Annual Report, 2009-2010

Annual Report, 2009-2010

It has been a really exciting year for open data, and for the Open Knowledge Foundation in particular. As open data has been climbing up the political agenda, with both the UK and US governments expressing a growing desire to move towards greater openness, the Foundation remains at the forefront of developments in the field.

The launch of in January, based on the OKF's CKAN registry, is a massive step towards openness in government in the UK, and we hope and expect that other countries will follow suit. We also look forward to seeing grow over the next year, as all parties have expressed a commitment to expanding the number of datasets included.

In other fields too, open data has become a hot topic. We've added two new working groups to the stable this year - a working group for Open Knowledge in Development, and one for Open Bibliographic Data. This expansion reflects the increasing realisation that open data is an issue that affects every discipline, as well as reflecting the growth of the OKF community and thus our ability to commit to more and more projects. In geographical terms as well as disciplinary terms, the global interest in open data is indicated by the large number of translations of the Open Knowledge Defintion (OKD) which have been produced this year, including French, Swedish, Macedonian, Chinese, Norwegian, and Russian.

We've had a busy programme of events, with members of the OKF being invited to speak at conferences across the world on a range of different topics. The Open Knowledge Conference (OKCon) 2010 was a great success, with international representation covering numerous aspects of the OKF's work. Other events included a workshop on the semantic web and open data, and an event looking into the development of public domain calculators.

Our various projects are continuing to develop well. Where Does My Money Go? has had a particularly good year, receiving funding in summer 2009 for the development of a first prototype which we released in December 2010. We were also very pleased to release a set of standards for open publishing in the sciences, the Panton Principles, which we hope will assist researchers to release their data in a truly open way and thus enable greater colloboration and faster development in science. We launched a new project, Weaving History, an online tool allowing users to string together "factlets" of historical information to create various different visualisations. CKAN has moved through a number of releases, been enhanced by the addition of the datapkg tool, and is rapidly expanding as more and more datasets are added.

We were very pleased to welcome Mark Surman, Glyn Moody, and Nat Torkington to the OKF advisory board. We were also very pleased to welcome Dr Ian Brown, James Casbon, and Paula DeLieu to the Foundation's Board of Directors.

So many thanks to everyone who has been involved with the Foundation in any capacity over this last year. All our work is powered by the ideas, input, and hard work of our community. We can't wait to see what the next year will bring!

The Open Knowledge Foundation May 2010




May 2009

  • CKAN v0.8 released
  • European Open Data Summit

June 2009

  • Open Database License (ODbL) v1.0 released
  • WG Open Knowledge in Development launched
  • James Casbon, bioinformatics programmer, and Paula De Lieu, new media expert, join the OKF Board of Directors
  • KForge v0.16 released
  • French translation of the Open Knowledge Definition
  • Where Does My Money Go? presents first visualisation of treasury data

July 2009

  • OpenTech 2009
  • 2nd COMMUNIA conference
  • Weaving History beta version released
  • First virtual meeting of WG for open Knowledge in Development
  • Repository fringe 2009

August 2009

  • OpenPlaques alpha version launched
  • CKAN v0.9 released
  • joins the CKAN community
  • Data for transport nodes (e.g. bus stops) and post boxes released

September 2009

  • Release of report: Unlocking the potential of aid information
  • Swedish and Macedonian translations of the Open Knowledge Definition

October 2009

  • Private beta launch of
  • First mock-ups of WDMMG? site
  • New CKAN features: groups, ratings, integration with, and a "your userpage"
  • 8th International Semantic Web Conference

November 2009

  • Open Data and Semantic Web Workshop
  • Public Domain Calculators meeting
  • KForge v0.17 released
  • Alpha release of WDMMG Prototype
  • Ordnance Survey announce plans to open up geospatial data

December 2009

  • Glyn Moody (tetechnology journalist and consultant) and Mark Surnam (Executive Director of the Mozilla Foundation) join the OKF advisory board
  • Launch of first full prototype of Where Does My Money Go?
  • Vizualizar '09
  • Dr Ian Brown (Oxford Internet Institute at Oxford University) joins OKF Board of DIrectors
  • Chaos Computer Conference, Berlin
  • Launch of CKAN Climate Data group
  • Datapkg 0.4 released

January 2010

  • Public Domain Day 2010
  • goes public
  • Public Domain Manifesto goes live

February 2010

  • 7th COMMUNIA workshop
  • CKAN v0.11 released
  • Launch of Panton Principles for Open Data in Science
  • Launch of "Is it Open Data?" tool
  • Launch of "Mapping Open Government Data round the World" initiative

March 2010

  • New working group on Open Bibliographic Data
  • Consultation on openng access to Ordnance Survey data
  • Open Up the City event, Helsinki

April 2010

  • Launch of Norwegian instance of CKAN
  • Launch of Canadian data catalogue,, powered by CKAN
  • Nat Torkington joins OKF Advisory Board
  • Chinese, Russian, and Norwegian translations of the Open Knowledge Definition (OKD)
  • Ordnance Survey opens up mapping data


Events and Activities

Open Knowledge Conference (OKCon) 2010

OKCon 2010 took place on 24 April 2010 at the University of London Union, London. The event brought together individuals and groups from across the open knowledge spectrum for a day of workshops and seminars. Speakers included:

  • Matthias Schindler, Wikimedia (Germany)
  • Katleen Janssen, ICRI
  • Peter Murray-Rust, University of Cambridge
  • Chris Taggart, Openly Local
  • Sören Auer, University of Leipzig
  • Jordan Hatcher, OKF and Open Data Commons

Audio, images and slides are available at the Post-Event Information page.

Open data and the semantic web workshop

We organised a workshop on open data and the semantic web, which took place on 13 November 2009 at the London Knowledge Lab. The workshop brought together researchers, technologists, and people interested in open data and the semantic web from both public and private sector organisations for a day of talks and discussions. Speakers included:

  • Jeni Tennison, independent consultant
  • Leigh Dodds, Talis
  • Hugh Glaser, University of Southampton

Discussions at the workshop led to the creation of two new volunteer roles at the OKF, an editor for Linking Open Data Group on CKAN, and an LOD/ODC community liason. Post-event material is available through the event wiki.

Workshops and meet-ups

The Foundation organised workshops and meet-ups covering specific aspects of open knowledge. In November 2009 there was a two day meeting about building set of public domain calculators for countries across Europe. The Aid Information Challenge took place in March 2010, looking at increasing transparency around aid data, and putting together visualisations.

Talks and Conferences

We participated in numerous events throughout the UK and Europe, including:

Policy, Publications and Publicity

Written pieces include:

OKF Advisory Board member Chris Corbin contributed to a report from the National Academy of Sciences in the US on The Socioeconomic Effects of Public Sector Information on Digital Networks

OKF Advisory Board Member Jordan Hatcher was interviewed by Semantic Web about why we can't use the same licensing tools for databases as for content and software




The Comprehensive Knowledge Archive Network (CKAN) – a registry for open knowledge packages and projects – went into version 0.11 in February 2010. February 2010 also saw the launch of datapkg, a tool for distributing, discovering and installing data and content ‘packages' designed to closely integrate with CKAN.

CKAN now supports groups, which can curate a package namespace – e.g. climate data – and assess priorities for turning into fully installable packages.

CKAN’s open source code is being used in the data package catalogue for the project, part of the Making Public Data Public effort in the UK. went public in January 2010. A Norwegian instance of CKAN, and a Canadian data catalogue powered by CKAN,, were both launched in April 2010.

KForge/Knowledge Forge

KForge, the suite of tools for managing software and knowledge projects, went into version 0.17 in November 2009. The KnowledgeForge service, which runs on KForge, currently has 1166 members and 267 projects. (This is now - try to find figures for end May 2010)

Open Data Commons

The second and final release candidate for the Open Data Commons Open Database License (ODbL) was published in June 2009. In January 2010 the Open Data Commons released a draft of an attribution license for data and databases.

Open Definition

The Open Knowledge Defintion (OKD) was translated into French, Swedish, Macedonian, Chinese, Norwegian, and Russian.

In February 2010 we launched the Panton Principles, a standard for the open publishing of data in the sciences.The principles state that legal status of scientific datasets should be made explicit and that content licenses are not appropriate for data. They strongly discourage non-commercial licenses and strongly encourage dedication to the public domain. We also launched a new site, IsItOpenData?, which allows users to check whether any particular (scientific) dataset is open or not.

Open Shakespeare

Open Shakespeare has been significantly updated and improved. The most significant enhancement is the availability of HTML and PDF editions of texts.

Open Textbook

In November 2009, Algot Runeman was selected as editor of the Open Text Book Registry.

As well as regular online meet-ups, we had a parallel online and real-world meet up, coorganised with the Community College Open Textbook Project and the California Digital Marketplace, at Foothill College Campus in California.

Public Domain Works

The public domain database has been constantly expanding. In November 2009 we organised a Public Domain Calculators meet-up in Cambridge UK, where we put together first drafts of diagrams representing copyright law in the Netherlands and the United Kingdom. We also started work on a tutorial to help others getting started in building public domain flow diagrams for other countries.

For Public Domain Day 2010, on January 1, we compiled our own list of authors in the registry whose work fell into the public domain, counting 563 in our database.

In January 2010, we published our Public Domain Manifesto, giving a series of principles and recommendations for promoting and protecting the digital public domain.

Weaving History

A tool enabling users to string together "factlets" of historical information, such as places, people, and events, and see them visually represented temporally and spatially. The beta version went public in July 2009.

Where Does My Money Go?

Our "Where Does My Money Go?" project is a web application aiming to interactively represent UK government budgetary information using maps, timelines, and best of breed visualisation technologies. Our first visualisation prototypes were released in June 2009. The project subsequently received a small grant from the UK government to develop the prototype. We released the first mock-ups of the application in October, and the alpha prototype in November 2009. The first full prototype was released in December 2009.

Following planning sessions in January 2010, we launched a new wdmmg-discuss list and wdmmg group on CKAN. We have continued to push hard for the release of more and better government spending data, and took particular interest in opening up the COINS data.


Working Groups

Open Knowledge in Development

A new working group for open knowledge in development was launched in June 2009. It has rapidly grown into a highly active branch of OKF activities. Currently members include:

  • Tariq Khokar, AidInfo (WG Coordinator)
  • Cormac Nolan, Publish What You Fund
  • Evangelia Berdou, Institute of Development Studies
  • John Brennan, OpenAction
  • Karin Christiansen, Publish What You Fund
  • Samuel Klein, One Laptop Per Child
  • Elizabeth Kountze, Global Development Commons
  • Andrew Lamb, Engineers Without Borders
  • Simon Parrish, AidInfo
  • Matthew Smith, International Development Research Centre
  • Pierre Guillaume Wielezynski, World Food Programme

The group aims to:

  • Act as a central point of reference and support for people who are interested in open knowledge in development.
  • Collate open data and open content relevant to development - from statistical datasets to practical information.
  • Encourage best practices regarding licensing and publication of development related open content and open data.
  • Act as a hub for the development of low cost, community driven projects around open knowledge in development.

Current activities include:

  • Creating and maintaining a registry of open data on international development. Currently using CKAN, the open source registry used in
  • The Aid Information Challenge, 10th April 2010. An event soliciting for ideas on compelling uses of open data on international development. There will be parallel events in London and New York, and we hope to turn this into an ongoing series of events.
  • Creating and maintaining legal and technical standards/principles for open data in international development. In first instance see:

  • Working Group on Open Knowledge in Development

Open Bibliographic Data

A new working group for Open Bibliographic Data was launched in March 2010. The group has attracted a broad international membership, currently including:

  • Adrian Pohl, Hochschulbibliothekszentrum Nordrhein-Westfalen (WG Coordinator)
  • Kathryn Coyle, Open Library
  • Ed Summers, Library of Congress
  • Anders Söderbäck, National Library of Sweden
  • Mathias Schindler, Wikimedia Deutschland
  • Peter Murray-Rust, University of Cambridge

The group aims to:

  • Act as a central point of reference and support for people interested in open bibliographic data
  • Identify relevant projects and practices. Promote best practices as well as legal and technical standards for making data open (such as the Open Knowledge Definition).
  • Act as a hub for the development and maintenance of low cost, community driven projects related to open bibliographic data.

The group has already released a set of Open Bibliographic Principles, available here, and which have been translated into German here

Current projects include:

  • Bibliographica: an open catalogue of cultural works
  • JISC OpenBibliography: aiming to deliver a substantial corpus of bibliographic metadata as Linked Open Data
  • Open Bibliographic Challenge: a competition to come up with ideas and realisations using open bibliographic data.

  • Working Group on Open Bibliographic Data


Plans for the next year


The Foundation is undergoing a period of big growth, and we expect this to continue through the coming year. We need to consider how to manage this, both in terms of handling funding and managing projects. We expect to receive an increased level of funding, some of it for specific projects such as 4iP support for the Where Does My Money Go? project. Across all projects, but especially those which are funded, our increasing commitment-level is going to require careful managment. To ensure our accounting runs smoothly, we plan to start using an online accounting tool and having an individual dedicated to overseeing our book-keeping.

We also need to consider how to maintain our core values as OKF grows. To this end, we have spent time this year thinking about our vision for the foundation, which will help us to ensure that we achieve this aim. As part of our core belief in openness and participation, we are going to establish a co-ordination list which is seperate from the OKF board, and which will enable community members to play a greater role in the oversight of the Foundation.




Community Coordinator: Jonathan Gray

Board of Directors

  • James Casbon
  • Jordan Hatcher
  • Becky Hogge
  • Martin Keegan
  • Paula Le Dieu
  • Rufus Pollock
  • Jo Walsh
  • Ian Brown

Advisory Board

  • Dr Sören Auer
  • Chris Corbin
  • Dr Tim Hubbard
  • Paula Le Dieu
  • Benjamin Mako Hill
  • Dr Peter Murray-Rust
  • Professor John Naughton
  • Hans Rosling
  • Professor Peter Suber
  • John Wilbanks
  • Glyn Moody
  • Mark Surnam
  • Nat Torkington

~- The Open Knowledge Foundation is a not-for-profit organization. It is incorporated in the United Kingdom as a company limited by guarantee with company number 5133759. The registered office is 37 Panton Street, Cambridge, CB2 1HL, UK. -~

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