DataBridge – bridging the open data gap

Late night posting does nothing for my inability to sleep, but does get through the old To Do list…  Just a quick word on DataBridge – an idea emerging from the beautiful melee of ideas that was CityCamp Brighton.

The basic premise of DataBridge is that it is brilliant that more and more data from government, central and local, is opening up to the public, but that open data on its own that is not going to be very useful to many people. (Techies aside, who will do wonderful and astonishing things with it).

DataBridge is a collaborative project under development in Brighton to look at how the voluntary sector can make best use of this data, explore it and combine it with their own information, to contribute to a bigger, truer picture; to help with funding & finance, influencing, proving need; to help local government learn how to open up its data in the most useful ways and to create new pictures of where we live by combining data from all sources.

There are many, many possibilities with this, and I’m keen to talk about every one of them, policy and practice, but we want to start with something practical. So to begin with DataBridge will work with a small number of Brighton-based voluntary sector organisations who have a specific and current need to get to better grips with open data, to:

* identify relevant data
* ask the right questions to get manageable and relevant results
* add in their own data to help improve evidence
* get a useable product to help their organisation
* identify gaps in data and gaps in knowledge about using data

We intend to share the journey on-line, as we go and when we get to our destination.

When I say ‘we’ – ideas, enthusiasm and policy brain is supplied by me.

Technical expertise is provided by Oxford Consultants for Social Inclusion (OCSI), a spin-out research consultancy from the University of Oxford. OCSI develop and interpret the evidence base to help the public sector and other organisations deliver better services to the public.

Conversations are happening with Brighton Community & Voluntary Sector Forum and Brighton & Hove City Council. Support, encouragement and useful contacts provided by DemSoc and much vigorous retweeting supplied by lots of lovely Brighton CityCampers.

I know there’s much going on this space, I’m keen to talk about all this – drop me a line…

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8 Responses to DataBridge – bridging the open data gap

  1. timgdavies says:

    Sounds fantastic: really key bridging to be done. I’ll try and follow – and contribute where I can. If approach/resources from Open Data Cook Book (http://opendatacookbook.net/wiki/ – premise is to take the scary terminology out of open data and show people that they can use freely available tools to work with it) can help then do feel most welcome to appropriate.

  2. Jo Ivens says:

    Thanks Tim, I love the idea of an open data cook book! Will be in touch.

  3. Louise says:

    Jo – NCVO (National Council for Voluntary Organisations) has been doing a lot of work on this. At our annual conference a couple of weeks ago we had a session on open data and the voluntary sector. There are notes here http://www.ncvo-vol.org.uk/networking-discussions/blogs/116/11/03/08/open-data-annual-conference and my blog post here http://louisebrown.org.uk/2011/03/09/civil-society-open-data/.
    You should talk to David Kane (@kanedr) and check out http://data.ncvo-vol.org.uk/.

    Louise @ NCVO

    • Jo Ivens says:

      Thanks Louise, I’ve been looking at NCVO’s work on this and follow David and Karl – will get in touch to talk it through. I’m keen that we add to the debate and knowledge rather than duplicate.

  4. Hey Jo. I work on linking civil society open data & communities. I’d be happy to help out. Get in touch.

  5. Good luck with your endeavours Jo – if UNIT4 can help then shout out.
    We are a leading supplier of finance solutions to local government and not for profit sectors (amongst others) and our customers are at the forefront in making their data readily available. Have a look at our Linked4 initiative (http://www.unit4software.co.uk/) which is not restricted to our customers – we believe open & linked data is key to delivering the required results. I also recommend @davidpidsley for input re open civil society.

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