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Democratizing Open Data

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  • 1. 1DemocratizingOpen DataAlvaro GravesTetherless World ConstellationDepartment of Cognitive ScienceRensselaer Polytechnic Institutegravea3@rpi.edu@alvarograves
  • 2. 2Good news first• More than 1 million datasets available frommany national and local governments over theworld• Billions of triples in the LOD cloud• There is information available about people,budgets, education, transportation, geography,etc.
  • 3. 3OK, now the bad news....• “Bad” data being published• No use of standards, inconsistent, hard to consumeand automatize• “Boring” data, not useful for many people• Budget of 1994 is not as exciting as you may think• “Unusable” data: There is no app for that• Apps and hackathons don’t scale to cover theneeds of the long tail
  • 4. 4Small-scale activism/journalism• How can a small community benefit from OpenData (even from national repositories)?• How can non-geeks make use of OpenDatawithout someone building an app for them?• How the promises of transparency, accountability,etc. can be enforced by common citizens?
  • 5. 5Looking back at the Web• Web 1.0• You needed to learn HTML, CGI-BIN, FTP, or...• Have a Webmaster• Web 2.0• Better tools (e.g., MediaWiki,Wordpress, Drupal)simplified the process of publishing and creatingcontent on the Web
  • 6. 6Challenges are similar,but not the same• Creating and reading a webpage is “easy”• Writers and readers have been doing it forcenturies in books and newspapers• Managing (semi-)structured data is relatively new formany people• Different metaphors are needed
  • 7. 7Easy win:Visualizations• Allowing people to create customvisualizations based on Open Data easily• Nice way to consume and communicatelarge amounts of data• Nice way to identify trends and detectoutliers
  • 8. 8Visualbox• Tool for creatingvisualizations based onLinked Data• Presented a session atthe Mozilla Festival 2012• Great feedback, but stillhard to use by non-SemWeb geeks• SPARQL is hard!• Quality of Linked Datais an issue
  • 9. 9Conclusions• A call to arms:We need better tools to empowercitizens to use Open Data• The needs of the LongTail are important and can’tbe dismissed• Visualizations can be an easy startThanks!Alvaro Graves - @alvarograves
  • 10. 9Conclusions• A call to arms:We need better tools to empowercitizens to use Open Data• The needs of the LongTail are important and can’tbe dismissed• Visualizations can be an easy startThanks!Alvaro Graves - @alvarograves