Here we see the result of pulling data into a Google Spreadsheet from a CSV file published at a particular web address. We now have the ability to run the full range of spreadsheet tools over the data – data which is being pulled in from the datastore, remember.(A similar functionality presumably exists in Microsoft Excel?)
Through the provision of an API on top of the aggregated local council data, OpenlyLocal can also be treated as a database in its own right. In the example shown here, committee membership is displayed via a treemap showing party affiliations of committee members. (Hovering over a particular grouping displays a list of names of council members on that committee from that party political grouping.) Whilst it would be a major task to take data from every council website in a variety of formats in order to generate similar views for other councils, the work done by OpenlyLocal in aggregating this data and then republishing it via a single API in a single format means that the treemap view can be applied to each council whose data is stored in OpenlyLocal.In passing, it is also worth mentioning how the use of visualisations can be helpful in cleaning data or identifying possible errors in it. In the above example, we see that party affiliations for councillors on the Isle of Wight Council are declared as both Liberal Democrat and and Liberal Democrat Group.
Open standards and open data
Open Standards and Open Data Tony Hirst Dept of Communication and Systems, The Open University
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of thisinformation will be accessible on public sector web sites oralready published by the public sector);- previously unpublished datasets released by the public sectoron portals such as data.gov.uk; and- original and open source software and source code producedby the public sector or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…
“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.