In my last blog post I described Wikitalia as an association inspired by Code For America and MySociety. We are working to develop Wikitalia in several ways. Currently, we’re focused on building capacity in local public administrations to adopt open data and open government practices.

It’s not so simple, but we are trying to find a sustainable business model to survive. It’s one of our goals for this year, and it isn’t the only one. We are working to simplify the association and to focus more on projects and less on process. We Italians love bureaucracy, don’t we?

I’ve heard that “less is more” and I believe it’s a truth that we often forget. As you can see from our projects, several of them are connected directly to the idea of a “wiki-town” or something similar.
The idea belongs to Alberto Cottica, who wrote a book titled “Wikicrazia“. Based on this idea, we are developing a model to manage how Wikitalia itself works in every single city, in a more scalable way. We use direct experiences as sources for the model. After our work with the municipality of Florence in 2012, we are now focused on Matera.

Open Matera: Supporting Open Data projects at the municipal level

One of the projects I’m working on now is Open Matera: if you don’t know Matera, it is a beautiful town in the south of Italy. If you have ever seen “The Passion of the Christ“, directed by Mel Gibson, it was filmed on location in Matera (here is an article with more information about the town).

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Open Data in Italy has a lot to tell about some stories characterised by a really interesting bottom-up approach.
I like the idea that we should innovate without permission, as David Osimo said some time ago and many other experts agreed. “ We can make an augmented government with the right tools“.

Here are some notes on what’s happening in Italy around these topics.

Working Groups to help municipalities going through Open Data

There is a news on epsiplatform about Alessandria and its initiative related to a multi-stakeholders approach to Open Data. Alessandria is a municipality which has a default: it’s interesting how trasparency and re-use of data will help a better governance.

This isn’t a novelty: Florence had opened Open Data supported by Wikitalia, standing on the shoulders of its communities. We, as a community, can be a sort of “push” actors, and supporters against those who don’t understand the value of these actions inside the government and the administration.

There is also the case of Palermo, who has been publishing Open Data since the 23rd of February (which was the International Open Data Day). Palermo is working to make Open Data an ongoing process, and not only an event fixed during the time. A process which will involve all interested stakeholders who live in the city.

This is the reaction to another action, a blog post written by Andrea Borruso on the quality of the data released, and on the overall process. A post where Andrea made a new dataset from the data released, helping the municipality to think about the value of the quality of the data. This post was shared with the community of Spaghetti Open Data, and gained a lot of attention. The municipality, after a public meeting on this topic, has started a working group to make the overall approach to Open Data a better one. Palermo now wants to make more Open Data, with more attention on the quality of the data, and with a shared strategy with the community.

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Matteo Brunati

Sono un appassionato di tutto quello che ha relazione con la Rete, specie al confine tra tecnologia e società. Open Data e Linked Data sono nuovi livelli di un bene comune digitale, oggi riusabile come se fosse un Lego.
La società dei dati, anche con l’hype dei Big Data, mi affascina: ma serve maggiore riflessione condivisa.

Community Manager @ SpazioDati, su Dandelion API e Atoka.