Are you working in the OpenGLAM arena? Tweet about it!

OpenGlam - July 19, 2018 in open culture, Open GLAM, OpenGLAM

Starting today, community members from Open Knowledge International, Wikimedia Foundation, and Creative Commons, will be facilitating a rotating curation of the @openglam twitter account to highlight and reflect on the impact of  “OpenGLAM” (Galleries, Libraries, Archives, and Museums) in their respective contexts. OpenGLAM is a global network of people and organizations who are working to open up content and data held by Galleries, Libraries, Archives and Museums. As a community of practice, it incorporates ongoing efforts to disseminate knowledge and culture through policies and practices that encourage broad communities of participation, and integrates them with the needs and activities of professional communities working at GLAM institutions. GLAMs are powerful institutions for sharing knowledge with the world. Especially on the internet, building a practice of sharing knowledge requires adopting practices that open collections using open licensing, tools, and infrastructures. To do this work, leaders around the world have to converse, run projects, and support institutions in thinking about the larger potential of sharing their knowledge with the world. We want to use the OpenGLAM Twitter account to highlight the great work that people from different regions, linguistic communities, time zones and contexts are doing to advance openness in GLAMs. Our approach is simple: contributors will be added to the @openglam account through Tweetdeck and will get a chance to curate the conversation coming from that Twitter account for 2 weeks. You can read the instructions for participants here. If you want to contribute, please sign up on this Google form! Our first curator is going to be @samuelguebo, a Wikimedia community member who has been leading partnerships with libraries in Côte d’Ivoire  and will be attending Wikimania 2018 in Cape Town, South Africa this week. Do you have an upcoming event or activity that you think will spark a conversation? Contact us to become the next curator! Curating the @openglam account is part of a broader conversation that organizations like OKI, WMF and CC are having about growing the impact of the “big open”. We hope that this curated Twitter will open up conversations about what brings us together as practitioners and enthusiasts for Open GLAM. There has been massive change in the cultural heritage sector and open communities in the past few years – the Open GLAM community is brought together by a set of principles that may need to evolve to meet these changing contexts. We hope to hear from you soon! If you want to get involved with the GLAM at Creative Commons and beyond, please consider joining the Creative Commons Slack group.

Are you working in the OpenGLAM arena? Tweet about it!

OpenGlam - July 19, 2018 in Featured

Starting today, community members from Open Knowledge International, Wikimedia Foundation, and Creative Commons, will be facilitating a rotating curation of the @openglam twitter account to highlight and reflect on the impact of  “OpenGLAM” (Galleries, Libraries, Archives, and Museums) in their respective contexts. OpenGLAM is a global network of people and organizations who are working to […]

Bon-Mots of the Eighteenth and Nineteenth Century (1897)

Adam Green - July 19, 2018 in bon-mots, conversation, humour, wit, witticisms

Compilation of some of the best conversational witticisms of the 18th and 19th centuries, including Joseph Addison, Samuel Johnson, Oscar Wilde, and Lord Byron, and a whole host of lesser known wits.

SaveOurAir: An experiment in data-activation

Anders Koed Madsen - July 17, 2018 in Open Data

Contemporary cities seem to be in a race to be increasingly ‘smart’ and data-driven. At smart city Expos around the world, visitors are presented with new visual modes of modes of knowing and governing. Dashboards providing birds-eye views of the real-time movement of objects in the city, are perhaps the most iconic of these visualizations. Often presented in a sort of control room environment, they illustrate the promise of instantaneous overviews things like cars, people and trans bins. These are all relevant objects for organizing dynamic cityscapes and creating an efficient city. In short – they seem like the bureaucratic engineers dream of an ordering tool. While such visualizations may be good for a form of cybernetic control of the city, it seems that there is a need for different ways of depicting the contemporary city as well. SaveOurAir – a project funded by EU’s Organicities program – was born out of this idea. What if we could activate data about air pollution in other ways that just providing generic overviews of pollution on a map? Would it be possible to tell more ‘local’ data stories about the issue of air pollution? Can the ‘local’ even be operationalized visually in other ways than points of latitude and longitude? If yes, what would the relevant visual metaphors be and which types of data would they draw upon? From October 2016 to May 2017 we decided to pursue these questions together with a selection of people with a stake in the discussion about air pollution. In this context, the ‘we’ included researchers from The Public Data Lab (see and the ‘people’ included activists, teachers, politicians and public officials from England and Denmark. Through two week-long co-design workshops we co-produced three different functional prototypes that each have its own distinct way of telling a local data-story about air pollution. Full details of all the work can be found on SaveOurAir website, but we will quickly go through each in turn. First, in the MyAir project we produced a teaching kit that enables pupils in upper secondary school to explore issues of air pollution with reference to their own daily whereabouts. Armed with a mobile pollution monitor and their mobile phone, pupils in the Danish town of Gentofte constructed personalized and interactive map maps that contained data about the routes they had traveled and the amount of pollution they had been exposed to at various points on these routes. The aim of the teaching kit is to stimulate pupils to do inquiry into the sources of air pollution that influences their personal lives. You can explore the project here.  

Pictures of the air sensors and the interface for data-exploration made available by the MyAir software

Second, n the Mobilizing Our Air project we produced an online platform which portrays activist groups concerned with air pollution in the Borough of Camden, London. The activist groups’ interests are categorized into interest tags of which the platform’s user can select as many as wished for. Based on the user’s selection the platform shows a geographical map which outlines the location of the activist/activist group. The platform has three main goals: 1. the platform supports local activist groups to connect with each other through visibility on the platform, 2. the platform informs individuals interested in activism about activist groups in their vicinity and invites them to join the movements, 3. the platform brings the topic of air pollution to other activist groups’ attention which already support the cause of better air quality. You can explore the project here.

Four interfaces of the platform prototype for Mobilizing Our Air: groups, groups profile, campaigns, and stories.

Third, in the project entitled The Hot Potato Machine we wanted to understand and visually explore different ways of responding to and apportioning responsibility for complex issues such as air pollution. As actors involved in air pollution will often pass the blame, ‘the hot potato’, to someone else we wanted to create a visual interface for exploring what different actors say about each other in relation to how to tackle air pollution. Rather than focusing on measurements of pollutants, we were interested in how digital data might tell us about different ways of seeing air pollution as an issue, different imagined solutions, the fabric of relationships around it, and where there might be tensions, differences, knots and spaces for movement. Our prototype focuses on a specific “issue story” revealing different views on who is responsible for reducing air pollution from diesel taxis. You can explore the project here.  

Interfaces of the platform prototype for the Hot Potato Machine

These three projects represent the experimental outcome of the SaveOurAir project and they are good illustrations of the way we approach data in the Public Data Lab. We strive to organize social research as an open process – a process in which the research methods are developed at the same time as their results (the prototypes). But neither the methods nor their results are the specific object of our research. Instead, what we hope to hatch through our interventions are new “data publics”: publics that are not just the passive object of commercial and institutional monitoring, but who produce their own data actively and “by design”. For more info, contact Anders Koed Madsen.

The Laughing Song (1904)

Adam Green - July 17, 2018 in Henry Klauser, laughing, Mozaffar ad-Din Shah Qajar, novelty song

In this novelty recording by the Norwegian actor Henry Klauser, a mournful refrain gradually gives way to laughter.

Policy advocacy with a twist

OKF - July 16, 2018 in Uncategorized

At the Open Knowledge Foundation Deutschland we’ve been advocating for rules and regulation that open up closed systems and processes in areas such as data governance, financial transparency and algorithmic accountability. However, as a small organization that largely runs on project grants and individual donations, we don’t have the resources to run large-scale advocacy campaigns. The key to success for us has been to rely on a combination of law, tech and crowd to address some of the most important policy issues in our field. Here are two examples to illustrate how we work.

Pushing for transparency in lawmaking

The German Bundestag is the place where laws are made - or so it should be. In reality, most laws are drafted by ministry officials before the draft laws are then given to the Bundestag for debate. While ordinary citizens have virtually no influence throughout the entire law-making process, lobby groups get to comment on the various versions of the laws even during the drafting stages. Once the laws are published it’s nearly impossible to tell to what extent the laws have been shaped by lobbyists as none of the various draft versions nor the submissions of the lobby groups are ever made public. In 2017 we set out to change this practice. We called on ministries to publish all relevant documents in an easily accessible database and in re-usable formats. When we realized that we wouldn’t be successful with our plea, we launched an online portal that listed more than 17,000 documents from the years of 2013 to 2017 ranging from different draft versions of laws to the written statements and submissions of lobbyists. We then asked citizens to file freedom of information requests for each of the documents by simply clicking a button placed next to the individual documents. Once people received the requested documents, they were asked to upload them to a publicly accessible repository. Days after the launch of the portal, the number of requests skyrocketed and quickly reached more than 1,500. The government soon faced a massive amount of requests, and we were called to a meeting with government officials in which we were informed that in a joint decision taken by all ministries, they would release all 17,000 documents. What’s more, the new government that came into office earlier this year even [committed to set up their own online platform that would provide access to a range of documents] to increase transparency in the lawmaking process.

Breaking the algorithmic black box

Schufa Holding is Germany’s leading credit scoring agency. The company has data on close to 70 million people in Germany, which is virtually everyone aged 18 or older. The data comes from various sources, such as banks and telecommunication companies, and is used to calculate a rating, the so-called Schufa score. A low Schufa score means landlords will refuse you renting an apartment, banks will reject your credit card application and network providers will decline your new phone contract. openschufa The Schufa score is generated by proprietary mathematical formulas. While citizens can access their individual scores, the algorithm itself is not accessible to the public. But what if your the score is low because of an error in the data collection and entry process? Or what if the mathematical model itself is flawed and discriminatory? In February 2018, in partnership with Algorithm Watch, we launched Open Schufa to shed light on the algorithm that is used to calculate the individual scores. To do so we crowdsourced data from thousands of citizens who were willing to submit their individual scores to help us reverse-engineer the algorithm. With a group of credit scoring and data protection experts we’re now in the process of analyzing the data to see if we can bring greater transparency into the Schufa algorithm. While the project is still on-going, we’ve already been successful in initiating a public debate about Schufa’s algorithm specifically and credit-scoring as well as closed algorithms and their impact more broadly. What’s more, in the past weeks we’ve been invited to meetings with various government agencies to explore ways to increase transparency and accountability in algorithmic decision-making.

Law + tech + crowd

Much of our advocacy builds on a simple formula:
  • Laws provide us with the legal basis to request information
  • Technology enables us to organize communities and crowdsource data
  • The crowd allows us to scale our initiatives
By combining these three assets we are able to empower citizens, to make government more responsive and to bring transparency into opaque systems. While it may not be applicable across all countries and sectors, we hope that other organizations working in similar contexts and facing similar constraints will the lessons we learned helpful. Get in touch if you want to talk. We’re always keen to learn about similar initiatives.

Αλλάζοντας Μυαλά με τη Χρήση Ανοικτών Δεδομένων

Χριστίνα Καρυπίδου - July 15, 2018 in Featured, Featured @en, News, ανοικτά δεδομένα, ανοικτή γνώση, Νέα

Από τη Javiera Atenas Αυτή η ανάρτηση είναι αναδημοσίευση της αρχικής ανάρτησης στο blog του Open Education Working Group και έχει συν-συγγραφεί από τους Javiera Atenas, Erdinç Saçan και  Robert Schuwer. Ο Έλληνας φιλόσοφος Πυθαγόρας έλεγε:  “Εάν θέλετε να πολλαπλασιάσετε τη χαρά, τότε πρέπει να τη μοιραστείτε.” Αυτό ισχύει και για τα δεδομένα. Όποιος μοιράζεται δεδομένα, παίρνει ένα πλήθος χαράς […]

PSI Directive – joint effort by OKF and friends

walter palmetshofer - July 12, 2018 in Uncategorized

A short update on the PSI directive (the proposal for a DIRECTIVE OF THE EUROPEAN PARLIAMENT AND OF THE COUNCIL on the re-use of public sector information (recast). Today the joint Open Knowledge comment for the PSI directive recast was submitted. Thanks to Open Knowledge International, OK Finnland and OK Austria for the combined effort. More background information and a rough timeline of the next steps: The committee responsible for the PSI Directive is ITRE, the Industry, Research and Energy Committee. The report is expected towards the end of October, rapporteur is Neoklis Sylikiotis (GUE/NGL).
(Hint: Anybody from the Greek open data scene is highly welcome to talk to us or to Neoklis Sylikiotis.) ITRE shadow rapporteurs are: EPP: Michal Boni, S&D Razvan Popa, ALDE Morten Helveg Petersen, Greens: Julia Reda More details here: IMCO has special competence, which is why it is also good to address these shadow rapporteurs: EPP Sabine Verheyen, S&D Liisa Jaakonsaari, ECR Richard Sulik, ALDE Dita Charanzova Timeline in IMCO: Deadline for amendments was 12.07.18, compromises will be negotiated in September, vote is expected on the 10th or 11th October. Timeline ITRE: Rapporteur’s draft report must be submitted by the end of September, it will be presented publicly on 8th or 9th October, 11th October deadline for amendments, vote on 3rd December. The first talks with the Council could then take place in Strasbourg in calendar week 50. If the Austrians want to have a good say during their presidency, the Council should also have its „General Approach“ ready by calendar week 50, so that the negotiations can start. However, completion is not expected to take place before the end of January under the Romanian Presidency. Anybody interested in the process please contact me. We will coordinate the Open Knowledge Network and friends.

Sloan Foundation Funds Frictionless Data for Reproducible Research

Paul Walsh - July 12, 2018 in data infrastructures, Featured, Frictionless Data

We are excited to announce that Open Knowledge International has received a grant of $750,000 from The Alfred P. Sloan Foundation for our project “Frictionless Data for Reproducible Research”. The new funding from Sloan enables us to continue work over the next 3 years via enhanced dissemination and training activities, as well as further iteration on the software and specifications via a range of deep pilot projects with research partners.  
Frictionless Data, we focus specifically on reducing friction around discoverability, structure, standardization and tooling. More generally, the technicalities around the preparation, validation and sharing of data, in ways that both enhance existing workflows and enable new ones, towards the express goal of minimizing the gap between data and insight. We do this by creating specifications and software that are primarily informed by reuse (of existing formats and standards), conceptual minimalism, and platform-agnostic interoperability. Over the last two years, with support from Sloan and others, we have validated the utility and usefulness of the Frictionless Data approach for the research community and found strong commonalities between our experiences of data work in the civic tech arena, and the friction encountered in data-driven research. The pilots and case studies we conducted over this period have enabled us to improve our specifications and software, and to engage with a wider network of actors interested in data-driven research from fields as diverse as earth science, computational biology, archeology, and the digital humanities. Building on work going on for nearly a decade, last September we launched v1 of the Frictionless Data specifications, and we have produced core software that implements those specifications across 7 programming languages. With the new grant we will iterate on this work, as well as run additional Tool Fund activities to facilitate deeper integration of the Frictionless Data approach in a range of tools and workflows that enable in reproducible research. A core point of friction in working with data is the discoverability of data. Having a curated collection of well-maintained datasets that are of high value to a given domain of inquiry is an important move towards increasing quality of data-driven research. With this in mind, we will also be organising efforts to curate datasets that are of high-value in the domains we work. This high-value data will serve as a reference for how to package data with Frictionless Data specifications, and provide suitable material for producing domain-specific training materials and guides. Finally, we will be focussing on researchers themselves and are planning a programme to recruit and train early career researchers to become trainers and evangelists of the tools in their field(s). This programme will draw lessons from years of experience running data literacy fellowships with School of Data and Panton Fellowships for OpenScience. We hope to meet researchers where they are and work with them to demonstrate the effectiveness of our approach and how our tools and bring real value to your work. Are you a researcher looking for better tooling to manage your data? Do you work at or represent an organization working on issues related to research and would like to work with us on complementary issues for which data packages are suited? Are you a developer and have an idea for something we can build together? Are you a student looking to learn more about data wrangling, managing research data, or open data in general? We’d love to hear from you.  If you have any other questions or comments about this initiative, please visit this topic in our forum,  hashtag #frictionlessdata or speak to the project team on the public gitter channel.   The Alfred P. Sloan Foundation is a philanthropic, not-for-profit grant-making institution based in New York City. Established in 1934 by Alfred Pritchard Sloan Jr., then-President and Chief Executive Officer of the General Motors Corporation, the Foundation makes grants in support of original research and education in science, technology, engineering, mathematics and economic performance.  

Flatfish Camouflage Experiments (1911)

Adam Green - July 11, 2018 in camouflage, fish, flatfish, flounder, pattern

Photographs from a series of experiments in which various types of flounder through their paces as regards camouflage ability.