Open Data and Open Knowledge
In our conversations with humanitarian professionals about data and information sharing with affected populations, one of the most interesting themes of discussion has been accountability. This term, much like open data, is a buzzword for humanitarians.
While it is undeniably true that the idea of open data is becoming better recognized and prominently pursued in parts of the humanitarian community, this belief is not universal nor without serious complications. Issues of data privacy, security, and the need to first 'do no harm' make humanitarian data sharing with affected populations that much more difficult.
Open data is a buzzword, or more accurately a buzz-phrase, these days. In certain segments of the humanitarian community, there seems to exist an energy behind making data more openly and publicly available. Whether looking at UN OCHA’s impressive new HDX data-sharing site, the IATI registry, or a bevy of individual organizations’ online data portals, one could come to the conclusion that open data has fully arrived.
As media and technology are rapidly changing the quantity and quality of the information circulated in our daily lives, we all know intuitively that our practices and standards for dealing with these shifts has not caught up.
The Open Data for Development Challenge event, took place in Montreal on January 27th and 28th. The event, in the form of a "codathon", focused on data, policy, and technical questions related to aid and transparency.
In the fourth day of the Ok festival I was a speaker on one of the panels in the Open Development and Open Research and Education tracks. The title of the panel was “The Challenges of Working with Crowd-Sourced Data”.
On the third day of the Open Development and Open Knowledge Festival, I spent the entire day in the Open Development track (on Twitter #OpenDev). The first session was an open discussion and debate about what ‘openness’ can add to traditional development approaches, trying to explore different visions.
Let us be honest: the Data Journalism and Visualization session at the Open Knowledge and Data Festival was aimed at an elite audience. The speakers were amazing and well prepared and the visualization tools were indeed incredible. All four panels seemed to have only two target audiences in mind, mainstream newsrooms and highly literate consumers. However the disappointing aspect of the entire session was the extreme focus on technology tools.