A Brief (Recent) History of Open Public Data in the UK
The onlineCSV file becomes a spreadsheet becomes A DATABASE
The UKGLF addresses the use and re-use of the following typesof information:- non-personal information subject to copyright and databaseright that is collected and produced by government and thepublic sector and which is published or accessible under accesslegislation such as the Freedom of Information Act or theEnvironmental Information Regulations (much of thisinformation will be accessible on public sector web sites oralready published by the public sector);- previously unpublished datasets released by the public sectoron portals such as data.gov.uk; and- original and open source software and source code producedby the public sector or commissioned under Framework 1 of theNESTA agreements (see glossary) or similar agreements.
Take a look around you……see that plug socket? If you’re in the UK, it should conform to BritishStandard BS1363 (you can read the spec if you have have you credit card tohand…). Take a listen around you… is that someone listening to an audiodevice playing an MP3 music file? ISO/IEC 11172-3:1993 (or ISO/IEC 13818-3:1995) helped make that possible… “that” being the agreed upon standardthat let the music publisher put the audio file into a digital format that themaker of the audio device knows how to recognise and decode.(Beware, though. The MP3 specification is tainted with all sorts of patents –so you need to check whether or if you need to pay someone in order tobuild a device that encodes or decodes MP3 files.) If the music happens to bebeing played from a CD (hard to believe, but bear with me!), then you’ll bethankful the CD maker and the audio player manufacturer agreed to bothwork with a physical object that conforms to IEC 60908 ed2.0 (“Audiorecording – Compact disc digital audio system”), and that maybe makes useof Standard ECMA-130 (also available as ISO/IEC 10149:1995). ThatMicrosoft Office XML document you just opened somewhere? ISO/IEC29500-1:2011. And so on…
So What Are Open Standards?
“Standard - codified knowledge providing specifications for interfaces between software, systems or the documents and data that pass between them.” [Open Standards Consultation – Glossary]“*O]penstandards must allow all possible competitorsto operate on a basis of equal access to the ability toimplement the standard” [An Economic Basis for OpenStandards, RA Ghosh]
“ For the purpose of UK Government softwareinteroperability, data and document formats, the definition ofopen standards is those standards which fulfil thefollowing criteria:
are maintained through a collaborativeand transparent decision-makingprocess that is independent of anyindividual supplier and that is accessibleto all interested parties;
are published, thoroughlydocumented and publiclyavailable at zero or low cost;
as a whole have been implementedand shared under differentdevelopment approaches and on anumber of platforms from more thanone supplier, demonstratinginteroperability and platform/vendorindependence;
owners of patents essential to implementationhave agreed to licence these on a royalty freeand non-discriminatory basis for implementingthe standard and using or interfacing with otherimplementations which have adopted that samestandard. Alternatively, patents may be coveredby a non-discriminatory promise of non-assertion. Licences, terms and conditions mustbe compatible with implementation of thestandard in both proprietary and open sourcesoftware. These rights should be irrevocableunless there is a breach of licence conditions.
Open but mandated…?!
Back to the Data…
Open Standards Consultationhttp://consultation.cabinetoffice.gov.uk/openstandards/Standards Hubhttp://standards.data.gov.uk/