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World Library Congress – Closing Libraries is ‘short-sighted’

- August 26, 2019 in Featured, library, Open Knowledge, Open Knowledge Foundation

Closing down libraries to save money is ‘one of the most short-sighted decisions that public officials can make’, the World Library and Information Congress has heard.
Speaking at the International Federation of Library Associations and Institutions (IFLA) annual congress in Athens, Open Knowledge Foundation chief executive Catherine Stihler said ‘libraries are too often seen as an easy target for cuts’. The former MEP for Scotland said libraries can also ‘fill the gap’ in the delivery of coding lessons and data practice in schools, to ensure people across Europe and the world have the skills for the jobs of the future. In 2017, it is estimated that more than 120 libraries closed their doors in England, Wales and Scotland. But a recent study by the Carnegie UK Trust found that people aged 15-24 in England are the most likely age group to use libraries. And nearly half of people aged 25 to 34 still visit them, according to the study. The IFLA World Library and Information Congress ( is the international flagship professional and trade event for the library and information services sector, bringing together over 3,500 participants from more than 120 countries. In her address to the World Library and Information Congress, Open Knowledge Foundation chief executive Catherine Stihler said:
“Governments across the world must now work harder to give everyone access to key information and the ability to use it to understand and shape their lives; as well as making powerful institutions more accountable; and ensuring vital research information that can help us tackle challenges such as poverty and climate change is available to all.
“In short, we need a future that is fair, free and open.
“But this is not the way things are going in the UK, the EU, the US, China and across our world.
“Instead, we see in the UK, councils across the country facing major financial pressures, and libraries are too often seen as an easy target for cuts.
“But closing down a library has to be one of the most short-sighted decisions that public officials can make, with serious consequences for the future of local communities.” She added:
“There is a widespread misconception that the services offered are out-of-date – a relic of a bygone age before youngsters started carrying smartphones in their pockets with instant access to Wikipedia, and before they started downloading books on their Kindle.
“Today, the most successful libraries have remodelled themselves to become fit for the 21st century, and more can follow suit if they receive the right support and advice, and have the backing of governments and councils.
“I have long championed the importance of coding as part of the education curriculum, especially given that my home country of Scotland is home to more than 100,000 digital tech economy jobs.
“But while there remains a shortfall in what is delivered in our schools in terms of coding and data practice, libraries can fill that gap.
“Our world is moulded in code, and libraries offer young people an opportunity to bring ideas to life and build things that will bring joy to millions.
“So by embracing the future, they can continue to be an unrivalled place of learning, like they always were for previous generations.”

New Open Knowledge Foundation board chair and vice-chair appointed

- June 25, 2019 in News, Open Knowledge Foundation

The Open Knowledge Foundation is delighted to announce that Vanessa Barnett has been appointed as the new Chair of the Board of Directors, and Helen Turvey has been appointed as Vice-Chair. Vanessa Barnett said:
“It is a great honour to be appointed Chair of the Open Knowledge Foundation, at an incredibly exciting time for the organisation. We’re returning to our founding principles and fighting for a fair, free and open future. Our mission is to create an open world, where all non-personal information is open, free for everyone to use, build on and share; and creators and innovators are fairly recognised and rewarded. Our vision has never been more important, and I am excited to be supporting the organisation as Chair.”

Helen Turvey said:
“I’m delighted to be appointed Vice-Chair at a time when the Open Knowledge Foundation is going from strength-to-strength. The world has changed dramatically since our organisation was launched 15 years ago, and we need champions for openness. I’m looking forward to working closely with the great team involved in running the Foundation.”
Catherine Stihler, chief executive of the Open Knowledge Foundation, said:
“I’m pleased to welcome Vanessa and Helen as our new Chair and Vice-Chair, and look forward to working with them. I would also like to thank Tim Hubbard for his work as outgoing chair of the board and all the members of the board who support everything we do to promote openness. The Open Knowledge Foundation is uniquely placed to address the challenges of the digital age and work towards a fair, free and open future.”
  About Vanessa Barnett Vanessa Barnett is a lawyer who helps clients who are using technology and data to innovate or disrupt established ways of doing things, with particular expertise in Internet/platform based business models. She likes working with people who are changing the status quo. She has supported her clients from household-name global brands to nimble start-ups do this for over 15 years, first as a partner at two traditional City firms and now at disruptor law firm Keystone Law. She regularly advises boards on legal matters and strategy in her role as a lawyer. Vanessa has a specific interest in the cross over between technology, intellectual property and data, and right now is spending most of her working time advising on data related projects. She holds a degree in Law from Exeter University, is the founding author of the Internet section of Practical Commercial Precedents and sits on its editorial board. She is also on the editorial board of Digital Business Lawyer About Helen Turvey Helen has spent the past two decades working to make philanthropy better. She is honoured to have spent over half of that time working with the Shuttleworth Foundation, an organisation brave and nimble enough to be truly experimental in their approach to changing the world and its own DNA along with it. Having spent time at the beginning of her career travelling, learning and keynoting on most continents, Helen now spends her time working with the Fellows and Alumni of the Foundation, building, supporting, strengthening and enabling leaders who iterate towards a more open and equitable world. She is also on the board of several organisations that drive open ideals.

Statement from the Open Knowledge Foundation Board on the future of the CKAN Association

- June 6, 2019 in ckan, Open Data, Open Knowledge, Open Knowledge Foundation

The Open Knowledge Foundation (OKF) Board met on Monday evening to discuss the future of the CKAN Association.

The Board supported the CKAN Stewardship proposal jointly put forward by Link Digital and Datopian. As two of the longest serving members of the CKAN Community, it was felt their proposal would now move CKAN forward, strengthening both the platform and community.

In appointing joint stewardship to Link Digital and Datopian, the Board felt there was a clear practical path with strong leadership and committed funding to see CKAN grow and prosper in the years to come.

OKF will remain the ‘purpose trustee’ to ensure the Stewards remain true to the purpose and ethos of the CKAN project. The Board would like to thank everyone who contributed to the deliberations and we are confident CKAN has a very bright future ahead of it.

If you have any questions, please get in touch with Steven de Costa, managing director of Link Digital, or Paul Walsh, CEO of Datopian, by emailing

Por um futuro justo, livre e aberto: celebrando 15 anos da Open Knowledge Foundation

- May 24, 2019 in Open Knowledge Foundation

texto de Catherine Stihler traduzido diretamente do blog da Open Knowledge Foundation Quinze anos atrás, a Open Knowledge Foundation foi lançada em Cambridge pelo empreendedor e economista Rufus Pollock. Na época, os dados abertos eram um conceito totalmente novo. Os usuários mundiais da internet estavam pouco acima dos 10%, e o Facebook ainda estava em sua infância. Mas Rufus previu o enorme potencial e os enormes riscos da era digital moderna. Ele acreditava no acesso à informação para todos sobre como vivemos, o que consumimos e quem somos – por exemplo, como nossos impostos são gastos, o que há nos alimentos que ingerimos ou nos medicamentos que tomamos e de onde vem a energia para abastecer nossas cidades. A partir de origens humildes, a Open Knowledge Foundation cresceu em todo o mundo e foi pioneira na forma como usamos dados hoje, se esforçando para construir conhecimento aberto no governo, nos negócios e na sociedade civil – e criando a tecnologia para tornar o material aberto útil. Criamos uma definição de abertura, Open Definition, que ainda é a referência hoje – que dados e conteúdo abertos podem ser usados ​​livremente, modificados e compartilhados por qualquer pessoa para qualquer finalidade. Com funcionários em seis continentes, nos tornamos conhecidos como Open Knowledge International e lançamos projetos em dezenas de países. Ao celebrarmos nosso 15º aniversário hoje, nosso mundo mudou drasticamente. Grandes empresas de tecnologia que não prestam conta de suas ações monopolizaram a era digital, e uma concentração insustentável de riqueza e poder levou a um crescimento atrofiado e a oportunidades perdidas. Quando isso acontece, são os consumidores, os inovadores do futuro e a sociedade que perdem. Vivemos em tempos poderosos, onde o maior perigo não é o caos, mas ficar no passado. Assim, quando alcançamos um marco importante na jornada da nossa organização, reconhecemos que é hora de novas regras para esse novo mundo digital. Decidimos voltar a focar nossos esforços no motivo pelo qual fomos criados em 2004, “promover a abertura de todas as formas de conhecimento” e retornar ao nosso nome como Open Knowledge Foundation. Nossa visão é para um futuro que seja justo, livre e aberto. Esse será o nosso princípio orientador em tudo o que fazemos. Nossa missão é criar um mundo mais aberto – um mundo onde todas as informações não pessoais estejam abertas, livres para que todos usem, construam e compartilhem; e onde criadores e inovadores sejam reconhecidos e recompensados de maneira justa. Entendemos que frases como “dados abertos” e “conhecimento aberto” não são amplamente compreendidas. É nosso trabalho mudar isso. Os próximos 15 anos e além não devem ser temidos. Vivemos em uma época em que os avanços tecnológicos oferecem oportunidades incríveis para todos nós. Este é um momento para ter esperanças sobre o futuro e inspirar aqueles que querem construir uma sociedade melhor. Queremos ver sociedades iluminadas em todo o mundo, onde todos tenham acesso a informações essenciais e a capacidade de usá-las para entender e modelar suas vidas; onde instituições poderosas são compreensíveis e prestam contas; e onde informações vitais de pesquisa que podem nos ajudar a enfrentar desafios como pobreza e mudança climática estão disponíveis para todos. Nosso trabalho se concentrará na saúde, onde o acesso a medicamentos exige um novo pensamento, e na educação, onde a nova lei de direitos autorais em toda a UE impacta tanto na pesquisa acadêmica quanto na capacidade das pessoas em acessar conhecimento. Também nos concentraremos no emprego, inclusive no combate à crescente desigualdade de padrões e condições de trabalho, e na capacidade de criadores e inovadores serem justamente recompensados. Isso alcança o coração de um futuro justo, livre e aberto, onde há oportunidade para todos. Também definimos cinco pedidos para as eleições europeias desta semana e vamos pressionar os deputados de toda a Europa a darem prioridade a estes, quando o Parlamento Europeu regressar no Verão. Em primeiro lugar, combateremos a introdução do artigo 17º das reformas da UE em matéria de direitos de autor, que ameaça restringir a partilha de dados e outros conteúdos na Internet para meio bilhão de pessoas na Europa. Também queremos ver medidas de transparência aprimoradas em empresas de mídia social como o Facebook para evitar a disseminação de desinformação e notícias falsas. Reconhecemos as preocupações que as pessoas têm sobre o uso indevido de dados, por isso, defenderemos “dados responsáveis” para garantir que os dados sejam usados ​​de maneira ética e legal e protejam a privacidade. Também queremos persuadir governos e organizações a usar licenças abertas estabelecidas e reconhecidas ao liberar dados ou conteúdo; e teremos como objetivo construir uma rede de defensores da abertura no Parlamento Europeu que pressionem por uma maior abertura em suas próprias nações. Vivemos em uma sociedade do conhecimento onde enfrentamos dois futuros diferentes: um que é aberto e outro que é fechado. Um futuro aberto significa que o conhecimento é compartilhado por todos – livremente disponível para todos, um mundo onde as pessoas são capazes de realizar seu potencial e viver uma vida feliz e saudável. Um futuro fechado é aquele em que o conhecimento é de propriedade exclusiva e controlado, levando a uma maior desigualdade e a um futuro fechado. Com a desigualdade aumentando, nunca antes nossa visão de um futuro justo, livre e aberto foi tão importante para realizar nossa missão de um mundo aberto em tempos complexos. Flattr this!

For a fair, free and open future: celebrating 15 years of the Open Knowledge Foundation

- May 20, 2019 in Featured, News, Open Knowledge Foundation

Fifteen years ago, the Open Knowledge Foundation was launched in Cambridge by entrepreneur and economist Rufus Pollock. At the time, open data was an entirely new concept. Worldwide internet users were barely above the 10 per cent mark, and Facebook was still in its infancy. But Rufus foresaw both the massive potential and the huge risks of the modern digital age. He believed in access to information for everyone about how we live, what we consume, and who we are – for example, how our tax money gets spent, what’s in the food we eat or the medicines we take, and where the energy comes from to power our cities. From humble beginnings, the Open Knowledge Foundation grew across the globe and pioneered the way that we use data today, striving to build open knowledge in government, business and civil society – and creating the technology to make open material useful. We created the Open Definition that is still the benchmark today – that open data and content can be freely used, modified, and shared by anyone for any purpose. With staff on six continents, we became known as Open Knowledge International and launched projects in dozens of countries. As we celebrate our 15th anniversary today, our world has changed dramatically. Large unaccountable technology companies have monopolised the digital age, and an unsustainable concentration of wealth and power has led to stunted growth and lost opportunities. When that happens it is consumers, future innovators and society that loses out. We live in powerful times, where the greatest danger is not the chaos but to rest in the past. So as we reach an important milestone in our organisation’s own journey, we recognise it is time for new rules for this new digital world. We have decided to re-focus our efforts on why we were created in 2004, ‘to promote the openness of all forms of knowledge’, and return to our name as the Open Knowledge Foundation. Our vision is for a future that is fair, free and open. That will be our guiding principle in everything we do. Our mission is to create a more open world – a world where all non-personal information is open, free for everyone to use, build on and share; and creators and innovators are fairly recognised and rewarded. We understand that phrases like ‘open data’ and ‘open knowledge’ are not widely understood. It is our job to change that. The next 15 years and beyond are not to be feared. We live in a time when technological advances offer incredible opportunities for us all. This is a time to be hopeful about the future, and to inspire those who want to build a better society. We want to see enlightened societies around the world, where everyone has access to key information and the ability to use it to understand and shape their lives; where powerful institutions are comprehensible and accountable; and where vital research information that can help us tackle challenges such as poverty and climate change is available to all. Our work will focus on health, where access to medicines requires new thinking, and on education where new EU-wide copyright law impacts on both academic research and on people’s ability to access knowledge. We will also concentrate on employment, including tackling the growing inequality from working patterns and conditions, and the ability for creators and innovators to be fairly compensated. This reaches to the heart of a fair, free and open future where there is opportunity for all. We have also set out five demands for this week’s European elections and will push for MEPs from across Europe to prioritise these when the European Parliament returns in summer. Firstly, we will fight the introduction of Article 17 of the EU’s copyright reforms which threatens to restrict the sharing of data and other content on the internet for half-a-billion people in Europe. We also want to see improved transparency measures at social media companies like Facebook to prevent the spread of disinformation and fake news. We recognise the concerns that people have about the misuse of data, so we will champion ‘responsible data’ to ensure that data is used ethically and legally, and protects privacy. We also want to persuade governments and organisations to use established and recognised open licences when releasing data or content; and we will aim to build a network of open advocates in the European Parliament who will push for greater openness in their own nations. We live in a knowledge society where we face two different futures: one which is open and one which is closed. An open future means knowledge is shared by all – freely available to everyone, a world where people are able to fulfil their potential and live happy and healthy lives. A closed future is one where knowledge is exclusively owned and controlled leading to greater inequality and a closed future. With inequality rising, never before has our vision of a fair, free and open future been so important to realise our mission of an open world in complex times.

Google Funds Frictionless Data Initiative at Open Knowledge

- February 1, 2016 in BigQuery, ckan, Data Package, Google, News, Open Knowledge, Open Knowledge Foundation

We are delighted to announce that Open Knowledge has received funding from Google to work on tool integration for Data Packages as part of our broader work on Frictionless Data to support the open data community.

What are Data Packages?

The funding will support a growing set of tooling around Data Packages.  Data Packages provide functionality for data similar to “packaging” in software and “containerization” in shipping: a simple wrapper and basic structure for the transportation of data that significantly reduces the “friction” and challenges associated with data sharing and integration. Data Packages also support better automation in data processing and do so without imposing major changes on the underlying data being packaged.  As an example, comprehensive country codes is a Data Package which joins together standardized country information from various sources into a single CSV file. The Data Package format, at its simplest level, allows its creator to provide information describing the fields, license, and maintainer of the dataset, all in a machine-readable format. In addition to the basic Data Package format –which supports any data structure– there are other, more specialised Data Package formats: Tabular Data Package for tabular data and based on CSV, Geo Data Package for geodata based on GeoJSON. You can also extend Data Package with your own schemas and create topic-specific Data Packages like Fiscal Data Package for public financial data.   Screen Shot 2016-02-01 at 8.57.44 AM

What will be funded?

The funding supports adding Data Package integration and support to CKAN, BigQuery, and popular open-source SQL relational databases like PostgreSQL and MySQL / MariaDB.

CKAN Integration

CKAN is an open source data management system that is used by many governments and civic organizations to streamline publishing, sharing, finding and using data. This project implements a CKAN extension so that all CKAN datasets are automatically available as Data Packages through the CKAN API. In addition, the extension ensures that the CKAN API natively accepts Tabular Data Package metadata and preserves this information on round-tripping.

BigQuery Integration

This project also creates support for import and export of Tabular Data Packages to BigQuery, Google’s web service querying massive datasets. This involves scripting and a small online service to map Tabular Data Package to BigQuery data definitions. Because Tabular Data Packages already use CSV as the data format, this work focuses on the transformation of data definitions.

General SQL Integration

Finally, general SQL integration is being funded which would cover key open source databases like PostgreSQL and MySQL / MariaDB. This will allow data packages to be natively used in an even wider variety of software that depend on these databases than those listed above. These integrations move us closer to a world of “frictionless data”. For more information about our vision, visit: Data OKFN If you have any questions, comments or would like more information, please visit this topic in our OKFN Discuss forum.  

Open Knowledge appoints Pavel Richter as new CEO

- April 29, 2015 in Featured, News, Open Knowledge, Open Knowledge Foundation, Press

I am delighted to announce we have found the newest member of the Open Knowledge team: Pavel Richter joins us as our new CEO! Pavel Richter Pavel’s appointment marks a new chapter in the development of Open Knowledge, which, over the last ten years, has grown into one of the leading global organisations working on open data and open knowledge in government, research, and culture. Pavel has a rich and varied background including extensive time both in business and in the non-profit sector. In particular, Pavel brings his experience from over five years as the Executive Director of Wikimedia Deutschland: under his leadership, it grew to more than 70 staff, an annual budget of nearly 5 million Euros, and initiated major new projects such as Wikidata. Pavel’s engagement follows an extensive international search, led by a team including members of the Board of Directors as well as a Community Representative. Personally, I am delighted and excited to welcome Pavel as CEO. This appointment represents an important step in the development of Open Knowledge as an organisation and community. Over the last decade, and especially in the last five years, we have achieved an immense amount. Going forward one of our most important opportunities – and challenges – will be to forge and catalyse a truly global movement to put openness at the heart of the information age. Pavel’s experience, insight and passion make him more than equal to this task and I am thrilled to be able to work with him, and support him, as he takes on this role.

Review DH Summit 2015: Tagung zu Digitalen Geisteswissenschaften (DH)

- March 6, 2015 in DARIAH, Deutschland, Featured, Open Knowledge Foundation

Bild von @MKerzel

Bild von @MKerzel

Digitale Geisteswissenschaften oder auch „Digital Humanities“ (DH) – dieser Begriff umfasst den systematischen Ausbau digitaler Sammlungen und Objekte sowie die Entwicklung computergestützter Auswertungs- und Nutzungsverfahren für die geistes- und kulturwissenschaftliche Forschung und Lehre. Zentrales Thema des diesjährigen DH Summits 2015 am 3. und 4. März 2015 in Berlin war die zukünftige Entwicklung von digitalen Forschungsinfrastrukturen für die Geistes- und Kulturwissenschaften. Rund 300 Experten aus Wissenschaft und Politik waren der Einladung der beiden Forschungsinfrastrukturprojekte „Digital Research Infrastructures for the Arts and Humanities“ (DARIAH-DE) und „TextGrid – Virtuelle Forschungsumgebung für die Geisteswissenschaften“ gefolgt. Von dem Summit wurden weit über 1.000 Tweets am ersten Tag abgesetzt. Hier eine Auswahl der Tweets passend zu den jeweiligen DH Summit Tagungsprogrammpunkten: In kürze veröffentlichen wir an dieser Stelle auch eine Auswahl von Tweets vom zweiten Tag des DH Summits 2015. Hintergrund: Die BMBF-geförderten Projekte DARIAH-DE und TextGrid tragen dazu bei, europaweit state-of-the-art Aktivitäten der Digitalen Geisteswissenschaften zu bündeln und zu vernetzen. Die Open Knowledge Foundation Deutschland e.V. ist Partner von DARIAH-DE und unterstützt das Netzwerk bei der Dissemination.

International Open Data Day in Deutschland

- February 26, 2015 in Open Knowledge Foundation

ODD 2015 im Rückblick

Am vergangenen Samstag war International Open Data Day. Rund um den Globus gab es Events zum Thema Offene Daten. In Deutschland haben die OK Labs von Code for Germany wieder teilgenommen und Hackathons und Workshops in ihren Städten veranstaltet. Leipzig, Münster, München, Köln, Heilbronn (in Mannheim), Berlin und Ulm haben mitgemacht. Open-Data-Begeisterte in Frankfurt, Jena, Magdeburg und Karlsruhe haben darüber hinaus den Open Data Day genutzt, um neue OK Labs zu launchen! Die Community hat gehackt, diskutiert, neue Mitglieder begrüßt und zahlreiche Projekte entwickelt. Hier gibts einen Überblick über die Open-Data-Day-Treffen deutschlandweit. Screen Shot 2015-02-23 at 11.19.20

Code for München launcht „München Transparent”

- January 28, 2015 in offene Daten, Open Knowledge Foundation, Transparenz

Nachdem letzte Woche das Licht der Welt erblickt hat, geht heute das Projekt „München Transparent“ an den Start, welches in dem Münchener OK Lab unseres Code for Germany Projektes entstand. Die unabhängige Plattform ermöglicht es Münchener BürgerInnen, schnell und einfach Einblicke in die Kommunalpolitik zu bekommen, indem normalerweise nur schwer zugängliche Daten aus dem Münchener Ratsinformationssystem übersichtlich und ansprechend aufbereitet werden. Screen Shot 2015-01-27 at 11.09.49 Insgesamt über 160.000 gescannte Dokumente umfasst die Datenbank derzeit, von Stadtratsanträgen über Beschlussvorlagen bis hin zum täglich erscheinenden Rathaus-Magazin „Rathausumschau“. So lässt sich erfahren, was eigentlich der Münchner Stadtrat gerade macht und welche Themen in den lokalen Stadtteilparlamenten oder den Bezirksausschüssen anstehen. „München Transparent“ will jedoch nicht nur reine Daten liefern, sondern auch die Abläufe der Stadtpolitik erklären. Aus diesem Grund gibt es neben einem ausführlichen Glossar über wichtige Konzepte der Kommunalpolitik auch eine grundlegende Erklärung, welche Wege Stadtratsinitiativen nehmen, bevor sie schließlich zu konkreter Politik werden – um so das bekannte „Warum dauert das so lange?“ zumindest teilweise zu erklären. Dieser Bereich wird in Bälde noch ausgebaut. Neben einem RSS-Feed und einer Kalenderanbindung haben Bürgerinnen und Bürger die Möglichkeit sich per per E-Mail benachrichtigen lassen, sobald es neue Dokumente gibt, die gewählten Suchkriterien entsprechen. Außerdem bietet die Seite Informationen über die gewählten Stadträtinnen und Stadträte, die Mitglieder der Bezirksausschüsse, Termine, Tagesordnungen und Protokolle von Sitzungen sowie eine Liste der Satzungen, die für die Stadt München gelten. Die Software hinter „München Transparent“ ist Open Source (den Quellcode gibt es auf GitHub) und wurde von Tobias Hößl, Bernd Oswald und Konstantin Schütze im Rahmen des Münchner „OK Labs“ ( entwickelt, dem lokalen Ableger der von der Open Knowledge Foundation organisierten Treffpunkte für Open-Data-Interessierte aller Art. In naher Zukunft soll es außerdem eine Implementierung der OParl-API geben, die speziell für die Anbindung an Ratsinformationssysteme ausgelegt ist.