Amy Guy

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Wednesday, November 20, 2013

OKFN Glasgow #2

I ventured to Glasgow for the second Open Knowledge Foundation meetup on Monday 18th. It was well attended, and there were six short talks:

Lorna Campbell from Cetis talked about Open Scotland. I understood this to be a collaboration between Cetis, the SQA, JISC and the ALT Scotland, to do with the opening up of education, and influencing policy and practicein this area. Here's a blog.

Grianne Hamilton from JISC talked about Mozilla's Open Badges. You can use them to reward learning, skills and achievements in all sorts of areas, and any organisaiton can create and issue badge packs to people who have earned them. Recievers can then show them off anywhere they can put HTML.

Graeme Arnott talked about a collaboration between Glasgow Womens' Library and Wikimedia, which resulted in the Scottish Women on Wikipedia event. This was a group of Scottish women getting together to edit Wikipedia articles about Scottish Women, and there was very positive feedback. They have more events planned. Graeme also reminded us about Wikimania, which is taking place next August in London.

Jennifer Jones told us about the Digital Common Wealth project. She pointed out that with media-saturated global events like the Olympics, the official story is already decided before the event even starts. An alternative to relying on what is broadcast by the mainstream media is to turn the camera on the crowd, and get the 'real' version of what is going on. The Digital Common Wealth project will encourage citizen journalists to work together to craft the story of the Glasgow Commonwealth Games from their perspective. Jennifer also raised the point that although free tools like YouTube, AudioBoo and Twitter are great for spreading stories, the data is still held by third parties - what happens if they disappear? How should initiatives like this safely archive their stories, and keep them in context?

Pippa Gardner talked about Glasgow's Future Cities project, for which they have £24 million to develop. It's about "people and data", but she was here to talk about data. There's the Data Innovation Engagement (which apparently needs a better acronym) and Glasgow's data portal which has already launched. Not all of the data on their is 'properly' open, but it's more open than it was before. There's a maps portal coming soon. Follow @openglasgow to keep up to date. Someone asked how they can avoid inadvertantly widening the digital divide by making all this data available - as it will only improve things for people who already have understanding and access. Pippa said there's a dedicate group in the Council working on widening digital participation, so they're involved.

Duncan Bain, and MPhil student at the University of Edinburgh, talked about Open Architecture. He says it's hard to define 'knowledge' and 'data' in architecture; architects create drawings/representations, not buildings. There are efforts towards opening certain aspects of this, like and the Open Architecture Network, but the culture of the architecture world, and where the money is, seems to be preventing things from going in the same direction as software development any time soon.

Here are livestreams of the talks by Jennifer Jones: one and two and a twitter timeline by Sheila Macneill.