Last Thursday I attended an evening meet-up of the Open Knowledge Foundation Network (OKFN) Edinburgh, along with Peter Cruickshank (one of my colleagues from the Centre for Social Informatics).
The event was held in the boardroom of the National Library of Scotland, and well attended by participants from a range of sectors including academia, government, charities, the health service and business. Four gave planned lightening talks: Amy Guy on the 1st International Open Data Dialogue; Freda O’Byrne on connecting small scale voluntary and community organisations with open data; Ben Plouviez on the Scottish Government and open data; Gill Hamilton on linked open data at the National Library of Scotland, and Andy Wightman on the political power of data on land, power and money.
Freda’s presentation was particularly interesting because she drew attention to how tiny voluntary organisations and charities are often missed off the agenda (in general), and in the case of open data have much to gain from their inclusion. Equally, as Gill spoke I marvelled at the extent of open data projects that the National Library of Scotland could engage in due to the huge size of its collections. It was also great to meet Andy Wightman in person having known about his work on Who Owns Scotland for some time.
As well as the scheduled talks, others made welcome additional public contributions to the discussion, most notably Michael Fourman of Edinburgh University. The ample time for networking prior to the talks, in the break, and at the end of the evening provided a good opportunity to discuss open knowledge and open data, both in theory and in practice, with the other participants. All appreciated the hard work that went into organising the event both by Ewan Klein and Naomi Lillie, and by the evening’s hosts at the National Library of Scotland.
The next OKFN Edinburgh event will be hosted by my research centre within the Institute for Informatics and Digital Innovation at Edinburgh Napier University’s Merchiston campus from 6pm on Tuesday 5th March. See the meet-up page for details on how to register, and how to offer a lightening talk.