Since 2012, the Open Knowledge Foundation (OKF) has published a handbook to help people understand the public Open Data concept and promote the re-use of data and new data projects. Titled the Open Data Handbook, and focused more precisely on Open Government data, this booklet explains “how open data can create value and can have a positive impact in many different areas”, according to the handbook’s introduction.
While the Open Data concept may not be new among governments, it seems that the notion still needs to be explained to citizens and administrations. In February, the topic was at the center of a global conference, the Social Media Week, which took place in several cities. It was the main theme of sessions in Hamburg and Milan for example.
“This handbook is intended for those with little or no knowledge of the topic”, the OKF handbook says. The targeted audience are “civil servants or activists”, “journalists or researchers”, “politicians and developers or event data geeks”. The booklet has been opened up to commentary and some of the comments have been merged into the document.
How to open up data and how to encourage people to use it
The Open Data Handbook is a four-part document, dealing with what Open Data is, why those data are important (in terms of finance, economics, society and politics) and how administrations can open up their data. Regarding the latter, the handbook shows how to apply an open license and how to make data discoverable and re-usable. The notion of an Open Data Web portal (based on the CKAN open technology) or API (Application Programming Interface) is explained.
The fourth part of the handbook is of major importance. Titled “So I’ve opened some data, now what?”, It shows how to encourage people to make use of the data. Hackdays, meetups and conferences are all described as ways to promote datasets and their re-use on data-based applications.