More than Raw: Government Data Online

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The USA and UK govern­ments have made signif­icant progress with linked, open data in recent months. Several funda­mental datasets from the Australian Government are on the cusp of being exposed as mean­ingful, reusable, machine-​​readable assets, further driving the adoption of linked data within and around government.

Making better use of online data offerings using a combi­nation of top-​​down policy and guidance, together with bottom-​​up devel­opment efforts from agency web teams, would seem to describe a sustainable, organic growth in linked government data.

Learn about the path to the first release of data​.gov​.au; a draft roadmap to future releases; the barriers to linked data and open public sector infor­mation (PSI); and the real-​​world ques­tions this tech­nology aims to solve.

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  • When the government wants to describe things using structure - they do so with gusto.
  • Insulation installation addresses not available at low-level granularity.
     
    Aggregated up to suburb level.
    Several substations(?) per suburb.
    Savings for:
    - Electricity company
    - Clients
  • The culture talk is a whole other conference.
  • W3C Standards AGIMO uses on a weekly basis
  • W3C standards relevant to this talk.
  • ...and a few other standards we needed to be mindful of.
  • Indicative feedback received so far.
  • Things we are not asked.  But perhaps we should be.
  • Note what isn't included here:
    - Visualise government data
    - Mashup government data
    - Mirror existing repositories
  • This worked fine for a beta / proof-of-concept.
  • Maturity evolves.
  • Why reinvent the wheel?
    Placating other stakeholders.
  • Why reinvent the wheel?
    Placating other stakeholders.
  • Why reinvent the wheel?
    Placating other stakeholders.
  • Possibly too far.
     
    Ambitious, if slightly at odds with the 'small pieces, loosely joined' philosophy.
    A grand 'order of everything' data model for government is unlikely to be feasible in the design stages, let alone the implementation.
  • There's a data centre's worth of potential candidates for data.gov.au. 
    To maintain a level of quality, we've had to impose a few core criteria:
    - Machine-readable (or very close to)
    - Liberally-licenced
    - P
  • Agencies responding to:
    - Data feedback
    - Requests for more data
    Changes to FOI act are expected to be the growth drivers.
  • Agencies responding to:
    - Data feedback
    - Requests for more data
    Changes to FOI act are expected to be the growth drivers.
  • Indicative feedback received so far.
  • Chant: "Raw Data Now"
    Chant: "Developers, Developers, Developers"
     
    "It's called linked data - I want you to make it, I want you to spread it."
    Motivational stuff.  Like all worthwhile goals, there's a lot of pain and sacrifice involve- not to mention a bucketload of details.
  • Note the 'shadow' nodes: agd.com.au shadows GOLD, Open Australia shadows Hansard, AustLii shadows ComLaw - third parties who provide roughly equivalent data, and who may be in a better position to provide it in a linked, structured fashion.
    These nodes could conceivably form part of the wider linked data web.
  • Or not necessarily the right answer for GOLD.
     
    FOAF's benefits seem to come from defining relationships between people, rather than definining the individual's role, address or contact details.Official relationships in government are usually established between roles, agencies or departments, rather than with individuals.
  • Agencies responding to:
    - Data feedback
    - Requests for more data
    Changes to FOI act are expected to be the growth drivers.
  • We'll let the NLA take care of that one.
  • Note the 'shadow' nodes: agd.com.au shadows GOLD, Open Australia shadows Hansard, AustLii shadows ComLaw - third parties who provide roughly equivalent data, and who may be in a better position to provide it in a linked, structured fashion.
    These nodes could conceivably form part of the wider linked data web.
  • Publish with meaning.  Publish with intentwith aintent.  
    Intend to share, describe, document and link
  • AGIMO doesn't get to be the 'data police'
  • Why reinvent the wheel?
    Placating other stakeholders.
  • Why reinvent the wheel?
    Placating other stakeholders.
  • Why reinvent the wheel?
    Placating other stakeholders.
  • More than Raw: Government Data Online

    1. 1. Gordon Grace More than Raw: Government Data Online [Australian Government Information Managment Office]
    2. 2. Department of Finance and Deregulation Australian Government Information Management Office Agency Services Division Department of Treasury Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet
    3. 3. Disclaimer
    4. 4. Overview 1. The road to data.gov.au 2. Foundations of linked open govt. data 3. Future of govt. data online
    5. 5. Part 1 / 3 Getting Government Data Online: The road to data.gov.au
    6. 6. Hypothetical #1: An electricity company: Where does the power need to go now that more houses are insulated?
    7. 7. May 2009 data.gov launched Sep 2009 data.gov.uk (beta) launched Oct 2009 data.australia.gov.au (beta) launched Dec 2009 Government 2.0 Taskforce Report Delivered May 2010 data.gov.uk (proper) launched May 2010 data.gov re-launched
    8. 8. May 2010 Government Response to Taskforce Report1 Nov 2010 Office of the Australian Information Commissioner (OAIC) established Late 2010 data.gov.au (proper) launched? 1. http://www.finance.gov.au/publications/govresponse20report/index.html
    9. 9. W3C and Government 2.0 Technology, not culture. I've got less than one hour.
    10. 10.   ATOM  CSS   FOAF  RDF[a]   SKOS  TTML   SVG  WAI-ARIA   WCAG [X]HTML[5] 
    11. 11.  ATOM  CSS  FOAF  RDF[a]  SKOS  TTML    SVG  WAI-ARIA  WCAG [X]HTML[5] 
    12. 12. AGLS  AGIFT  Dublin Core  DCAT hCard  vCard  X500
    13. 13. Can we put this on the cloud? Where's the data quality statement?Who do I contact about dataset X? I need more documentation. Why are you using proprietary formats? How do I provide my agency's dataset? Is this the latest version of the data?
    14. 14. Can I federate this catalogue with my own? I want to rate this data 3 out of 5 stars. Can you make the data more interactive? More PDFs, please. I really wish you'd used RDF Why aren't you providing more APIs? Does this catalogue meet international standards?
    15. 15. Aust. Govt. Open PSI: A Working Definition 1.Not subject to privacy, security or privelege limitation. • Collected at source, with high granularity. • Structured to allow automated processing. • Available to all, without registration. Adapted from 8 Principles of Open Government Data (http://resource.org8_principles.html)
    16. 16. Aust. Govt. Open PSI: An Anti-Definition 1.Provided in human-readable form only. • Preference for proprietary formats. • Not digitised. • High level of aggregation. • Re-use prohibited. • Requires registration. Adapted from Conversations with Australian Government Agencies (Not yet available online)
    17. 17. data.gov.au's "Mission" Make published government data discoverable and usable.
    18. 18. Data Provision: The Pragmatic Approach Baby steps. Let's just get the data and a working minimum of metadata.
    19. 19. Data Provision: The "Horses for Courses" Approach Feeds, downloads, web services and APIs should be considered as options for each set.
    20. 20. Data Provision: The "Grass is Greener" Approach Our [repository/XML/met adata] is better than your [repository/XML/met adata].
    21. 21. Data Provision: The Likely Reality. Federate - use subsets if necessary. Expect wild variations in format, size, range and quality of data.
    22. 22. Data Provision: The Likely Reality. Use existing standards wherever possible. Establish benchmark licences1. 1. http://www.ag.gov.au/www/agd/agd.nsf/Page/Copyright_CommonwealthCopyrightAdministration_StatementofIPPrinciplesforAustr alianGovernmentAgencies
    23. 23. Data Provision: The "Linked or Bust" Approach URIs for every entity and concept, for every point in time. No exception.
    24. 24. Data Provision: The Likely (Short-Term) Reality. • Agency responsiveness • Data documentation • Quality statements • RDF 'Shadow' site(s)1 • FOI-driven inclusions2 1. http://lab.linkeddata.deri.ie/govcat/ 2. http://oaic.gov.au/foi/
    25. 25. DCAT+Dublin Core+AGLS = Enough? • DCAT=Data Catalog[u]e • accessURL • dataQuality • dataDictionary • granularity • themeTaxonomy • AGLSTERMS.jurisdiction http://www.w3.org/egov/wiki/Data_Catalog_Vocabulary
    26. 26. Someone has requested some information via FOI. Is it a dataset? Make it machine- readable. Licence it liberally. Add pointers to existing data. Agency site, data.gov.au or existing repository. Yes. How do we publish it? Where do we publish it?
    27. 27. Part 2 / 3 Foundations of Linked Open Government Data
    28. 28. TED - Tim Berners-Lee (February 2009)
    29. 29. Linked Open Data[For the Australian Government]
    30. 30. Linked Open Data[For the Australian Government]
    31. 31. Exhibit A Administrative Arrangements Orders (AAO)1 [Dept. Prime Minister & Cabinet] 1. http://www.dpmc.gov.au/parliamentary/index.cfm
    32. 32. Part 8: The Department of Finance and Deregulation1 Matters dealt with by the Department • Budget policy advice and process, and review of governmental programs • Government financial accountability, governance and financial management frameworks, including grants and procurement policy and services • Shareholder advice on Government Business Enterprises and commercial entities treated as GBEs • ... Legislation administered by the Minister • Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Act 2005, Part 4B • Aerospace Technologies of Australia Limited Sale Act 1994 • AIDC Sale Act 1997 • Airports (Transitional) Act 1996 • Albury-Wodonga Development Act 1973 • Annual Appropriation Acts 1.http://www.dpmc.gov.au/parliamentary/docs/aao_20100914.pdf
    33. 33. Linked Open Data
    34. 34. Exhibit B 2009-2010 Budget Papers1 [Dept. Treasury, Dept. Finance & Deregulation] 1. http://www.budget.gov.au
    35. 35. Linked Open Data
    36. 36. Exhibit D Government Online Directory (GOLD)1 [Dept. Finance & Deregulation] 1. http://www.directory.gov.au
    37. 37. Exhibit D Commonwealth of Australia Law (ComLaw)1 [Attorney General's Department] 1. http://www.comlaw.gov.au
    38. 38. http://www.comlaw.gov.au/comlaw/Legislation/ActCompilation1.nsf/framelodgmentattachments/6F1671D92E20BF0ECA25772F000A14 9F
    39. 39. directory.gov.au (GOLD) ComLawAGIFT AAO AGLS Hansard Open Australia AustLii agd.com.au
    40. 40. Eating your own dogfood directory.gov.au as a linked data node? [Since we're not printing it any more, shouldn't we treat it as a digital asset?]
    41. 41. Foundation #1: Who? Who are you again? How do I contact you?
    42. 42. Answer: Check the GOLD (or just Google the agency's or individual's name).
    43. 43. Foundation #2: What? What is everyone supposed to be doing?
    44. 44. Answer: Check the Administrative Arrangements Orders (AAO)
    45. 45. Answer: We have a functions thesaurus (AGIFT)1, too. 1. http://www.naa.gov.au/records-management/create-capture-describe/describe/agift/agift-zip.aspx
    46. 46. Foundation #3: Why? Why should you be doing that?
    47. 47. Answer: It's the law.
    48. 48. Foundation #4: How did that happen? Your elected representatives deemed that it should be so.
    49. 49. Contentious point #1: Friend-of-a-friend (FOAF) might not be the answer.
    50. 50. Exhibit E Google support for "Organization" RDFa1 [Google Rich Snippet Testing Tool] 1. http://www.google.com/webmasters/tools/richsnippets
    51. 51. "Each organization can have a number of different properties, such as its name, address, URL, and phone number. You can use microdata, microformats or RDFa markup to label these properties."1 [Google webmaster central] 1. http://www.google.com/support/webmasters/bin/answer.py?hl=en&answer=146861
    52. 52. Warning: Markup Ahead.
    53. 53. <!DOCTYPE HTML PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.01 Transitional//EN" "http://www.w3.org/TR/html4/loose.dtd"> ... <div> <h1> Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade </h1> <dl> <dt>Address</dt> <dd> <address> <span>123 Sydney A</span>, <span>Forrest</span>, <span>ACT</span>. </address> </dd> <dt>Phone:</dt> <dd>123-456-789</dd> <dt>Website:</dt> <dd><a href="http://www.dfat.gov.au"> http://www.dfat.gov.au</a></dd> </dl> </div> ...
    54. 54. <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD XHTML+RDFa 1.0//EN" "http://www.w3.org/MarkUp/DTD/xhtml-rdfa-1.dtd"> <html dir="ltr" xml:lang="en-au" ... xmlns:dv="http://rdf.data-vocabulary.org/#" > ... <div typeof="dv:Organization"> <h1 property="dv:name">Dept. of Foreign Affairs and Trade</h1> <dl> <dt>Address</dt> <dd><address rel="dv:address"> <div typeof="dv:Address"> <span property="dv:street-address">123 Sydney Av</span>, <span property="dv:locality">Forrest</span>, <span property="dv:region">ACT</span>. </div> </address></dd> <dt>Phone:</dt> <dd> <a href="tel:123456789" property="dv:tel">123-456-789</a> </dd> <dt>Website:</dt> <dd><a href="http://www.dfat.gov.au" rel="dv:url"> http://www.dfat.gov.au</a></dd> </dl> </div>
    55. 55. "Google does not currently display organization information in rich snippets." [Google Rich Snippet Testing Tool] 1. http://www.google.com/webmasters/tools/richsnippets
    56. 56. "Error: Filetype not supported." [Apple iPhone Error Message when attempting to save a vCard via Safari]
    57. 57. Linked Data Provision: The Likely (Mid-Term) Reality. Linked data candidates: 1.Agency contact details • Legislation • Agency functions • Public Service Gazette • Gazetted locations • Statistical 'regions'
    58. 58. Uncontentious point #1: SKOS should be useful for describing AGIFT.
    59. 59. directory.gov.au (GOLD) ComLawAGIFT AAO AGLS Hansard Open Australia AustLii agd.com.au Geoscience Australia
    60. 60. Contentious point #2: RDF without CURIEs may be reasonable (achievable, at least).
    61. 61. Directory.gov.au URIs (OLD): http://directory.gov.au/osearch.php? ou=Broadcasting%20%26%20Digital%20Switchover &ou=Department%20of%20Broadband %2C%20Communications%20and%20the%20Digital%20Economy &o=Broadband%2C%20Communications%20and%20the%20Digital %20Economy &o=Portfolios &o=Commonwealth%20of%20Australia &c=AU
    62. 62. Directory.gov.au URIs (NEW): http://directory.gov.au/directory? ea0_lfz99_120. &organizationalUnit &549b1126-3379-4b38-916e-f743317ff616
    63. 63. [gold:549b1126-3379-4b38-916e-f743317ff616] Not cool. But those URIs should have RDF representations.
    64. 64. Part 3 / 3 government + vendors + public + W3C standards = WIN!
    65. 65. Source: flickr:uwdigitalcollections
    66. 66. Government's role in data.gov.au: Do Web 1.0 right. It's roughly equivalent to Web 3.0, anyway.
    67. 67. Source: flickr:johnmcnab
    68. 68. Vendors' role in data.gov.au: Prepare to build bridges to the back office. Handle linked data intelligently.
    69. 69. Public's role in data.gov.au: Know what to expect. Ask for it if you don't get it.
    70. 70. W3C Standards' role in data.gov.au: Don't you go changing, now.
    71. 71. Source: flickr:uwdigitalcollections

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