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We have definitively moved beyond the borders of Europe, and are in the process of becoming a truly global organisation. We now have local groups on six continents, and have recently taken on our first U.S.-based employee. Both of our major conferences this year, the Open Knowledge Conference and the Open Government Data Camp, were held outside the UK, in Berlin and Warsaw respectively. A new Austrian chapter has been incorporated, and chapters in Finland and Belgium are well on their way to full incorporation.
Our organisational expansion, including a large growth in the core team, has enabled increasing autonomy for different aspects of our work. The Open Spending project, established in Spring 2011 and incoporating our flagship WhereDoesMyMoneyGo? project, has gone from strength to strength, and is involved in a number of key initiatives around the world. Of particular note is the team's involvement with the International Aid Transparency Initiative (IATI), for which CKAN is powering the registry, and the Global Initiative for Fiscal Transparency (GIFT), with whom we are offering professional and technical advice. As part of GIFT, we produced a major report, "Technology for Transparent and Accountable Public Finance," which supplies a second pillar to our Open Spending work, tracing the needs of civil society organisations who work with fiscal data.
Our work in the Open Humanities has also proceeded apace over the last twelve months. Long-standing projects such as Open Shakespeare and Open Milton have been consolidated to develop new tools for linking open texts online. The Annotator, first released in May 2011, is developing into a headline project in its own right. Most excitingly, we have received funding from JISC to develop TEXTUS, a platform for working with collections of texts and metadata, that will integrate the Annotator technology to produce new, open-source ways of collaborating and moving between texts. We expect to launch the first exemplar site, okfn.org, in the coming months. The Open Humanities team have also been getting stuck in with international initiatives such as Digital Manuscripts to Europeana (DM2E), for which we are providing the community coordination.
Other key areas of thematic work are Open Bibliography and Open Economics. Both teams have been providing expert contributions to international efforts, as well as developing tools and products within the Foundation. Particularly noteworthy is our work within the JISC Open Bibliography project. Following the resounding success of the first phase of the project in persuading institutions to release their bibliographic metadata, we are now playing a key role in the second phase of the project, developing tools such as BibServer to use the metadata that has been secured.
CKAN continues to be one of our most important activities, and incorporates a number of key projects such as the DataHub and Recline. A lot of work has gone into the development of the new pan-European data portal, publicdata.eu, which will be powered by CKAN. Combined with the development of datacatalogs.org and the numerous new instances of CKAN around the world, this work is edging us towards an increasingly global, interconnected data ecosystem, in which the CKAN software is playing a key role. Efforts have been made over the last year to ensure that open source technologies such as CKAN are recognised as the most natural and safest way to release data openly, and ensure that it remains open in the long term.
Beyond our various tools and services, we have put a strong emphasis over the past year on educational output. The Open Knowledge Foundation believes that open knowledge is not valuable unless it is used, and is committed to ensuring that as many people as possible develop the skills to work with the rapidly expanding output of data. To this end, we have produced two handbooks - the Open Data Handbook and the Data Journalism Handbook - which seek to cover all aspects of working with data in their respective fields, from a basic understanding of why data is important through to the acquisition of technical skills to make data useful. We have also initiated a new project, the School of Data, which will provide online, peer-to-peer training in data "wrangling" skills. We hope to launch the first iteration of the School in Autumn 2012. These projects are important not only for their democratising effects on data usage, but also for ensuring that the right standards of openness are understood and upheld as data becomes increasingly ubiquitous (and valuable) in people's lives.
In sum, it has been a crucial year for open knowledge, and a correspondingly crucial year for the Foundation. To facilitate the expansion in our activities, we have recruited a large number of new staff. We have also taken on two new Foundation Coordinators, Laura James and Marcus Dapp, who are working together with Rufus Pollock to help the Open Knowledge Foundation in its transition to greater organisational maturity. We have been developing more formal structures for the Foundation, to help clarify lines of communication and improve workflow efficiency.
The OKFN Labs project was officially launched in February 2012. It brings together various Open Knowledge Foundation experimental and prototype projects. It incorporates projects which were already extant and new projects which have been established since the launch of the Labs. Projects which are currently in Labs are indicated.
TEXTUS is an open source platform for working with collections of texts and metadata. It enables users to transcribe, translate, and annotate texts, and to manage associated bibliographic data. It was first announced in December 2011, prompted by efforts towards a new project, OpenPhilosophy.org. In February 2012 the project secured funding from JISC for its initial development. The first TEXTUS instance will be the new OpenPhilosophy.org. The project has a distinguished advisory board, including:
David Bourget, Director of the Centre for Computing in Philosophy, Institute of Philosophy, University of London
The project will build on existing Open Knowledge Foundation work including the Annotator and BibServer. Currently a prototype TEXTUS platform is being developed, and public domain philosophical works are being selected for inclusion on OpenPhilosophy.org. Textus is part of OKFN Labs.
As part of the project we also launched the okfn.org blog and began mapping key contacts working in the area of open data in cultural heritage across Europe.
These are projects of the Open Resources in the Humanities Working Group. Open Shakespeare and Open Milton have continued to develop, with the launch of both Annotator and TEXTUS establishing them as prototypes in a broader project on the relationship between technology and texts. In September 2011, Open Shakespeare also hosted a series of articles on “Shakespeare and the Internet”.
The Public Domain Review had a strong first year. It now has over 1800 subscribers, and 1000 unique visitors every day.
The OKF were partners in the successful JISC-funded Open Bibliography intiative, which secured the release of large amounts of bibliographic metadata. The final report from that project was published in July 2011.
The Open Knowledge Foundation secured a second year of JISC funding for work on open bibliographic data, to be carried out in partnership with Cambridge University Library, building on the data releases secured in the first year. JISC Open Biblio 2 began in September 2011, and finishes in June 2012. We have organised a number of hack days and code sprints to build on the tools that we are developing for the project.
BibServer is a tool for sharing collections of bibliographic metadata. It has been refined as part of the Open Biblio 2 project, with a number of sprints taking place from May to August 2011. In February 2012, we launched BibSoup.net, an exemplar of what can be built using BibServer. BibServer is an OKFN Labs project.
The focus of these projects is now to work with existing collections to help identify the public domain works within those collections, rather than to develop a standalone website.
The latest version of our public domain calculators has recently been released. These are now linked with the national copyright flowcharts developed as part of the Europeana project. The back-end has been rewritten to allow for national calculators to be written as simple RDF files that subsist independently of the underlying code, making them extensible and maintainable. There remains further work to do in improving accuracy, as single-source metadata is often improperly formatted or incomplete.
In the autumn of 2011, the Open Economics Working Group created the Open Knowledge Index designed to measure and track countries' progress in opening up information, data and knowledge in a broader sense to the public.
In May 2012 the Open Economics Working Group created YourTopia Italia which is an application for a user-defined multi-dimensional index of regional social progress in Italy. The application won a special prize at the Apps4Italy competition, organised by the Italian Ministry of Public Administration and Innovation and a panel of experts, looking for useful and interesting solutions using Italian public data. This is an OKFN Labs project.
In June 2011, the Open Spending website went live. Open Spending now incorporates the long-running WhereDoesMyMoneyGo? project, the Spending Stories project, and works closely with the OKF Deutschland Offener Haushalt project. OpenSpending v0.10 was released in September 2011.
In July we released visualisations and data on the Ugandan budget and aid receipts, in collaboration with Publish What You Fund, which were published in the Guardian in November. In October 2011 the Open Spending blog was launched, with a focus on developing our Spending Stories ideas by encouraging journalist-programmer interaction. The Open Spending team have also been involved with the development of the Data Journalism Handbook.
The OpenSpending.mobi project was nominated in the Living Labs Global Awards in March 2012. It is a project to create a mobile app that uses augmented reality to promote participatory budgeting. We have received some interest in funding the project for development.
In January 2012, with the support of the Open Society Institute, we began a project to map the technology needs of Civil Society Organisations around the world in relation to public spending and budget information. The report was published in May 2012, and presented at that month’s GIFT conference in Brasilia.
The Open Knowledge Foundation became a partner in the International Aid Transparency Initiative, to make data about aid spending easier to access, use and understand. CKAN is powering the IATI registry. The data has then been loaded into OpenSpending to create visualisations.
In June 2011 we released new visualisation for Open Spending. The BubbleTree can be used to display any hierarchical (spending) data in an interactive visualization. The setup is independent from the OpenSpending platform, but has an optional integration module to connect with data from the OpenSpending API. This is an OKFN Labs project.
CKAN has now been running for five years, and continues to be one our most important products. In May 2011 we released CKAN v1.4, including a number of extensions such as the storage extension, harvesting of metadata from other sources, and automatic link checking. Successive releases in July, August and September culminated in the release of v1.5 in November 2011, including geospatial features. CKAN v1.6 was released in March 2012, including live data previews and visualisations; major improvements to datasets, resources, and groups; and a QA (quality assurance) extension, which automatically calculates ‘5 stars of openness’ scores and keeps track of broken links. In May 2012, v1.7 was released.
The datapkg command-line tool was renamed “dpm” in October 2011, and released in v0.9.
In August 2011, Austria adopted CKAN as its default data registry for all open government data and software; in January 2012 Serbian and Estonian instances of CKAN were established; and in March 2012 a Chicago instance was launched. As of March 2012, CKAN powers over 40 data hubs globally, and includes around 3300 datasets.
Ckan.net was renamed the DataHub in July 2011, to clarify the distinction from okfn.org, the software site. This has enabled us to focus more clearly on the end users of the DataHub, as opposed to the portal owners running instances of CKAN. In March 2012 we launched theDataStore, a feature for the DataHub which allows users to store and load structured data into a database. A new release of the DataStore accompanied the release of CKAN v1.7 in May 2012, adding a number of new features.
The Recline Data Explorer was launched in February 2012. It is an open-source tool for exploring and visualising data through your browser, and is used on the DataHub for browser-based visualisation of structured data. CKAN v1.7, released in May 2012, permitted a number of important developments in Recline, including table view, graphing and mapping. Recline is an OKFN Labs project.
The Open Knowledge Foundation is a partner in the pan-European LOD2 project, a four year Linked Open Data project for Europe. In January 2012, it was announced that CKAN would power the new European Commission data portal, publicdata.eu. The Foundation will also be helping to build the site. The site is expected to go live in June 2012.
Datacatalogs.org was announced in June 2011. It is a registry of open data catalogues around the world. It includes those powered by CKAN as well as many other open data catalogues. It is part of an effort to improve standards and interoperability across open data catalogues. As of May 2012 there are 250 registered catalogues available.
Get the Data, our tool for asking and answering data-related questions, continues to be well-used. Over 250 data queries have been asked and answered since its launch, with some queries gaining several thousand views.
Pybossa is a free, open source platform that for creating and running crowd-sourcing applications that utilise online assistance in performing tasks that require human cognition, knowledge or intelligence such as image classification or transcription. It takes over from the Data Digitizer project, first announced in November 2011. Pybossa was intitiated in Spring 2012, and will be launched in June 2012. It is an OKFN Labs project.
Europe's Energy, a standalone project offering visualisations of energy targets and consumption in the EU, was awarded a prize at the Malofiej visualisation awards in March 2012. This is an OKFN Labs project.
The Versioned Domain Model project has been incorporated into OKFN Labs.
The Open Definition was translated into Bulgarian in June 2011, and into Telugu in November 2011. There are now tranlsations of the definition into 27 languages.
In February 2012 we launched a new service, the Open Licenses Service, as part of the Open Definition project. The service provides information for those licenses which conform to the Open Definition and the Open Source Definition.
We also now offer a series of web buttons which can be used to indicate that the material being distributed is open.
Open Data Commons remains an active Open Knowledge Foundation project, but does not have anything to report this year.
The Panton Principles for Open Science have been translated into ten languages. As part of our promotion of the Panton Principles we appointed two “Panton Fellows” in Spring 2012, each of whom receives a one year stipend from the Foundation to support their contribution to open science. We also launched the Panton Discussions, a series of open science podcasts, in May 2012.
The Open Bibliography principles have been translated into seven languages, including German, Hungarian, and Norwegian.
The Data Journalism Handbook was launched in April 2012 following a series of events through the year around data journalism. In collaboration with the European Journalism Centre, we ran a series of sessions including a 48 hour workshop at the Mozilla Festival in London in November 2011. The handbook was released at the International Journalism Festival in Perugia. The handbook attracted a high number of contributors both from the developer and journalist communities, including:
Mario Blejman, Hacks/Hackers, Buenos Aires
In Autumn 2010, the intial text for an “Open Data Manual” was put together through book sprints in Berlin and at the Open Government Data Camp 2010. The project was expanded to produce the Open Data Handbook, which was released in February 2012. It discusses the legal, technical and social aspects of open data, with a particular focus on government data.
The School of Data was announced in February 2012. It is a joint venture between the Open Knowledge Foundation and Peer 2 Peer University (P2PU), providing online training for data “wrangling” skills. It incorporates the Data Wrangling Handbook (previously datapatterns.org), which is currently under development. We expect to launch the first iteration of the school in Autumn 2012.
A new working group focusing on open access in scientific research was established in February 2012. Currently members include:
Mike Taylor, Index Data
The groups aims to establish a universally accepted definition of open access, and is using the Budapest Open Access Initiative Definition. The group aims to:
Build a new generation of tools to maximise the value of open access publishing
A new working group for open design was established in March 2012, with the collaboration of Aalto University Media Factory. Current members include:
Andrés Múnera, Universidad Pontificia Bolovariana
The group will focus on Open Design in all its various facets (from design as a blueprint to design as process to design as an artefact) and applications (product design, graphic design, fashion design etc). The group aims to:
collaborate with designers, artists, hackers and makers across the spectrum of the field as a hub for low cost, community-driven projects around Open Design
Our first chapter, established in 2010, has been going from strength to strength. In August 2011, it launched a new freedom of information portal for Germany, FraagDenStaat. It organised the Apps for Germany competition, announced in July 2011 and launched in November 2011. It is running www.offenedaten.de, the unofficial portal for German public sector information which is powered by CKAN. It also ran an Open Aid Hackday in Berlin in September.
Launch of Apps4deutschland (blog post)
The OKF's Austrian chapter was established in June 2011. In the same month, they organised the Open Government Data Conference 2011 in Vienna attracting a wide range of stakeholders from the national and international community. In August 2011 they helped to secure the adoption of CKAN and CC-BY as the national defaults for the release of open government data in Austria. In March 2012 they hosted a session to assist the OKF Czech group develop open data in the Czech Republic, and organised an Open Data and Business Day in Vienna. They also supported the cities of Vienna and Linz to launch their open data portals in May and October 2011 respectively.
The Belgium Chapter is currently incubating, in preparation for incorporation as an OKFN Chapter. It has a members' wiki, and the homepage is currently under construction. The first public meeting was held in November 2011, and a founders' meeting was held in February 2012.
The Finland chapter is currently incubating, in preparation for incorporation as an OKFN Chapter. The first public meeting of the chapter was held in November 2011, and the chapter now has monthly meetups. The chapter is helping organise this year's OKFest in Helsinki.
There are now twelve local groups at different stages of development. Local groups will establish a discussion list, a public homepage, a member’s wiki, and local meet-ups. The OKFN:Local groups are:
This year's Open Knowledge Conference (OKCon) took place in Berlin from June 30th to July 1st. It was preceded by 3 days of hackdays and workshops. The event brought together around 400 people from across the Open Knowledge spectrum. Speakers included:
Nickolay Georgiev, Open Source Ecology
You can find post-event information, including video, photos and slides, on the post-event information page:
The second Open Government Data Camp took place in Warsaw on the 20th and 21st October 2011, with satellite events running from the 17th to 26th October. We hosted the event in partnership with Centrum Cyfrowe. Over 400 representatives from 40 countries attended, making it the world's largest Open Government Data event. Speakers included:
Chris Taggart, OpenCorporates
Full post-event information, including video, photos and slides, is available on the post-event information page:
The OKF has put a growing emphasis on meetups over the last year, as part of our push to develop more local nodes around the world. We have a Meet-ups site for the planning of regular local meetups. There are currently 58 OKFN communities registered on the Meetups site, many of whom are meeting on a monthly or bimonthly basis.
We have organised a growing array of workshops on specific themes across the field of open knowledge. In August 2011 we organised a TextCamp in London, which started the process of building up our Annotator project and building towards our new TEXTUS project. From September to November 2011, we organised a series of workshops and hackdays around data journalism, in conjunction with the European Journalism Centre, which ultimately led to the Data Journalism Handbook. As part of the International Open Data Day 2011, we held a hackday in December 2012 that brought together our OpenSpending and CKAN teams. The Open Economics Working Group organised two Hackdays in 2012: on January 28th about Measuring Social Progress, and on March 3rd about Energy and Climate.
We have participated in numerous events across the world. Representatives from the OKF have given talks and presentations at events including:
The Open Knowledge Foundation will continue to expand over the coming year, taking on new staff to enable us to meet our growing commitments. We are going to continue investing in the expansion of our global network, and hope to see more groups become fully incorporated as legal chapters of the OKFN. This year we plan to merge our two annual conferences, OKCon and the Open Government Data Camp, into one event, OKFest, to be held in Helsinki in September 2012. This event will be significant for the profile both of the Foundation and of open knowledge in general, and is set to be the world's biggest ever open data event.
We will be seeking to expand our role in the burgeoning number of international initiatives around open data, such as GIFT and the Europeana project. We see the professional and technical services we can offer to such initiatives as being a very significant aspect of the value-generating work that the Foundation engages in. As we maintain our commitment to openness, we are finding new ways to ensure the financial sustainability of the Foundation, and such professional and technical skills are a key element in that model.
We will also continue to build on our research and educational efforts from the last year. We would like to continue augmenting our Handbook series, to develop a full set of guides on openness in all the many fields with which we are engaged. The School of Data will be an important part of these endeavours. We aim to provide the standards and expertise for institutions seeking to become more open, as well as using those standards to help to protect the digital commons from enclosure.
A significant focus for this year will be the consolidation of our existing work, including clarification of our organisational structures and chains of communication. This work is essential for organisational sustainability as we move into a new phase, with shifts in our intra-organisational relationships. We aim to achieve these changes with the input and cooperation of all of the Foundation team, to ensure we retain our core values despite the changes in scale. To this end, we will be conducting a survey of all paid staff in June 2012, followed by a summit for the core team in July 2012, which together will address issues of organisational identity and structure. We will be refining and clarifying the visions and aims, both of the Foundation as a whole, and of constituent projects such as CKAN and Open Spending.
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