I’ve been promising to get this site up since the Open Data for Development Camp, where I first proposed the idea and it found resonance. Here’s the basic proposition, crossposted from my blog:
At the Open Data for Development Camp in May 2011, the idea was floated to encourage organizations to maintain a page on their websites at the /open URL which explains in clear language their Open Data policies and how to get at the data.
Several organizations already do this, including the White House (http://whitehouse.gov/open), the World Bank (http://worldbank.org/open) and the City of Toronto (http://toronto.ca/open), but it is not an established standard.
Let’s talk about it – what do you think should be on every SlashOpen page? What are some good examples to follow? Would it be useful to have a search engine or directory of SlashOpen pages? Would you put a SlashOpen badge on your site to help spread the Open Data movement?
To join in the conversation, leave a comment here or mention @slashopen on twitter. Thanks!
SlashOpen.net is necessary
Now, with the distance of a few months to think about it and having moved from Berlin to Seattle, I remain convinced that SlashOpen.net is very much needed to encourage more organizations to get involved in open data, to make their data more readily available, and to use Open Data from other organizations in their own work. Indeed, anyone gathering any data they think is actually useful should be open minded about sharing some or all of that data using Open Data so that it can be used, reused and redistributed by others.
This is not always an easy sell – even within organizations that are committed to going Open Data or interested in exploring it. SlashOpen.net helps these organizations by encouraging them to set up /open pages to start an open discussion to find out what the world thinks and how others would use it – such as for example http://openforchange.org/open and http://kabissa.org/open. Thanks to the latter and the positive feedback it generated, I was able to convince the Kabissa Board of Directors to move forward with going Open Data.
Meanwhile, those that have taken the Open Data plunge already should also set up /open pages to help connect with likeminded people who are looking for data like yours. Use it to explain to the world what data you are sharing and why, how you hope it will be used by others, and to provide specific instructions for accessing the data – such as for example http://aidinfo.org/open and http://worldbank.org/open.
So the starting point is the /open URL – and if all SlashOpen.net achieves is to encourage more organizations to create /open pages and get everyone accustomed to looking for Open Data at that URL then we will have already done much.
But from there SlashOpen.net can also do more to connect and support Open Data organizations through participatory tools including a Directory of Open Data sites, Badges, Guidelines, help desk services by email, and a community blog.
Request for collaborators!
With all of this in mind, then, I have spent a few hours this morning setting up this new wordpress site, a new facebook page at http://facebook.com/slashopen and the @slashopen twitter account. This was the easy part.
Now it’s time to develop it! Please contact me if you are interested in writing content or creating badges/theme, maintaining the directory, guidelines and other pages, providing helpdesk services, or posting (or crossposting) to the blog about your Open Data experiences and ideas. Thanks!
Founder, Kabissa – Space for Change in Africa