A website providing guidance on obtaining and reusing public authority data for the benefit of local communities was launched today, in an attempt to ‘de-specialise’ and encourage public use of the ever-increasing amount of free public information which is being made available.
The Making a Difference with Data (MadwDATA) site ( http://www.madwdata.org.uk/ ) features examples of how to use open data and case studies from different public sector organisations, as well as a discussion forum, interviews and details of workshops and other events.
Speaking to E-Government Bulletin, Vicky Sargent, the project’s manager and director of the system’s designers, Boilerhouse Media, said the site was set up to demonstrate the practical applications of open data.
“Up to now, open data has tended to be discussed in very technical terms that can be off-putting to non-specialists. We’re trying to open it up and make it accessible, by bringing it more into the orbit of everyday life”, Sargent said.
The project is funded by the Department for Communities and Local Government, in partnership with Improvement and Efficiency West Midlands, and supported by the Local Public Data Panel ( http://bit.ly/gJi7hc ), whose members include Will Perrin, founder of the Talk About Local project ( http://talkaboutlocal.org.uk/ ).
Audience participation and crowdsourced contributions from all website users will also be crucial elements of the project, said Sargent, with users able to submit material on the website and share content for discussion.
Sargent said she expects the site to be used by a number of groups including citizen activists, bloggers, campaigners and those involved in hyperlocal websites.
NOTE: Article originally published in E-Government Bulletin issue 329.