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Open Data

Measuring the impact of datra

Not all data are created equal. It’s great that more government data owners are making data available, but some of it is in non-machine readable formats, some is cryptic, and some is simply not valuable. How do we look at the value of the data we publish? What about open data brings real value to the citizens who pay for the creation of this data?


Open Data - diving into the deep end

Good questions, Jeanne.

How to look at the value of the data published? I think the most value comes from seeing it in the context of social or community innovation. As you mention, not all data is of equal interest but that likely depends on what you are looking for, why you are looking forward and what your search orientation might be - this means to get the maximum value the information may need to be represented in multiple ways. This could be part of developing a contexualized search framework for public access.

In the blog post I link to below an example of valued data mentioned was "point in time homeless count" and how withholding such information played a significant role in historical marginalization. As a starting point I would say look back at the Continuum of Care mandates from a few years ago. That gives a good indication of the kinds of community data that human service providers, as one target group made up of citizens, would find valuable. 

Another aspect of value lies in getting the maximum bang for your buck. That is to say that the investment in Open Data needs to also support, if not actively advance, other concerns like open innovation and increasing public engagement.

Excerpt from my post on this topic at iFOSSF

"The Data initiative is very encouraging and exciting! Encouraging because of the direction it takes to address the obstacles mentioned prior, in addition to what it means in terms of making information easier to find and digest will likely increase dissemination - and that is important to cultivate an informed community. 

One of the primary considerations in delivering shareholder/taxpayer value is to approach the situation mindful of how an age of multi-tasking has impacted our expectations. Don't overlook your assumptions and consider overlap of the inquiry and development. Many people will not be able to answer your questions until it is too late. How to make that tendency work for the process?

And that would be why this is exciting! Because my conception of Cultural Fusion as a series, and its Hotel Infinity specifically are interested in being vehicles for creative context dissemination of such information. Definitely a new approach to developing intuitive user interfaces. Contextualizing community data for distribution can also be part of advancing contextualized searching applications for re-use. Once again, I think this suggest that exploring these issues provides a better investment of resources because it delivers many times over on multiple levels....just as art has traditionally done in societies. A painting is more than its parts placed on the wall, but who can say exactly what it gives to each appreciative viewer? Likewise I think the same can be true of software art as an approach to developing socio-technical infrastructure. 

 It is important to remember that if the objective of Open Data is to promote social innovations that include transparency then the current website inviting comment from the public is a great first step. It is a definitive door opening gesture in support of open innovation. However it is not enough just create sites to post data, the government needs to help chart a direction for contextualizing this information by providing access to the required infrastructure, so that in the course of social innovation, data is transformed into knowledge that builds our Collective Intelligence."

I hope that helps. Please feel free to contact me with any questions.

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