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.

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Veneto region is where I live, and I love it. This region is working on its local Digital Agenda, and on some guidelines supported by a task force of experts. I had an interview with Gianluigi Cogo, who is the Program Manager of eGovernment Office at the regional government of Veneto, to speak about Digital Agenda and our region’s related policies.

(_ Q stands for the question, and A for the answer _)

Q:What is Veneto doing about both the Italian and the European Digital Agendas?

A: Veneto is implementing a strategic document, called “Guidelines for Digital Agenda of Veneto”. This document explains themes, subjects, methods and concrete actions to realize digital standards to the full. The process we are building consists of 3 steps: asking for advice to stakeholders, asking for advice to local communities and realizing long-term projects (thanks to the EU structural funds).

Q: Are data reuse and practice reuse heart-felt themes? What do you think is the perception of these topics in Veneto?

A: These are cornerstones of Digital Agenda. We think that data promotes both transparency of the public sector and new digital jobs and savings. We are referring to what is commonly called “data as service”. Open data will soon be a strong base for valuable services and applications. Thanks to that, new business opportunities will be available.

Q: In 2012, Veneto published What kind of feedback did it receive?

A: Currently, we are collecting existing datasets. We are, also, making known the web platform. There weren’t big problems or oppositions. Now, the goal is to apply metadata to reach Linked Open Data standards.

Q: Which kind of problems did it face?

A:The main problem, with, was the lack of knowledge. We overcame this situation with both meetings and seminars. I’d like to underline the fact that, in Veneto, public policies and public managers had recognized very quickly the inner potential of Open Data.

Q: What reactions do businesses have about reuse?

A: I don’t have any indicators about it yet. The work with Veneto’s companies will start after summer. Currently, we are focusing on collecting data.

Q: Many associations and citizen’s initiatives are currently starting and growing to support digital culture, both locally and nationally. What do you think about it?

A: That’s great! Everyone can do something, but it’s not enough. I have always spent a lot of time and energies to support a massive mainstream action. During 1960s, Alberto Manzi taught to million of Italians how to write and how to read. Nowadays, we need a someone like him: a tv-anchor that teaches us how to use internet and how to make headways.

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Matteo Brunati

Sono un appassionato di tutto quello che ha relazione con la Rete, specie quando si trova tra tecnologia e società. Ho lavorato a #CivicHackingIT, un progetto curato assieme a Erika Marconato per divulgare il civic hacking in Italia. Se vuoi saperne di più vai su