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All-star wrap-up of a month of Open Knowledge events all around the world – May 2014

- June 5, 2014 in Events, OKF Argentina, OKF Greece, OKF Italy, OKF Scotland, OKF Switzerland, Open Knowledge Foundation, Open Knowledge Foundation Local Groups, Sprint / Hackday, Working Groups, Workshop

Last month flew by! It’s already June and time to turn the spotlight on the Open Knowledge community’s events which rocked the month of May! Bikestorming is a mobile app to grow urban cycling in cities around the world, developed by members of Open Knowledge Argentina’s community. Matías Kalwill gave a Pecha Kucha talk in Buenos Aires, and was invited to record an English version for Pecha Kucha’s international website. Check it out to learn about this exciting project featuring a strong open knowledge ecosystem, including open data, open web technologies and community-powered events inspired by School of Data’s Data Expeditions started on the International Open Data Day at Buenos Aires. Must watch! Rob Edwards, Ally Tibbitt, Sarah Hutchinson, Jackie McKenzie and Jennifer Jones co-facilitated a one-day workshop, bringing together people working on FOI, on journalism, and on open data. Many were the discussion items: is the information disclosed under FOIA accessible as it could be? How can Open Government Data policies best be integrated with FOI disclosure? Can FOI disclosure logs help us understand what types of data are most in demand? Is greater ‘data literacy’ necessary for both the media and the public to understand the potential and limitations of data? Read more about it here.
  • Busy month for Open Knowledge Greece!
The month kicked off with the final celebration and presentations of the first Greek Data Expedition, ended on May 7. The data expedition was as an initiative by the Open Knowledge Foundation Chapter in Greece, working in collaboration with the IT Applications laboratory in Media (AUTH Department of Journalism), and Postgraduate WebScience (AUTH Department of Mathematics) in Thessaloniki. The data journalism issues analysed focused on air quality in Greece, new technologies in business, student Mobility in Europe and Greece and e-Government. The articles presenting the expeditions’ results will be posted on the Greek School of Data website. European-Student-Mobility Then on May 27 Open Knowledge Greece invited community members and curious citizens to an open workshop to develop together the statements and propositions in regards to the Greek Action Plan 2014 – 2016 for the Open Government Partnership Initiative. Keep up the good work, Greece! DNAdigest, a non-profit organisation aiming to educate, facilitate and engage on issues regarding access to genomic data, hosted an editathon with the goal to make it easier to find new resources, online tools and recent content for genetics research when searching Wikipedia. The editathon was open to participants in London as well as online contributors. Offline meets online collaboration – well done! tumblr_inline_n5j63gAD791suuv9r Sport is fun, sport is healthy, sport is a business – and sport is increasingly data, too. There are huge amounts of data collected by fans, on global spectator sport and local junior leagues, on big matches and tiny niches. And personal data, too: bike routes, running trails and more. The Sports hackdays explored and celebrated open sports data and also represented the first project aiming to kick-off a new Open Knowledge Working Group dedicated to all things sports and open data. We’re sure that with the World Cup approaching we’ll hear more about it very soon! Screen Shot 2014-05-22 at 11.23.50 AM What a month! Are you running an Open Knowledge event? We want to hear from you – share your event stories for next months’ global roundup! Please submit your blogposts about your June events to the Community Tumblr (details about how/where here) by July 6 in order to be featured in our all-star monthly wrap-up to be published in July on the main Open Knowledge blog and channels!

All-star wrap-up of a month of Open Knowledge events all around the world – April 2014

- May 23, 2014 in Community Stories, Events, Featured, Meetups, OKF France, OKF Greece, OKF Italy, OKF Switzerland, OKFN France, Open Access, Open Data, Open Data Index, Open Government Data, Open Knowledge Foundation Local Groups, Sprint / Hackday, Workshop

Last month we asked the Open knowledge community to start sharing more details about the events we all run, to discover how many people are rocking Open Knowledge events all around the world! The community has been great at responding the call and now we’re glad to feature some of the April events we got reports (and pictures and videos!) from. The winners of the Apps4Greece award have been announced! Check out the winning apps, aiming to improve the functionality of cities, businesses, services and develop entrepreneurship and innovation. Organised by Open Knowledge France after the Paris Open Government Conference (April 24-25) during which France announced it’s joining the Open Government Partnership – and gathering more the 50 people! Featuring Open Knowledge founder’s Rufus Pollock and discussions about the state of Open Data in France, Open Data Index, French version of School of Data Ecole des Données (congratulations!) and more.
  • Open Access Days in Egypt (Cairo, Egypt – April 27-28) Screen Shot 2014-05-22 at 11.07.36 AM Open Knowledge Egypt, among many other organizations and researchers, participated in the 2-day event driven by the aim to promote open access to researchers in Egypt and the Middle East, and plant a seed for future initiatives.
We’re so looking forward to hearing everything about your upcoming events! Some juicy ones in the pipeline:

So, what you’re waiting for? It’s time to share your stories for next months’ global roundup! Please submit your blogposts about your May events to the Community Tumblr (details about how/where here) by June 4 in order to be featured in our all-star monthly wrap-up to be published in June on the main Open Knowledge blog and channels! Thank you! We’re looking forward to hearing from you!

Even after earthquakes, we need Open

- August 29, 2013 in Featured Project, OKF Italy, Open Development, Open Government Data

The following guest post is by Chistian Quintili from Open Ricostruzione. Open Ricostruzione is an Italian civic project focused on people engagement after the earthquake which damaged cities of Emilia-Romagna in 2012 Open Ricostruzione is pleased to have a little corner in the OKF network. Our project, in short, is a website to monitor public funding and private donations raised to reconstruct public buildings damaged by the earthquake which hit Emilia Romagna in May 2012. Emilia Romagna is a region in Northern Italy, which in 2012 experienced a series of devastating earthquakes, measuring up to 6.0 on the richter scale. Up to 45,000 people were made homeless, and 27 lost their lives. The cost of reconstruction so far is estimated at around €350 million, with projects including schools, hospitals, and the restoration of historical cultural sites. We want to make sure that this process is open, transparent and accountable. The Emilia-Romagna region and the ANCI (the association of all Italian municipalities) gathered the relevant administrative data; and an association working on IT and civic participation, called Open Polis, developed special software for accessing the data in a user-friendly and easy way. You can find raw data, project by project, on a featured website named Sisma2012. open ricostrizione But Open Ricostruzione is more than this. Technology isn’t enough to “rebuild” democracy: our focus is on re-building citizens’ skills. Beyond smart cities, we need smart citizens. For this reason, ActionAid is organizing a series of workshops to train civil society activists to monitor reconstruction, providing juridical and data journalism skills with Dataninja (an Italian data journalism network). Bondeno 29 giugno 2013 Today each of us can contribute to make reconstruction in Emilia and our institutions more accountable, and this is possible just using a mobile phone, a camera and an internet connection. This means we can, and should be, more responsible for and concerned by the rebuilding of a better society, better institutions and better nation. We have the tools and we want to make it happen. We’d love to hear from you, and you can follow us @Open_Ric for updates. Open Ricostruzione is a project of

Italian government ditches transparency and open data

- March 1, 2013 in OKF Italy, Open Government Data

This post is a translation of Il nostro contributo per salvare gli #OpenData originally published by Ernesto Belisario on Agorà Digitale. Most links point to documents and websites in Italian. In the past few weeks I have been very involved with transparency (and therefore, open data) together with the friends of Agorà Digitale. Right when we were all busy with the Settimana della Trasparenza (Transparency Week), verifying if and how much the expenditure data from local and central Italian government is open (the resulting data is here), the cabinet accelerated the passage of a decree reorganizing all norms concerning transparency (decreto unico di riordino delle norme in materia di trasparenza).

This new version of the decree is said to be explicitly aimed towards a simplification of the existing norms and an augmentation of citizen rights. However the result is a huge step backwards for transparency and open data. Let’s see why. First, there is no attempt at introducing a true Freedom of Information Act (FOIA)-like legislation. Second, open data is ditched with the abolition of article 18 of the D. L. n. 83/2012, the so called “Decreto Sviluppo”, that was the most revolutionary and effective way to pursue transparency for expenditure data.

But there is more bad news. The Italian Data Protection Authority, who advised on the proposed changes, asked for even more pejorative steps further away from open data, for example prohibiting indexing and spidering by web search engines, making a mockery of any claim of “transparency”.

The Cabinet has been in a hurry to approve this decree before the coming elections – in such a hurry that they have forgotten to be transparent in the process! There has been no consultation on any level, either with other administrative bodies or with citizens and organizations dealing with transparency. This is rather the opposite of open and collaborative government – and it gets worse. The final text was approved without even being on the cabinet agenda: paradoxically for a norm on “transparency”, citizens had no idea that the decree was going to be passed.

Italy has been a member of the Open Government Partnership for more than a year, even hosting an international meeting just two months ago. Yet it seems public consultation and transparency need not feature in the political life of an OGP country.

AgoràDigitale, and OpenMediaCoalition partnered to submit comments and six proposals on the proposed changes to the transparency norms. The proposals touch three main themes:

a) open data is key for transparency. All the documents whose publication is mandatory according to the decree must be open data published in open formats. Expenditure data must be available for web spiders and engines to index, because – as David Eaves put it – “if it can’t be spidered or indexed, it doesn’t exist”.

b) open budget & open spending: public spending data is the most-wanted category of data – as shown by the success of initiatives like “Era della Trasparenza” (the Transparency Age). Therefore it is necessary to make all budget and spending data open.

c) freedom of information actcitizen access: our proposal aims at obtaining a true and full freedom of information act, that is currently missing from Italian legislation and unfortunately not on the political agenda.

We launched a public campaign to support our proposals, even though no one asked for our comments. The reaction from citizens was encouraging, and confirmed that they want a government that is actually transparent. With the election last week leaving Italian politics gridlocked by a hung parliament, we hope that all parties can unite behind the centraility of open data and transparency for legitimate democractic government.