Open Data Open Day – Summary
June 27, 2013
by Ash Smith
Yesterday, 26th June, we held the University’s first ever ‘Open Data Open Day’. This was a day organised by the Open Data service to show the wider university community exactly what linked and open data can do for them. The University has recently announced that open data, specifically an ‘open by default’ attitude, is to be a core principle of its strategy for at least the next five years, so we decided to concentrate our open day on non-technical staff, who may not appreciate what this entails, while at the same time holding a hack event in the building 32 coffee room for anyone with programming knowledge.
We had three main objectives for the day.
- To raise the profile of Open Data to the non-technical members of the university.
- To connect people who have data with people who can do cool stuff with data.
- To come up with some cool demos that show off the power of Open Data.
The day was a success. I ran an introductory talk early in the day, which was well-attended and concluded with an extended question and answer session and a positive response. Pat and I later presented a ‘show and tell’ of all the cool features we’ve been working on that show the power of linked open data, and I followed this up by giving a talk based on my last blog post on good data practice. All the time the talks were going on, several teams of hackers were hard at work in the next room, building some tools and demos using our data. They presented their work at the end of the day in the Terrace Restaurant, each with a well-earned pint. Patrick has written a more detailed post explaining what they got up to.
We also had two guest speakers – Cassie Robinson from Londonscape, a large civic project that uses data from four wards of a London borough, and Sina Samangooei from WAIS, who talked about streamed reasoning to an audience consisting mainly of hackers fresh from their presentations, ensuring a lively discussion.
Because of the success of the event, we plan to run something like this again, possibly in term time in order to get a feel for how students see Open Data.