[okfn-announce] Open Knowledge Foundation Newsletter No.17 Jan - March 2011

Theodora Middleton theodora.middleton at okfn.org
Thu Apr 21 20:26:53 BST 2011

Open Knowledge Foundation Newsletter No.17 Jan - March 2011

Welcome to the seventeenth Open Knowledge Foundation newsletter!


 * Announcing... The Open Data Challenge!
 * OKCon 2011: Call for Participation
 * New Working Group on Open Economics launches Yourtopia.net
 * GetTheData.org and OpenDataSearch.org
 * Public Domain Day 2011: Launch of the Public Domain Review
 * OKF on the ePSI Platform team
 * Open Bibliographic Data Challenge!
 * Open Shakespeare Annotation Sprint
 * Other News in Brief
 * Thanks to our volunteers!
 * Support the Open Knowledge Foundation
 * Further Information

The Open Knowledge Foundation is a community-driven not-for-profit
organisation, and volunteers are behing everything we do. All our
services are provided openly and for free: your support can help
ensure we can continue and expand our work. To find out more about
supporting OKF, visit <http://www.okfn.org/support>


We're really excited to announce the launch of the first pan-European
Open Data Challenge. It opened on the 5th April, and you've got 60
days to submit your entries - with a prize of €20,000 up for grabs!
The idea is to encourage people to think of interesting ways of
reusing public data for the benefit of European citizens. We want
those with programming skills to have a go at building their dream app
using public data. But it doesn’t matter if you aren’t a  computer
geek. There’s a section of the competition called ‘Wouldn’t it  be
cool if…?’, which allows anyone to submit an idea for how to reuse
public data.

To find out more, see the blog post about the launch, and check out the website:

 * <http://blog.okfn.org/2011/04/05/announcing-the-open-data-challenge-a-pan-european-open-data-competition/>
 * <http://opendatachallenge.org/>

Good luck!

OKCON 2011: 31 JUNE - 1 JULY

OKCon is back! The 6th Annual Open Knowledge Conference (OKCon) will
take place on 30th June – 1st July 2011 in Berlin. OKCon is a
wide-ranging conference that brings together individuals and
organizations from across the open knowledge spectrum for two days of
presentations, workshops and exchange of ideas. Here's the conference
in a nutshell:

 * When?: Saturday 30th June & 1st July, 2011
 * Where? Kalkscheune, Johannisstr. 2, 10117 Berlin, Germany (see
map: <http://bit.ly/dUqpPI>)
 * Website: <http://okcon.org/2011>
 * Last Year: <http://okfn.org/okcon/2010/after/>
 * Call for Participation: <http://okcon.org/2011/cfp/>
 * Register: You can sign up at <http://okcon2011.eventbrite.com/>!
 * Hashtag: #okcon2011

For more info, check out <http://okcon.org/2011>

See you there!


Our fledgling Working Group on Open Economics have been hard at it,
and have already launched a new app which they've submitted to the
WorldBank Apps competition! It's called YourTopia, and as well as
having a very simple function - to tell you which country is closest
to your ideal - the app also has a very serious purpose: to help us
develop a real empirical basis for the measures of development that
are used to guide policy-making. For more details see:

 * <http://blog.okfn.org/2011/01/12/introducing-yourtopianet/>
 * <http://yourtopia.net/>


It's amazing to see the pace with which more and more data is becoming
openly available, and to help everyone navigate the rising tides we've
launched two new tools. The first, Get The Data
(<http://getthedata.org/>), lets you ask and answer data-related
questions, like "Where can I find historical weather data?" or "Where
can I find a list of airports with their locations?" In the words of
the developers, "if you want to GetTheData, but can’t for whatever
reason, just ask GetTheData.org"!

The second tool we've launched is the site Open Data Search -
<http://opendatasearch.org/>, a new meta search engine for open data.
It's a global version of the publicdata.eu site we announced in the
last newsletter - an aggregator for datasets, providing a simple and
unified search interface to all of the catalogues contained. We'd love
to have your contributions - get in touch with ckan-discuss:

 * Launch of Get the Data:
 * Launch of Open Data Search:


It's been a great few months for the public domain. January 1st was
Public Domain Day, with the works of creators including Leon Trotsky,
Walter Benjamin, and Paul Klee entering the public domain. To coincide
with Public Domain Day 2011, we launched the Public Domain Review
(http://publicdomainreview.okfn.org/), a a web-based review of works
which have entered the public domain. Each week an invited contributor
will present an interesting or curious public domain work with a brief
accompanying text giving context, commentary and criticism.

This was followed by a workshop in Berlin in January, looking at
promoting the public domain. From that workshop we've set up two new
sites, one with FAQs (http://publicdomain.okfn.org/) about OKFs
activities in the field, and another which will act as a project page
(http://publicdomaincalculators.okfn.org/) for the development of
calculators. Finally, we've now created a standalone code library that
can be integrated into lots of different software packages and
services. Phew!

 * Launch of the Public Domain Review:
 * Berlin workshop on promoting the Public Domain:
 * Introduction to the standalone code library for calculators:


The Open Bibliographic Data Challenge is up and running! We want to
know what you can do with open access to bibliographic data, hear your
great ideas and see your prototypes. There are prizes for the best
submissions - one developer prize has already been awarded but there
are three more up for grabs! Find out more at:

 * <http://openbiblio.net/challenge/>


February saw our first ever Open Shakepseare annotation sprint!
Participants joined in online and in-person to get the whole of Hamlet
annotated in a day, using our new annotator tool. May there be many

 * <http://blog.okfn.org/2011/02/02/open-shakespeare-annotation-sprint/>


We’re proud to announce that the Open Knowledge Foundation is part of
a new team which will take on the maintenance of ePSIplatform project
for the next two years. As many of you will know ePSIplatform is a key
resource for people interested in laws, policies and practices related
to the reuse of European Public Sector Information (PSI).

 * <http://blog.okfn.org/2011/02/09/the-open-knowledge-foundation-will-soon-help-to-run-epsiplatform/>


 * A challenge has been laid down by OpenCorporates, who are offering
bounties for scrapers. Working with ScraperWiki, they're looking for
new screenscrapers to open up company names and numbers, and for each
jurisdiction that gets added they're giving away small bounties. The
basic info is on the OKF blog
and the full details are at the
Open Corporates blog
Happy scraping!

 * ScraperWiki have been busy. They've also been working with Channel
4 News and Dispatches to create visualisations of government assets,
as part of the answer to the question"Should Britain flog of the
family silver?" Find out more on our blog:

 * Congratulations to our friends over at Publish What You Fund, the
global campaign for aid transparency: after two years of negotiations,
the 18 donors of the International Aid Transparency Initiative (IATI)
have agreed the final details of a new global standard for publishing
aid information. AidData, an initiative to make information on
development aid more transparent and accessible, are planning to make
all their respository, covering over 90 donor agencies between 1945
and 2009, available in the new format that the IATI has created by
May. See <http://blog.okfn.org/2011/03/25/the-aid-revolution-begins-with-xml-the-aid-revolution-begins-here/>
for more!

 * We're excited by the launch of Figshare, a new tool for
researchers to share their scientific data, including negative results
and unpublished figures:
All the data that goes up there will also be available through the new
CKAN science group: <http://ckan.net/group/science> - so get

 * Probono Publico have announced that the second edition of the
Desafío AbreDatos (Open Data Challenge) will take place in Spain on
the weekend of May 7th-8th. The contest aims to raise awareness about
the potential of Open Data by  having teams compete in developing
services and applications using  public data in only 48 hours. Find
out more at <http://www.epsiplatform.eu/news/news/desafio_abredatos_spanish_open_data_challenge>.

 * It's fantastic to see Project Gutenberg going from strength to
strength, adding their 40,000th free eBook this March. Once you
include the eBooks they receive from other producers, this raises the
grand total to 100,000! See

 * Another great public domain project comes from Musikpiraten in
Germany: they've compiled a songbook of public domain children's
songs, which they're going to give away to every kindergarten in
Germany - over 50,000 of them!

 * Montreal has passed a mandate for an official city working group
on open-data. You can see the full mandate at
- let's hope it inspires other cities to do the same!

 * Another city-level challenge is coming from Berlin, where a
campaign has been launched to open up Berlin public transport data:
Why not write to the BVG or the VBB and tell them you think it's a
good idea!

 * As Wikipedia celebrated its 10th birthday in January, Wikimedia
Research Comittee have  launched a survey to understand why
scientists, academics and other  experts do (or do not) contribute to
Wikipedia. Find out more, and contribute to the debate, through the
OKF blog: <http://blog.okfn.org/2011/02/24/experts-to-underpin-wikipedia%E2%80%99s-open-wisdom-turning-anecdotes-into-data/>.


As usual, a big thank you to our volunteers and to our extended
virtual community for all of their valuable input! If you'd like to
find out about getting more involved with OKF's work, check out:

 * <http://okfn.org/community/get-involved/>

We want to help the community share their work with the world! If
you've got stories to share, email blog[at]okfn[dot]org.


A donation to the Open Knowledge Foundation would greatly help us with
our overhead costs, including hosting and project development. To find
out more about supporting our work, please visit:

 * <http://www.okfn.org/support>


If you would like to know more about what we are up to, please take a
look at our active projects page.

 * <http://www.okfn.org/projects/>

If you are interested in participating in any of the OKF's projects,
please see our participate page, or join the OKF discuss list.

 * <http://okfn.org/community/get-involved/>
 * <http://lists.okfn.org/mailman/listinfo/okfn-discuss>

For further news and comments, see our blog:


You can follow us on Identi.ca or Twitter at:


The Open Knowledge Foundation is a not-for-profit organization. It is
incorporated in the United Kingdom as a company limited by guarantee
with company number 5133759. The registered office is 37 Panton
Street, Cambridge, CB2 1HL, UK.

Compiled by Theodora Middleton, Newsletter Editor -

More information about the okfn-announce mailing list