[od-discuss] Fwd: [euopendata] [sunlightlabs] 10 principles for open data]

Rufus Pollock rufus.pollock at okfn.org
Fri Aug 13 10:11:25 UTC 2010

Some interesting recent discussion of the Open Definition related to
government data.


---------- Forwarded message ----------
From: Antti Poikola <antti.poikola at gmail.com>
Date: 13 August 2010 09:28
Subject: Re: [euopendata] [sunlightlabs] 10 principles for open data]
To: EU Open Data Working Group <euopendata at lists.okfn.org>


Many of yoy propably follow also the sunlight foundation list. There
has been quite vivid discussion about "Principles for open data".

This latest post compares some principles thatn can be found from the
web including the "Open Knowledge Definition".


On 08/12/2010 05:19 PM, Joseph Lorenzo Hall wrote:
> Hey Josh, can we get a link? ::) best wishes, Joe
> On Wed, Aug 11, 2010 at 5:13 PM, Josh Tauberer<tauberer at govtrack.us>  wrote:
>> I think you've seen it, but I thought for others I should just note that I
>> wrote a similar but much longer update to the original 8 principles last
>> year. It's on the revamped www.opengovdata.org site.

Here's the direct link:

In summary, the total list of recommendations I found (and liked) were:

1. Available on the Internet for free (OKD's "access" and Sunlight's
Principles for Transparency in Government)

>From the original 8 (some overlapping with the OKD):

2. Primary (and I'd throw "Complete" in here, in retrospect --- I
never really understood "complete" although I had a dream about it
3. Timely
4. Accessible (industry standards, bulk)
5. Machine Processable
6. Non-discriminatory
7. Non-proprietary
8. License-free

Clay Johnson first pointed out to me the obvious missing one, and
Silona Bonewald has looked at it more concretely:

9. Permanence / Preservation

>From the Association of Computing Machinery's Recommendation on Open Government:

10. Formats and Approaches that Promote Analysis
11. Safe file formats that don't contain executable content
12. Provenance and trust

>From the Association of Government Accountants, and to some extent the
Open House Project and the 8 Principles:

13. Public Input
14. Public Review of the Data Collection Process

>From me:

15. Engage in interagency coordination when it would be useful to
establish basic standards
16. Avoid singling out technologies that are also endorsements for
particular corporations

>From Google: Use sitemaps, robots, and deep-searchable forms properly

Use globally unique identifiers for things in the data

>From me, W3C: Use Linked Open Data (i.e. semantic web tech)

In my opinion, only the first 8 truly describe "open government data".
Everything else is icing on the cake --- how to do openness well, but
beyond at least the first hurdle of making it minimally open. That's
why I call these best practices for open government data, rather than
simply principles of open government data. So despite all of what I
listed, I don't find a compelling reason to actually "revise" the
original 8 Principles when we're looking for a definition of openness
that's suitable for government. (The OKD is great but I think the bar
is too low for government.) But, clearly, there is a long list of
things a data publisher can do to make the data better and better for
reuse, and so there are a lot of potential best practices.

Since the Sebastopol meeting there had been a few attempts on the
related mail list and wiki to make the 8 Principles more reader
friendly. The results weren't terribly good IMO, which is why I went
off and wrote the doc above. (Thanks go to Gunnar, btw, for some help
with that.)

If others can make it even friendlier, great. (Am I going to get
involved in rehashing the details again? Probably not.) But, I would
like to suggest we avoid further fragmentation on this. We
accidentally fragmented when the Sebastopol meeting went forward
without knowledge of the work of the Open Knowledge Foundation in the
UK. And lo and behold today there are two sites on this topic,
www.opengovdata.org which came out of Sebastopol (and which I'm
stewarding since no one else is) and www.opengovernmentdata.org (!!)
from the OKF guys. Plus the OpenMuni Wiki, and Daniel's wiki page.

There are some legitimate reasons for keeping some of these things
separate. There's a real cultural difference between openness in the
US and openness in the UK and in what seems to be a European tradition
--- and so I don't think we here in the US will be able to reconcile
exactly with the OKF guys. But otherwise it would be a great idea to
try to keep these sorts of resources unified.

- Josh Tauberer
- CivicImpulse / GovTrack.us

http://razor.occams.info | www.govtrack.us | civicimpulse.com

"Members of both sides are reminded not to use guests of the
House as props."

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