unemployment rates and demographics to other countries in the region, calculated growth and absorption rates of the Palestinian Territories’ current workforce and calculated the per capita international aid received compared with its neighbors. They then practiced translating this information into narrative storytelling that would put a human face on pressing economic issues.

The Data Expedition that concluded the workshop focused on evaluating the Palestinian Authority’s fiscal management by examining the last three years of government expenditure data. In groups, trainees proposed and honed in on three specific questions:

  • Which government departments spend the largest portion of their budget on wages and least on implementing projects and which department is responsible for spending the most overall on staff costs?
  • How did spending on neglected areas such as cultural heritage and scientific research compare to how much was allocated by regional neighbors for those activities?
  • How do trends in investment in education correlate to results on standardized tests and growth in related economic areas?

Following the workshop, several participants pursued and published investigations into the economic impact of the heightened presence of the Israeli army in the West Bank.

“I benefited from the workshop to identify story angles through the tables,” said Rabee Dweikat a press officer at the Bank of Palestine. “I discovered new information from the data.”

The training series is funded by the US Consulate in Jerusalem.

This post is cross posted from the Internews Blog

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OKFestival 2014 Stories: Thought Experiments in Sensor Journalism. Notes from a sensor journalism workshop at #OKFest14

Guest - August 27, 2014 in journalism, OKFestival 2014 Stories, open hardware, Programme, sensor journalism, Sessions, Storytelling

This blog post is written by Lily Bui, M.S. Candidate in Comparative Media Studies at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and is cross-posted from her personal blog. This year, I had the privilege of presenting at the Open Knowledge Festival in Berlin, Germany, an international meeting of the minds that brings together advocates for open […]

Revisiting OKFestival 2014

Guest - August 27, 2014 in News and Info, OKFestival 2014 Stories, social media

This blogpost is by Susanne Kendler, Communications Manager at Open Knowledge. Hard to believe that a full month has passed since the end of a fantastic OKFestival 2014. While our team is hard at work following up on all the great ideas and impulses from the event, and evaluating what we can learn, we would […]

A Meditation upon a Broomstick (1711)

Adam Green - August 26, 2014 in broomstick, jonathan swift, meditations, robert boyle

A classic piece of parody from the great English satirist and author of Gulliver's Travels, Jonathan Swift. The particular butt of Swift's sharp pen in this instance was Robert Boyle and his Occasional Reflections upon Several Subjects, 1665

Seven Ways to Create a Storymap

Tony Hirst - August 25, 2014 in Data Journalism, Data Stories, HowTo, Storytelling

If you have a story that unfolds across several places over a period of time, storymaps can provide an engaging interactive medium with which to tell the story. This post reviews some examples of how interactive map legends can be used to annotate a story, and then rounds up seven tools that provide a great way to get started creating your own storymaps.

Interactive Map Legends

The New York Times interactives team regularly come up with beautiful ways to support digital storytelling. The following three examples all mahe use of floating interactive map legends to show you the current location a story relates to as they relate a journey based story.

Riding the Silk Road, from July 2013, is a pictorial review featuring photographs captured from a railway journey that follows the route of the Silk Road. The route is traced out in the map on the left hand side as you scroll down through the photos. Each image is linked to a placemark on the route to show where it was taken.


The Russia Left Behind tells the story of a 12 hour drive from St. Petersburg to Moscow. Primarily a textual narrative, with rich photography and video clips to illustrate the story, an animated map legend traces out the route as you read through the story of the journey. Once again, the animated journey line gives you a sense of moving through the landscape as you scroll through the story.


A Rogue State Along Two Rivers, from July 2014, describes the progress made by Isis forces along the Tigris and Euphrates Rivers is shown using two maps. Each plots the course of one of the rivers and uses place linked words and photos to tell the story of the Isis manoeuvres along each of the river ways. An interactive map legend shows where exactly along the river the current map view relates to, providing a wider geographical context to the local view shown by the more detailed map.


All three of these approaches help give the reader a sense of motion though the journey traversed that leads the narrator being in the places described at different geographical storypoints described or alluded to in the written text. The unfolding of the map helps give the reader the sense that a journey must be taken to get from one location to another and the map view – and the map scale – help the reader get a sense of this journey both in terms of the physical, geographical distance it relates to and also, by implication, the time that must have been expended on making the journey.

A Cartographic Narrative

Slave Revolt in Jamaica, 1760-1761, a cartographic narrative, a collaboration between Axis Maps and Harvard University’s Vincent Brown, describes itself as an animated thematic map that narrates the spatial history of the greatest slave insurrection in the eighteenth century British Empire. When played automatically, a sequence of timeline associated maps are played through, each one separately animated to illustrate the supporting text for that particular map view. The source code is available here.


This form of narrative is in many ways akin to a free running, or user-stepped, animated presentation. As a visual form, it also resembles the pre-produced linear cut scenes that are used to set the scene or drive the narrative in an interactive computer game.

Creating you own storymaps

The New York Times storymaps use animated map legends to give the reader the sense of going on a journey by tracing out the route being taken as the story unfolds. The third example, A Rogue State Along Two Rivers also makes use of a satellite map as the background to the story, which at it’s heart is nothing more than a set of image markers placed on to an an interactive map that has been oriented and constrained so that you can only scroll down. Even though the maps scrolls down the page, the inset legend shows the route being taken may not be a North-South one at all.

The linear, downward scroll mechanic helps the reader feel as if they are reading down through a story – control is very definitely in the hands of the author. This is perhaps one of the defining features of the story map idea – the author is in control of unraveling the story in a linear way, although the location of the story may change. The use of the map helps orientate the reader as to where the scenes being described in the current part of the story relate to, particularly any imagery.

Recently, several tools and Javascript code libraries have been made available from a variety of sources that make it easy to create your own story maps within which you can tell a geographically evolving story using linked images, or text, or both.

Knight Lab StoryMap JS

The Knight Lab StoryMap JS tool provides a simple editor synched to a Google Drive editor that allows you to create a storymap as a sequence of presentation slides that each describe a map location, some header text, some explanatory text and an optional media asset such as an image or embedded video. Clicking between slides animates the map from one location to the next, showing a line between consecutive points to make explicit the linkstep between them. The story is described using a custom JSON data format saved to the linked Google Drive account.


[StoryMapJS code on Github]

CartoDB Odyssey.js

Odyssey.js provides a templated editing environment that supports the creation of three types of storymap: a slide based view, where each slide displays a location, explanatory text (written using markdown) and optional media assets; a scroll based view, where the user scrolls down through a stroy and different sections of the story trigger the display of a particular location in a map view fixed at the top of the screen; and a torque view which supports the display and playback of animated data views over a fixed map view.


A simple editor – the Odyssey sandbox – allows you to script the storymap using a combination of markdown and map commands. Storymaps can be published by saving them to a central githib repository, or downloaded as an HTML file that defines the storymap, bundled within a zip file that contains any other necessary CSS and Javascript files.

[Odyssey.js code on Github]

Open Knowledge TimeMapper

TimeMapper is an Open Knowledge Labs project that allows you to describe location points, dates, and descriptive text in a Google spreadsheet and then render the data using linked map and timeline widgets.


[Timemapper code on Github]

JourneyMap (featuring waypoints.js

JourneyMap is a simple demonstration by Keir Clarke that shows how to use the waypoints.js Javascript library to produce a simple web page containing a scrollable text area that can be used to trigger the display of markers (that is, waypoints) on a map.


[waypoints.js on Githhub; JourneyMap src]

Google Earth TourBuilder

Google Earth TourBuilder is a tool for building interactive 3D Google Earth Tours using a Google Earth browser plugin. Tours are saved (as KML files?) to a Google Drive account.


[Note: Google Earth browser plugin required.]

ESRI/ArcGIS Story Maps

ESRI/ArcGIS Story Maps are created using an online ArcGIS account and come in three type with a range of flavours for each type: “sequential, place-based narratives” (map tours), that provide either an image carousel (map tour) that allows you to step through a sequence of images that are displayed separately alongside a map showing a corresponding location or a scrollable text (map journal) with linked location markers (the display of half page images rather than maps can also be triggered from the text); curated points-of-interest lists that provide a palette of images, each member of which can be associated with a map marker and detailed information viewed via a pop-up (shortlist), a numerically sequence list that displays map location and large associated images (countdown list), and a playlist that lets you select items from a list and display pop up infoboxes associated with map markers; or map comparisons provided either as simple tabbed views that allow you to describe separate maps, each with its own sidebar description, across a series of tabs, with separate map views and descriptions contained within an accordion view, and swipe maps that allow you to put one map on top of another and then move a sliding window bar across them to show either the top layer or the lower layer. A variant of the swipe map – the spyglass view alternatively displays one layer but lets you use a movable “spyglass” to look at corresponding areas of the other layer.


[Code on github: map-tour (carousel) and map journal; shortlist (image palette), countdown (numbered list), playlist; tabbed views, accordion map and swipe maps]

Leaflet.js Playback

Leaflet.js Playback is a leaflet.js plugin that allows you to play back a time stamped geojson file, such as a GPS log file.


[Code on Github]


The above examples describe a wide range of geographical and geotemporal storytelling models, often based around quite simple data files containing information about individual events. Many of the tools make a strong use of image files as pat of the display.

it may be interesting to complete a more detailed review that describes the exact data models used by each of the techniques, with a view to identifying a generic data model that could be used by each of the different models, or transformed into the distinct data representations supported by each of the separate tools.

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Jetzt anmelden: Konferenz zu offenen Bildungsmaterialien im September 2014 in Berlin (#OER14de)

Christian Heise - August 24, 2014 in Deutschland, Featured, oer, OER14de, offenes Wissen, Termine, wikimedia

OERde14_grau_breitObwohl im Koalitionsvertrag erwähnt, wurde das Thema offene und freie Bildungsmaterialien (OER) leider (wie vieles andere im Bereich Bildung und Wissenschaft) im Rahmen der kürzlich veröffentlichten Digitalen Agenda von der Politik komplett ignoriert. Um das zu ändern und die Wirklichkeit der offenen und freien Bildungsmaterialien in Deutschland zu diskutieren, veranstaltet Wikimedia Deutschland mit der “#OERde14 – Die Zukunft Freier Bildungsmaterialien” am 12. und 13. September 2014 bereits das zweite Mal die größte Konferenz zu freien Bildungsmaterialien im deutschsprachigen Raum. Förderin der Konferenz ist die Bundeszentrale für politische Bildung. Schirmherrin ist die Deutsche UNESCO Kommission. Die Open Konwledge Foundation Deutschland e.V. unterstützt die Konferenz.

Die #OERde14 ist eine Kombination aus Fachkonferenz und Barcamp und bietet den Teilnehmenden damit viel Raum für Vernetzung und Austausch. Inhaltlich geht es einerseits um die konkrete Erstellung von Bildungsmaterialien und andererseits um die Implementierung von OER in das deutsche Bildungssystem. Dabei sollen auch Erfahrungen aus anderen Ländern einfließen: Was funktioniert anderswo, was funktioniert nicht und was ließe sich davon auf Deutschland übertragen? Welche Voraussetzunggen muss die Politik schaffen? Und allem voran natürlich die Frage: Welche Implikationen hat OER auf die Bildung?

Die wichtigesten Informationen zu Konferenz im Überblick:

Titel: OERde14 – Die Zukunft Freier Bildungsmaterialien
Zeit: Freitag, 12. September und Samstag, 13. September 2014
Ort: Urania, An der Urania 17, 10787 Berlin
Teilnahmegebühr: 50,- €, ermäßigt 30,- €
Twitter: #OERde14

Alle in OER involvierte Gruppen werden zusammenkommen und diskutieren: Akteure aus Schule, Hochschule und Bildungsarbeit, Entscheidungstragende aus Politik, Wirtschaft und Zivilgesellschaft, Medien und Verlage sowie alle weiteren an OER Interessierten.

Darunter: Dirk van Damme (Leiter des CERI  – Centre for Educational Research and Innovation – der OECD), der sich damit beschäftigt, wie Bildung in der Zukunft funktioniert. Führende OER­Aktivisten aus den USA (Nicole Allen, SPARC), Polen (Dr. Alek Tarkowsk, Centrum Cyfrowe Projekt:Polska) und Großbritannien (Lorna M Campbell, Centre for Education Technology, Interoperability and Standards) srpechen auf der Konferenz. Der Berliner Staatssekretär Mark Rackles diskutiert darüber, dass Berlin als erstes Bundesland OER zum Teil des Schulunterrichts machen wird. Aber auch einer der bekanntesten OER­Kritiker Deutschlands nimmt an der Konferenz teil: Dr. David Klett (Klett­Verlag).

Weitere Informationen zur diesjährigen Konferenz finden Sie unter

George (2014)

Adam Green - August 22, 2014 in animated GIF

Animated GIF created by Bill Domonkos, using Prelinger Archive footage of the heart's function and a photograph from The Library of Congress.

Open Government countries ranking 2013 (based on OGP data)

Guest - August 22, 2014 in Open Government Data

This is a guest post by Alberto Abella, head of the Spanish Chapter of Open Knowledge, and originally appeared at

Open Government (ogov) is possibly next democracy’s milestone.

Should you care about open government? Possibly, because it guarantees transparency and accountability. But not only IMHO. In 2014 this passive role for the citizens is not enough. The disruptive point about open government is the use of collective intelligence to take smarter political decisions for current and future challenges.

OGP is a global organization with 64 member countries helping each other to implement open government policies. Its members publish and deploy yearly an open goverment plan with specific actions. These plans are reviewed not only by countries’ authorities but also by the civil society. This social dialogue review include an Independent Reporting Mechanism.


Let’s review results for 2013. Raw data for this analysis are published by OGP, and anybody can download them (commitments and achievements).Good!

Find in the graph 2013 results about what countries really implement of their plans.In order to get these results four factors have been taken into account :

First, if the action is specific of an ogov approach, second, if the action really impact on current politics, third if the action is new or is the same from past years. And last but not least, if the action has been really implemented completely, partially, or even withdrawn.

Three medals goes to Slovakia, Moldova and Croatia.

You can find the metric to create this graph here. It is true that metric is far from being perfect, so I expect you comments.

The good performers

Good performers are those countries which provide tiny ambitious plans but they implement quite above average. There are 3 remarkable countries Paraguay, Denmark and Czeck Republic. Data


What about the pretenders? Pretenders are those who provide very ambitious plans but fail in implementation.

The three pretenders are Estonia, Romania and Greece out of those who are in the first 25. Data.

Last but they are the least

These countries does not provide their information on time, so the analysis ranks them at the bottom

USA, UK, South Africa, Philippines, Mexico, Indonesia and Brazil. Data

Over ambition is tempting in politics. Here you can find a classification of the countries’ plans based on the ambition of their actions, in terms of impact, new actions and ogov relevance.

Wait and see 2014.