Open data and knowledge in Edinburgh

The Edinburgh OKFN contingent met again recently to present, discuss and argue all aspects of Open Data and Knowledge.

Friendly and informal

OKFN Meet-ups are friendly and informal evenings for people to get together to share and debate all aspects of openness. Depending on the number of people on a given evening, we have presentations and/or round-table discussions about Open Knowledge and Open Data - from politics and philosophy to the practicalities of theory and practice. We have had two previous events (see here for the 'launch' write-up and here for the invitation to the second instalment).

This time we were kindly hosted by the Informatics Forum, and the weather stayed fine enough to explore the roof terrace (complete with vegetable garden, gizmos to record wind-speed and weather, a view across the city to Arthur's Seat and even a blue moon).

A range of presentations on openness

Around 20 of us gathered to hear the following presentations:

  • Open Tech Calendar - James Baster gave an introduction to this early-stage project to bring tech meet-ups together, talk about the different ways we are trying to be open and ask for feedback and help
  • Business models for Open Data - Ewan Klein gave a short overview of business models for Open Data, including for government bodies
  • Library standards and linked data, presented by Gordon Dunsire
  • National Library of Scotland's perspective on library standards and open data, presented by Gill Hamilton
  • State of the Map Scotland, presented by Bob Kerr.  See here for Bob's featured OKFN blog post
  • I talked about OKFN as part of the Scottish Open effort.

A connected group

What struck me overall was that everybody already knows everybody else.  As well as cross-over in the talks, I kept trying to introduce people who would exclaim, "Ah yes! How was the holiday / conference / wedding?  This was quite useful, though, as it emphasised the point I made in my talk: OKFN doesn't need to start anything in Scotland, as efforts towards Open are already ongoing and to great effect.  We just want to provide support and possibly a brand under which these activities can be coordinated and promoted. With this in mind, we are going to look into a Scotland OKFN group as soon as things settle down again after OKFest - keep your eyes open for updates to follow!

Keeping up to date

To keep up-to-date with #OpenDataEDB and similar events, with the above and other interesting folks, and with the emerging Scotland OKFN group:

* Join the [OKFN Scotland Discussion List]
* Search Twitter using #OpenDataEDB and #OKFN
* Keep tuned into the OKFN blog

Naomi Lillie has been involved in the Open Knowledge Foundation since 2011, joining as the Community Coordinator for Open Bibliography and Foundation Administrator. An English Literature graduate, she has a professional background in project management and coordination. Naomi has worked in academia where the closed nature of information was a source of much frustration, so she is very pleased to be contributing to the cause for open knowledge and data. Naomi lives in Edinburgh, volunteers with a debt-counselling charity and sings in a choir.