Getting Back to How we Share Public Data

I am very impressed with a Norwegian initiative called the ‘Data Hotel‘. It’s an EU funded approach to providing the mechanism and the standards to make data from public sector agencies freely available. It addresses one of the key challenges to organizations today – not that they don’t want to share – simply that they lack the tools and resources to do it with increasingly depleted resources. Enter the Data Hotel. It embraces all the right open access standards, not just for the data itself, but in terms of open source software. The tool is freely available through Github and provides a means to:

  • extract data from a proprietary datasource;
  • describe the data with standardized metadata fields; and
  • publish the data in machine readable formats.

It is clean, direct and effective, and while this description oversimplifies what is a rather thorny problem on a variety of levels, privacy and governance to mention but two, it does take a very significant step in reducing the technology hurdle.

The folks behind the initiative identify ‘One of the core strengths is that the data owner, who has the best knowledge of the data, provides metadata like descriptions and type-information. This enables the Data Hotel to lift the data from plain tabular information, to a level where it can easily be utilized in advanced semantic contexts like linked open data services.’

This is one to watch. It ticks all the right boxes for becoming an enabling force in the eGovernment movement.

A part from the websites referenced above, you can also follow the initiative @datahotell

One thought on “Getting Back to How we Share Public Data”

  1. This is an area that really needs to be looked at in terms of delivering Government services. It would provide savings and hopefully increase customer satisfaction. Having said that, there is an aging demographic who wouldn’t be that confident using the computer. I know of ministers who don’t have one. I also know of solicitors who don’t use them. We have had to retain some paper based information and forms for delivery to those who are not IT literate. Hopefully something like this will be so easy to use, everyone will be enticed to use it. Another thing that is hard to get in terms of getting stakeholder buyin in something like this is trust and data protection. There is also the red-tape thing!

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