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Uses Cases and Requirements for the Open Data Directory – Draft Open for Comments

José M. Alonso · April 4, 2013

Quality rich information and content references is a need when you are dealing with innovative environments such as Open Data, where sharing and reusing are necessary routines in order to advance, and to give Open Data initiatives the visibility and recognition they need.

Although only a few years ago it was nearly impossible to find information and examples of Open Government Data initiatives and their components, there are currently a growing and varied number of Open Data resources all over the Web.

Given the increasing number of Open Data-related activities all around the world, and the social, economic or cultural diversity within the different countries, no single person or organization could grasp the whole scope of such a huge amount of information.

Any Government or organization interested in Open Data would greatly benefit from the existing and growing knowledge base and resources, so this scenario represents an invaluable opportunity to construct a neutral and trustable central directory that can help us to structure references, share best practices, and, generally speaking, mobilize the global Open Data community around it.

The Web Foundation has been built on this idea a definition of the functional and architectural requirements for the Open Data Directory platform (ODD) to support such a global directory of Open Data references and related information resources, that can range from scientific papers and studies to blog posts and to applications developed on top of Open Data.

The mission of the ODD would be to:

  • Provide leadership in the domain

  • Federate existing resources and act as a clearinghouse for them

  • Facilitate replication of successful examples

  • Help understand the challenges and benefits associated to Open Data

  • Provide a best practice itself

For that, this reference directory will not initially compile a vast number of references but will give priority to high-quality references endorsed by the Open Data community. The directory will be open to everybody’s contributions, but a group of content curators will be in charge of updates, evaluating any proposed reference before its incorporation.

Although this approach may raise some disadvantages with regards to flexibility it will also lead to great benefits, mainly higher quality and better organisation in the compilation of resources. An intermediate approach where frequent contributors can also act as content curators is also possible.

The expected final result would be a curated directory of valuable organized references that are considered a must know for any Open Data stakeholder, including public administration, academia, civil society, private sector, non-governmental institutions, professional consultants, media and publishing industries or topic specialists among others.

The directory will serve as guidance on issues such as:

  • Existing Open Data initiatives and reference institutions.

  • General questions and doubts about Open Data.

  • Technical questions on associated standards and technologies, such as formats, metadata, linked data, etc.

  • Guidelines and best practices for data publication and reuse.

  • Open Data policies and methodologies.

  • Impact studies and thematic reports: Economic, Social, Legal, Accountability, etc.

  • Implementation of Open Data in strategic areas such as: Health, Science, Transportation, Energy, Education, etc.

  • Educational and dissemination materials.

  • Examples of services, applications and products.

As a first step towards the ODD, we are making public today the Use Cases and Requirements Draft in order to get comments from the wide community on the content of the document itself but also on the overall idea of the ODD. We’ve published it as a Google Document with comments turned on. Suggestions, feedback and comments are very welcome.

The deadline for submitting comments is: April 19th, 2013.

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  1. Gavin Chait

    April 12, 2013

    I'm the head of the Services team at the Open Knowledge Foundation. We develop and deploy the open source data management platform, CKAN.There seems to be considerable overlap between the ODD and what we've already implemented ( The OGPL has just recently agreed to standardise open government data platforms on CKAN, and most of the leading government open data sites run the software.Is there a way for us to collaborate and so extend CKAN faster and further to meet all your use-cases?


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    1. José M. Alonso

      April 18, 2013

      Hey Gavin, sorry for the late response. I'm not sure these are similar things. We should definitely talk about to get a clearer view of what both projects are up to.


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