Open Knowledge in Berlin

So, last week I was in the wonderfully sunny city of Berlin to enjoy the Open Knowledge Festival, as annual event hosted by the Open Knowledge Foundation to celebrate, explore and question the value of open knowledge and open data. It’s a great conference and features a wide range of discussions from participants with backgrounds in technology, development, politics, science, education and plenty of other fields too. What’s more, Tuesday saw Wikimedia Deutschland hosting a session on a series of research reports that had examined the impact, opportunities and challenges of using open data in developing countries.

I’m sure that the conference was a tremendous success, but given that I spent much of the time clutching my stomach, writhing around, generally feeling sorry for myself and – at 4:30 am on a Wednesday morning – navigating the niceties of the German health system, I can’t be sure. Luckily, however, plenty of people were at the conference to document everything that went on. So, without further ado here are some links to some of the best posts, Storifies and the like:

  • Fifteen open data insights: Tim Davies’ excellent piece reveals some of the opportunities, as well as the barriers, regarding the use of open data in developing countries. The mismatch between open data supply and demand, the lack of machine readable formats and the importance of data intermediaries are just some of the lessons arising from the multi-country study of open data being conducted by a network of researchers across the globe.
  • This Storify from Open Knowledge Foundation provides a whistle-stop tour of open data activists from around the world who attended the conference. Whether Nepalese or Greek open data activists, many of us are facing the same problems accessing, using and creating change through data.
  • Money, Politics and Transparency from Sunlight Foundation looks at some of the lessons from around the world concerning disclosure of assets and interests by politicians, donations, how we can get people interested in political finance – in Italy, schoolchildren are being used to monitor the use of EU funds!
  • Reflections on my first Open Knowledge Festival from Nesta contains some nice thoughts (primarily with a UK focus) on open data scenes, collaboration and more joined-up work to achieve impact.

photoHaving missed all but one afternoon of the conference, I have none of those classic conference shots of rooms full of people looking towards a blurred stage with a PowerPoint. What I do have, though, is a nice picture of Potsdam, just outside Berlin. It has little value as open data, but it’s pretty all the same.