Eleven Things to remember from the 2011 Open Government Data Camp

This year I participated to the Open Government Data Camp in Warsaw, to present a proposal about Open Data and Education. During the Camp I met many great people and heard lots of great things, but for a thousand reasons I had no possibility to put order in my notes before today. Better late than never. Since many others have already given complete reports of the Camp, I’ll only add a couple of things. The first is my very own list of the “11 Most Relevant Quotes from the 2011 OGD Camp”:

  • Rufus Pollock: Open Data has no value if it isn’t used. We need now open tools and communities that utilize Open Data
  • Neelie Kroes, EU Digital Agenda Commissioner: This can only work in a bottom-up, federated fashion
  • Dave Eaves:
  • The very fact that there is an OpenGov partnership means there has been a shift. Now we must help people to change!
  • Where are the people from Salvation Army, OxFam and similar organizations?
  • Open Data on Vancouver restaurant inspections are a failure because they are only used after getting food poisoning
  • Andrew Rasiej:
  • We are swimming upstream: many politicians don’t know difference between server and waiter
  • People’s eyes glaze over if you talk about “public data.” We need to talk about “public information.”
  • Tom Steinbergh: projects with 7 partners from 4 countries are good for jet engine research, not for Open Data
  • Chris Taggart:
  • [Without Open Data] the scary future is a highly interconnected world of a fery few (less than 10) closed, big data owners, in which data goes in, rarely comes out
  • Remember: if Open Data doesn’t cause problems for the incumbents, it’s not working.
  • Ton Zijlstra: [to make Open Data in your local community] get started with nothing, offer free beer, do things immediately within your power

Besides the people above, a special mention goes in my opinion to Øystein Jakobsen for speaking about the importance of Open Product Data. These are the data that reduce information asymmetry by giving people, when they shop, answers to questions like:

  • What are the working conditions for who made this shirt?
  • Were animals hurt in making this shampoo?
  • Are there any GMO in those pizzas?

Jakobsen explicitly pointed out that “if available, such information would (at least) affect the price of all the interested products” and that the trick to gain support for Open Product Data is to present them as “an environment thing”.