[Per ePSI Platform] Making Open Data ‘sexier and more attractive': Christmas is coming

Making the overall Open Data ecosystem more useful and accessible isn’t only a technological issue. If we publish only Linked Open Data stuff out there, we aren’t solving the problem at all.

We need to think about the overall user experience, and more about our potential users, our data remixers. And, on the other hand, how we can make this concept of remixing data visible on mainstream channels?

We need two different things: firstly, be sexier and easier to understand. And secondly, be closer to the people real agenda settings.

The starting point is having more context around data: not only speaking about the contextual geographic information system. I’m speaking about merging different worlds, and different data silos, hiding the way you’re doing that. From mobility data, to Internet of Things sensors data. Citing an article published on GigaOm:

“So while it is true that we have access to more information than ever before, we are not experts on every subject. Thus, it is very difficult to digest it. My concern is that over-information the new way of hiding information. The best way to fight mainstream media disinformation is to demand more context for all the data: we need the “fact-checking journalism” promoted by sites like Gapminder or Open Knowledge. Visualizing.org strives to make sense of issues through data and design with a collection site where designers and all sorts of organizations can upload and share open data sets”.

Demanding more context from our information systems means finding better ways to have the information that we are really looking for. Querying Open Data portals with only one click, for example, improves the usability and the overall user experience. Hiding this querying process another step in the right direction, like Google has done with its Knowledge Graph concept. I’ve also seen some signals during my daily job: [full disclosure: I’m the community manager at SpazioDati]

[Per ePSI Platform] Emergence and Open Data: the chaotic Italian Open Data movement

Years ago I read a beautiful book, written by Steven Johnson, titled “Emergence: The Connected Lives of Ants, Brains, Cities, and Software”

I found it very insightful, with some ideas of what are now common modern day concepts (such as crowdsourcing or collective intelligence) being explained in a clear and documented way. The main concept was the following, taken from Wikipedia:

Emergence refers to the ability of low-level components of a system or community to self-organize into a higher-level system of sophistication and awareness. Johnson notes that this self-reorganizing stems from the bottom up rather than directed by an external control factor. Johnson gives examples of feedback, self-organization and adaptive learning.

Sometimes, when thinking of how Italy is managing the overall Open Government process, I’m convinced that we are a good example of a chaotic emergence system (yes, I know, I’m optimistic). There are some good signals, but only a few.

Continua a leggere [Per ePSI Platform] Emergence and Open Data: the chaotic Italian Open Data movement

[Per ePSI Platform] Interview with Enrico Alletto, co-founder of Open Genova

In Italy there are a lot of bottom-up initiatives related to Open Data and re-use practices: one of these is Open Genova. Enrico Alletto is one of the co-founders of the project.

I think we, as Italians, need to invest in participation as a vector and a backbone of the overall Open Government vision. We have forgotten the meaning of participation. It is really useful to start initiatives like this one from local communities.

Q: What is the Open Genova project? How did it start?

A: Open Genova really began in 2012 after a group of citizens with technical skills got together. The goal of the initiative was to create an informal citizens’ community where sharing ideas and suggesting modernisation at a local level were encouraged and enhanced, forming a community that is a valuable mouthpiece for local administration.

This informal community included both online and offline elements: enabling online participation it is essential to reduce the digital divide between participants. So we created an association that deals with Open Data, free wifi, IT bases and broadband connection.
Open Genova connects bottom-up projects. Citizens are free to join them voluntarily, indicating the hours that they can dedicate to work on these projects.

Q: What do you think Open Genova can do for PSI and re-using?

A: We can for example encourage Open Data releases through projects that use public datasets and common resources such as OpenStreetMap.

Open Genova proposes a mapping project for unused public properties, which can be used by citizens or associations.

We are currently running another project about collective memory. We are analysing a city district, working closely with local authorities, a school and other associations.

Read more on the full article published on epsiplatform.eu.