Monthly Archives: August 2010

Online version: Open Data, Democracy and Public Sector Reform

Reposted from my Open Data Impacts research blog, which is where I’ll try and keep most open data related posts in future, with this blog maintaining it’s wider focus…

A public report based on the research for my MSc Dissertation is now available here*.

Thank you to everyone who contributed to the research whether in discussions, interviews or responding to the survey. As promised, I’ve started to share data from the survey, and will add to this as time allows in coming weeks.

Published for digressions

Over the weeks since I handed in my MSc Dissertation I’ve been trying to work out how best to share the final version. Each time I’ve started to edit it for release I’ve found more areas where I want to develop the argument further, or where I recognise that points I thought were conclusions are in fact the start of new questions. After trying out a few options, I settled on the fantastic Digress.it platform to put a copy of the report online – giving each paragraph it’s own URL and space for comments and trackbacks.

Hopefully this can help turn a static dissertation into something more dynamic as a tool for helping take forward thinking about the impacts of open government data. All comments, feedback, reflections and thinking aloud on the document welcome.


*Note: This is not the copy of the dissertation I submitted. That is still with the University being marked. When I submit a hard and digital library copy later this year I’ll post a link to those as the ‘official’ literature.

Oxfordshire: open & interactive

[Summary: A local post about open data, interactive working and social media in Oxford & Oxfordshire – and some rough ideas for making stuff happen…]

There’s not all that much open data published by local authorities in Oxfordshire right now, and whilst there are some great pockets of social media use, and digital technology projects across the different local authorities in the County, online interactivity from councillors, digital engagement from local councils, and hyperlocal community websites seem pretty sparse round here. We’ve got some great geek gatherings and social media meets, but not much that I can find in the way of social media surgery type activities.

But, having met with quite a few people from different local authorities across the County in the last month  it seems clear that there is real potential for more online engagement and open working in Oxfordshire, just some gaps in the knowledge, networks and catalysts to make things happen.

Which got me wondering about how the knowledge, networks and catalysts could be brought together. What would help…

  • …local authorities in Oxfordshire to understand, explore and release more open data;
  • …local authorities and community groups to get the most out of social media and interactive technology;
  • …turn Oxfordshire from a bit of a laggard in the worlds of open data and online interactivity, into a leading light…

And I realised: I’m not sure. But, here’s two modest proposals:

  • An informal gathering some time in September of people interested in catalysing more online engagement and open data action in the county to explore possibilities. Could we set up a regular social media surgery? What about some hack-days with local open data? Or should we head out a build a better directory of the hyperlocal websites across Oxford? Interested? Let me know in the comments below – and suggest when might be a good time on this Doodle and I’ll try and find a suitable venue… (offers of venues welcome…)
  • Running a half-day event for Oxfordshire local authorities sometime in the Autumn to provide an introduction to open data; social media and ideas for more interactive ways of working. Sometime to be discussed at an informal gathering perhaps – but I’d also be interested to hear direct from anyone in Oxfordshire Councils about whether this would be useful / what would be most useful…. drop me an e-mail if you work with an Oxfordshire LA and you would be interested; or if you work with open data / social media locally and might be interested in helping organise something.

What do you think? If there is interest then I’d be up for spending a bit of time helping make something happen…

Of course – this may all already be happening? Or it might have been tried before? So comments / ideas on stuff already going / criticism / alternative ideas etc. welcome too…

Dissertation complete!

If you were wondering why things had been so quiet on this blog of late, it had quite a bit to do with the trials of writing up my MSc Dissertation, which, I finally submitted just over a week back.

I’ll hopefully be able to share the whole thing, and some of the findings in a more accessible form, in September.

For now, time for some time off.

Sporadic blog posts may occur in the coming few weeks, but normal blogging will be resumed in September…