Open data camp 6: the final reckoning

No open data camp happens without a LOT of help: from the hosts, the sponsors, the camp-makers, the note-takers, and the livebloggers and drawnalists.

But open data camp is valuable and fun – and bids to host the next one are now being taken. If you want us to come to you, then tell us how wonderful your town is, why you would like to have us, and what you can offer. Details on the website!

To read all about ODCamp6, boot up the Twitter hashtag #ODCamp; read the posts on this blog, or read (and even better add to) the session notes on the session grid spreadsheet.

For now, from Aberdeen, in the immortal words of Looney Tunes:

“That’s all folks!”

How can we become better open data producers?

Our session host, Dan Barrett, head of data and search at the UK Parliament, noted that he’d heard two clear messages from the conference so far:

  1. We need to work ever more closely with the users of the data
  2. Need to avoid working on a technical solution that makes an assumption about who our users are and how they will use the data

What else would make data producers better?

Continue reading How can we become better open data producers?

Open data to tackle loneliness

The government recently published a loneliness strategy, asking how support could be provided for people in “society as it is now”. In other words, in a society in which people travel further for work, but shop online and make use of social media.

How could open data support its aims? What data would be useful, where would we find it, and is just sharing that data enough?

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Building engagement with Open Data

A few years ago, our session host, Rory Gianni, through being involved with several open data initiatives, saw that some went on to great success and some weren’t sustainable. One factor that seemed to make a difference was engagement – if you are not involving people outside te organisation, why are you doing it? Even if you’re being driven by the stick of legislation, you could still capture why others would be interested.

He has a set of digital engagement notes on GitHub. These follow on from the five stars of open data engagement, conceived at UkGovCamp in 2012.

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Beyond the public sector

What’s the problem? Open Data Camp 6 in Aberdeen discussed how to get SMEs to publish and use open data. And session leader Prateek Buch from the DCMS said that was important.

But he also wanted to discuss the bigger issue of how public policy could support other kinds of organisation to release data as open data.

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Getting Better Open Data at national, regional and local levels

The UK is amongst the best in the world at releasing Open Data at a national level – but the same can’t be said at other parts of government. What can be done?

Could it be that the data at lower levels is less accessible? For every piece of valuable data, there’s at least one local authority doing it well, but rarely more than a couple. For example, around 100 local authorities have published business rates data, but several hundred more haven’t. The vast majority of local authorities haven’t published empty homes data.

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Open data for health and social care

Session leader Katya Bozukova said that she works for the Lincolnshire Open Research and Innovation Centre, a university-based team that works with charities and SMEs on data driven innovation, and on projects that address the challenges posed by an ageing population.

Her organisation wants to publish open data around its work: “but we know need to do it in an ethical way.” In the meantime,  she would like to know what data sets are already out there, that her organisation might use. What, she asked, were other session members hoping to get out of the session?

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Registers: Accountable government lists of things

What is a Register?

Registers are lists of things published on the web and available via an API.

You maintain accountability, via Blockchain-like technologies called Merkle Trees, which allows you to track back through previous changes, and a single source of truth, meaning that people link back to the central source. A Register has a named owner, responsible for the maintenance and updating of that data. They are sometimes called “Custodians” and should be a subject expert in that field. It is possible to have multiple Custodians. There is a Register of Registers – produced by the GDS.

Continue reading Registers: Accountable government lists of things