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Bob Gourley

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Live from the Gov 2.0 Expo – Four Perspectives on data.gov.uk

The UK Government Announced the “Making Public Data Public” Initiative

What can we learn from our “neighbours” across the sea?

On June 10, 2009, the UK government announced the “Making Public Data Public” initiative.  UK’s Gov2.0 initiative is there to bring the government to the people.  This presentation provided perspective from the founder of the World Wide Web, members of UK’s government, private UK consultants, and a member of the UK news media.

Tim Berners-Lee (also known as the creator of the World Wide Web) introduced data.gov.uk as the latest addition in the age old competition between the UK and the US.  However, now, this competition has led to the Data.gov and Data.gov.uk efforts getting better every day.  Both governments are struggling to create better raw data stores, more useful web services and better data applications.

John, Head of e-Services and Strategy at the Office of Public Sector Information, has found that speed and delivery of web content is counter posed to the amount of money you have.  They created and developed fastest before they ever had a budget.  His office worked to enable data into easily digestible formats.  They were easily able to connect different data sources to be able to create map overlays.  John has been publishing a ton of data, most specifically in the RDF/XML form, to allow linked data.

Dominic Campbell runs FutureGov, a government consultancy firm in Britain.  His speech focused around the “the New Politics of Gov 2.0 in the UK.”  The UK has been struggling with how to create and display open government data for a long time.  They have actually been leading the US in government technology, but have lacked leaders and leadership into it.  The UK is also being strongly impacted by the recession and are having a hard time funding these efforts.  The new government technology manifesto includes the “Right to Government Data” which means they have to provide citizen raw data instead of contextualized data.

Chris Thorpe is a developer at the Guardian (a left leaning newspaper in the UK).  Last year they created “Open Platform” which enables users and developers to develop with their context.  They have created the Voter Power Index, the Data Blog where they archive data, and the World Government Data site which indexes and archives worldwide government data.

If you’re interested in the UK’s efforts, check out data.gov.uk here.  Also, check out The Guardian for some different (and fresh) news perspectives (here).

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Bob Gourley writes on enterprise IT. He is a founder of Crucial Point and publisher of CTOvision.com