Recently, I took part an initiative via The Nominet Trust, aiming to introduce and assist charitable organisations to open data. I worked with a voluntary sector infrastrucre organisation in Sandwell, and a counselling charity in Stockport…
The days were hudely rewarding for all parties I think. Quickly, and whilst at the project conference here in London today, I wanted to reflect on what the days were about.
So, what is… an Open Data Day:
1 – A conversation
This was not about technical training or formal guidance. I had as much to learn from the organisation, probably more. Our value was built upon the conversation that evolved throughout the day…
2 – Sustainability
This was not about parachuting in with open data whizzy woo, and leaving on the next train. It was around finding tools and processes which the organisation could confidently take forward, right now…
3 – Respect
Charities *do* collect and use data already, sometimes in very sophisticated ways. The day was about respecting existing systems and set-ups, not about making suggestions to start again or rebuild…
4 – Practical action
Google Refine, pinboard and MIT Exhibit were some of our friends for the day. We got busy and used these tools during the day, rather than dream up new solutions
5 – Insights
There were a few gotcha moments through the days, such as using Fusion tables to generate visualisations, that I knew would help shape a sometimes arduous data path for my colleagues. These insights were passed on during the day
6 – Leaving the Door Ajar
Open Data isn’t about opening everything, right now! Setting up a page on the organisation website (at www.mywebsite.org.uk/open) to simply state that there is a belief in open data, is just as important.
I’ll leave that for now, as we have a plenary session shortly. Ill try and correct the numerous splling mistakes later!