Annual Report, 2010-2011

Annual Report, 2010-2011

The open data movement, both in the UK and around the world, is continuing to go from strength to strength. Particularly in the field of open government data, hardly a week goes past without the announcement of some new intiative or release, and governments seem to almost be competing with each other for top place in the openness charts.

These developments undoubtedly go far beyond the Foundation, but nonetheless we can fairly take credit for having made a substantial contribution in this area. In November 2010 we organised the world's first Open Government Data Camp, which also inspired a Washington-based event held in the same week. Together, these events brought together for the first time people from across the world interested in this field, from policy makers to hackers, and citizens to journalists. We have seen a great expansion in the number of instances of our CKAN registry, with the governments of Norway, Finland and the Netherlands following the example of to use CKAN to power their official data catalogues.

A particular area of development for us this year has been our work on government spending. Building on the success of our award-winning Where Does My Money Go project, we have established a new project - Open Spending - with the aim to track government transactions around the world. The work that we have already done on UK government spending makes the Foundation uniquely well-placed to achieve these global aspirations. It is for this reason that we have been allocated a key role in the LOD2 project for EU linked data, within which we are developing an EU-wide data portal. Additionally, our campaigning work has undoubtedly played a role in the numerous significant spending releases made by the UK government this year, who took the opportunity of our Open Government Data Camp to make one of their most notable releases.

In other areas too, open knowledge is advancing at an increasingly rapid pace. Our ever-growing constellation of working groups has this year been augmented by the addition of a working groups on cultural heritage, archaeology, linguistics, and economics. All three have already demonstrated excellent value and potential, with the Open Economics group having won a prize for their YouTopia app in April 2011. Our Working Group on Open Bibliographic data has been especially active in the past year: May 2010 saw the launch of Bibliographica, an open catalogue of cultural works; in December we secured the release of 3 million British Library records; and in January, we released our Principles for Open Bibliographic Data, based on the Panton Principles released last year for Open Data in Science.

We are continuing to push for increased openness in the sciences, which remains a core aim at the Foundation. We were proud to receive an award for the development of the Panton Principles, which lay out guidelines for the open publishing of scientific data. The IsItOpenData tool, which was launched last year to help users find out about the status of scientific data, has been developing, and the Open Science Working Group have been putting the pressure on publishers to clarify and explain their practices.

We have also been expanding in a geographical sense. In May 2010 we welcomed a new chapter, the Open Knowledge Foundation Deutschland. They launched a new project in October, Offener Hauslhalt, inspired by the WDMMG project to visualise and explain government spending in Germany. The first Open Knowledge Scotland event took place in May, and in April 2011 a new mailing list was established for the Czech Republic.

All this expansion has required a matching expansion in our core staff. In August 2010 we decided that this organisation would greatly benefit from a Project Coordinator, and we were pleased to welcome Jason Kitcat into this role in January 2011. We expect to see more members joining the team over the next couple of months. We have also started using the online book-keeping tool Xero, as well as vaious other tools to ease the administration of the Foundation.




May 2010

  • Launch of OKF Germany
  • Open Knowledge Scotland Conference
  • Launch of Bibliographica
  • Release of CKAN v1.0

June 2010

  • COINS data released
  • Panton Principles authors win SPARC innovator award
  • Rufus Pollock to sit on new UK Public Sector Transparency Board
  • Release of Open Data Commons Attribution License
  • 3rd COMMUNIA Conference
  • Launch of for open data in Italy

July 2010

  • Belarusian translation of the Open Knowledge Definition
  • Hacks and Hackers event
  • Launch of ORDF, the OKF RDF library
  • ScotGovCamp

August 2010

  • Launch of Cultural Heritage Working Group
  • Data Driven Journalism event, Amsterdam
  • releases CKAN Drupal module
  • iSemantic Conference, Graz

September 2010

  • Launch of LOD2
  • Publication of OKF/Access to Info report on access to information and open government data.

October 2010

  • Launch of Where are the Cuts? mini project
  • Workshop on Open Bibliographic Data and the Public Domain, Berlin
  • Open Data Manual Book Sprint, Berlin
  • Launch of Offener Haushalt by OKF Germany
  • Announcement of, based on CKAN

November 2010

  • Open Government Data Camp 2010
  • Design Meets Data event, Berlin
  • Release of CKAN v.1.2 and datapkg 0.7
  • New open source annotation toolkit released
  • OpenBib project secures release of 3 million British Library records

December 2010

  • Eurostat Hackday
  • International Open Data Day
  • Launch of
  • Turin Cloud Camp and Open Data Conference in Italy

January 2011

  • Jason Kitcat joins the OKF as Project Coordinator
  • Launch of Principles for Open Bibliographic Data
  • Launch of
  • Public Domain Day workshop, Berlin

February 2011

  • WDMMG transitions to OpenSpending
  • Release of Europe's Energy
  • Open Shakespeare Annotation Sprint
  • Apps for everyone event, Berlin

March 2011

  • Launch of
  • Seperate library for Public Domain code established
  • Big Clean, Prague

April 2011

  • Italian spending data added to Open Spending
  • Launch of the Open Data Challenge
  • New mailing list for open data in the Czech Republic
  • YourTopia wins World Bank prize
  • Film about Open Government Data


Events and Activities


Open Government Data Camp 2010

The first international open government data camp took place on the 18th and 19th November 2010, at the University of London Union. The high-profile event brought together participants from over 30 countries, for two days of workshops, talks, planning and coding. Speakers included:

  • David Eaves, open data activist and consultant, Canada
  • Beth Novek, US Deputy Chief Technology Officer
  • Tim Berners-Lee, W3C
  • Nigel Shadboldt, UK government information advisor
  • Tom Steinberg, MySociety

You can find post-event information including video, photos and slides on the post-event page.

Open Knowledge Scotland

The first Open Knowledge Scotland event took place on 13th May 2011, at InSPace in Edinburgh. The event brought together open knowledge practitioners from from across the open knowledge spectrum based in Scottish educational institutions, Scottish research organisations, Scottish local and national government, and members of the public for the purposes of teaching, learning and discussion.

Post-event information is available on the event wiki.

Workshops and Meet-ups

The Foundation organised a growing number of workshops and meet-ups covering specific aspects of open knowledge. A Government Linked Data Session took place in Brussels in September 2010, and in the same month a Data Journalism Meet-Up was held in Berlin. In October, there was a workshop on Open Bibliographic Data and the Public Domain and an Open Data Manuel Book Sprint, both in Berlin. Events around open data visualisation technologies took place in November, and in January 2011 we held a Public Domain Day workshop, also in Berlin.


In December 2010, the Foundation played an important role in two international Hackdays, the Internation Open Data Day, and Eurostat Hackday. We organised events in Berlin, London and Edinburgh.

Talks and Conferences

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

Policy, Publications and Publicity

Written pieces include:

Interviews include:

Additionally, OKF co-founder Rufus Pollock became a member of the new UK Public Sector Transparency Board in June 2010, helping to position the Foundation as a key player in UK government policy in this area.




In January 2011, we created the new, paid role of project coordinator, to keep an overview of live projects, liaise with the Board of Directors and the Coordination Committee plus doing some direct project management. Jason Kitcat was appointed to the role.


This year we launched a new project, Bibliographica, an open source software platform to create and share semantically rich information about publications, authors and their works. The project has been launched in collaboration with IDEA Lab and the University of Edinburgh. In November, the JISC-funded OpenBib project, of which OKF is a partner, announced the release of 3 million new records from the British Library. These can be accessed through the Bibliographica portal. In Febraury 2011, the Open Bibliographic Data Challenge was launched, with prizes for ideas and prototypes using open bibliographic data.


The Comprehensive Knowledge Archive Network (CKAN) – a registry for open knowledge packages and projects – went into version 1.0 in May 2010. In November 2010, it went into version 1.2, and in Feburary 2011 version 1.3 was launched. Datapkg, our tool for distributing, discovering and installing data (and content) ‘packages’, went into version 0.7 in Novermber 2010 and version 0.8 in February 2011.

There are now over 20 CKAN instances running around the world and CKAN is being used in official government catalogues in the UK, Norway, Finland and the Netherlands, as well as communty portals in places such as France and Italy. Our main community catalogue now has over 1500 data ‘packages’ and has become the official home for the LOD Cloud.

Open Data Commons

An open data attribution license was released in June 2010, a database specific license requiring attribution for databases. This makes ODC-BY similar to the Creative Commons Attribution license, but is built specifically for databases. As a legal tool that only requires attribution, it complies with the Open Knowledge Definition, the Open Knowledge Foundation's standard around defining the rights behind what something means to be “open”.

Open Definition

The Open Knowledge Definition was translated into Belarusian.

The authors of the Panton Principles, our standard for the open publishing of data in the sciences won the SPARC innovator award in June 2010.

In January 2011, we launched our Principles for Open Bibliographic Data. These build on the ideas of the Panton Principles, to guide the producers of bibliographic data in how to effectively make this data openly available for use and re-use.

Open Shakespeare

Open Shakespeare has continued developing. It prompted the development of our new open-source annotation toolkit for inline, online annotation, which can be used on other content as well. In February 2011 we held our first annotation sprint, using the Annotator software to collaborate in-person and online. In March we held a second annotation sprint on Hamlet.

Open Spending

In February 2011, we merged our long-running Where Does My Money Go project into a broader project under the title Open Spending. The objective of the Open Spending project is "to track every government and corporate financial transaction across the world and present it in useful and engaging forms." This is a push to take the work we have done on a UK level with WDMMG and use it to develop international level tools.

The Offener Haushault project, developed by our Germany chapter and inspired by WDMMG was launched in October 2010, and now forms part of the broader open spending project.

In March 2011, we added a new web uploader to the Open Spending site, so that users can get their data online more quickly. In April, we added our first major upload of data from another country, with 12 years of Italy's spending data inputted to the platform, the release of which was secured with help of some of the OKF community in Italy.

Where Does My Money Go?

The Where Does My Money Go project has had a successful year. A measure of the success and recognition of the project has been its frequent citation by others as an exemplar open project app. To give two examples: a) the Google sponsored used Where Does My Money Go? as one of its two exemplars for aspiring contributors; b) Rohan Silva, a member of the UK Prime Minister’s No. 10 team, cited Where Does My Money Go? as an exemplar in his talk at the 2011 Personal Democracy Forum conference in New York this June.

With reductions in public spending at the top of the political agenda, we developed a number of tools to help citizens understand the numbers and contribute their opinions about how savings ought to be made. In May 2010, alongside the UK elections, we offered a visulations around the different possibilities for government cuts. In June 2010, following the announcement of the emergency budget, we developed visulations to answer various questions around the budget, and in the same month we created an app with which users could attempt to "close the deficit gap" in the way they thought best.

Thanks in part to pressure from open data campaigners including the Foundation, the UK government has made a number of significant data releases this year. In June 2010, the COINS spending data was released, one of the biggest sources on UK government spending. However it soon became apparent that the data was not complete, as we exposed on our blog and on the Guardian datablog. In November, as part of the OKF's Open Government Data Camp, the government announced that it would be releasing details of all spending over £25,000. We are continuing to campaign for the release of the Whole of Government Accounts.

Where are the Cuts?

In October 2010, we launched a related mini-project to WDMMG, called Where Are The Cuts? The site enables UK citizens to identify, report and map the cuts in their area. It was received enthusiastically in the press.

Public Domain Works

Both the promotion of Public Domain works and the production of calculators for the Public Domain have seen significant developments over this year. In October we produced a microshort film to promote and explain the idea of Public Domain Calculators. The PublicDomainWorks site now incorporates our API for calculating the public domain status of works. In March 2011, we added a standalone library of the code for the calculators.

As part of Public Domain Day 2011 we launched a new site, Public Domain Review, which is becoming an active hub for the review of works in the public domain. We also hosted a workshop in Berlin to discuss how better to promote the public domain.

All the sites associated with our Public Domain projects are now accessible through a central site of the Public Domain Working Group.

In September 2010 the LOD2 project was launched, with the Foundation as a consortium partner. We are working within the project to develop an EU-wide registry for open government data,, powered by CKAN. will provide a single point of access to this data, as well as offering visualisation tools and basic data analysis to enable non-technical users to get the most out of the data available.

In December 2010, we held the Eurostat Hackday, working on the Eurostat databases. During this Hackday, we started work on a miniproject which forms part of, Europe's Energy, which was launched in February 2011.

We are also now helping to run the ePSI platform, a key resource for people interested in laws, policies and practices related to the reuse of European Public Sector Information (PSI).


Working Groups


The Open Knowledge Foundation now has more than a dozen working groups working in areas from science to literature, and archaeology to government data. In the last year we have seen significant growth both in the number and activity of working groups. The new working groups from this year are detailed below.

Working Group on Open Data in Archaeology

A new working group for open data in archaeology was established in Spring 2010, and is becoming a very active branch of OKF activities. Current members include:

  • Stefano Costa, IOSA and University of Sienna (WG Coordinator)
  • Colleen Morgan, University of Berkeley
  • Eric Kansa, Open Context
  • Andrew Bevan, UCL Institute of Archaeology
  • Evangelia Kappa, Directorate for the National Archive of Monuments, Greece

The groups aims to:

  • Act as a central point of reference and support for people interested in open archaeological 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 data and archaeology

Current activities include:

  • Open Archaeology Data Group on CKAN, a community driven registry of open data in archaeology
  • Is it Open Data? Looking at whether existing projects are compliant with the Open Knowledge Definition and making publicly accessibly enquiries using the Is It Open service
  • Ethics in Archaeology, aiming to create an ethics statement useful for the open release of raw data

Cultural Heritage Working Group

A new working group for opening up our cultural heritage was established in August 2010. Currently members include:

  • Ian Ibbotson, Knowledge Integration (WG Coordinator)
  • Hugh Corley, English Heritage
  • Primavera De Fillipi, European University Institute, Italy
  • Rob Myers, freelance developer
  • Ant Beck, University of Leeds
  • Ben Showers, JISC

The group is currently working on building a strong case for the adoption of OKD-compliant licenses in the domain of cultural heritage.

Working Group on Open Information in Economics

A new working group for open information in economics was established in Autumn 2010.

The group aims to:

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

In January members of the working group conducated a hectic 2-day sprint to create an app for submission to the World Bank Apps for Development competition. Yourtopia was the result and it went on win third place and a $5000 prize that is going to help support the expansion of the working group’s activities.

Working Group on Open Data in Linguistics

A new working group for open data in linguistics was established in October 2010. Currently members include:

  • Christian Chiarcos, University of Potsdam (co-WG coordinator)
  • Sebastian Hellmann, University of Leipzig (co-WG coordinator)
  • Cornelius Puschmann, University of Düsseldorf
  • Sebastian Nordhoff, MPI for Evolutionary Anthropology
  • Nancy Ide, Vassar College and American National Corpus project
  • Armelle Boussidan, CNRS Lyon

The group aims to:

  • Promote the idea (and definition, as specified in of open data in linguistics and in relation to language data
  • Act as a central point of reference and support for people interested in open linguistic data
  • Provide guidance on legal issues surrounding linguistic data to the community
  • Build an index of indexes of open linguistic data sources and tools and link existing resources
  • Facilitate communication between existing groups
  • Serve as a mediator between providers and users of of technical infrastructure
  • Assemble best-practice guidelines / use cases to create, use and distribute data


  • WG homepage


    Plans for the Next Year

    Over the next year we expect the Foundation's activities to continue to expand at quite a rapid pace. We expect to see our Open Spending project continue its development and become a exemplar on a global scale of the social and economic potential of open government data, which will play a role in the promotion of openness from governments around the world - just as Where Does My Money Go has prompted far greater openness from the UK government. We expect to see continued growth in the number of events and workshops we organise, and are planning next year to hold both an OKCon and a second Open Government Data Camp. We expect to see continued expansion on an international level, and hope to add more chapters and local lists to the OKF community.

    To manage this expansion effectively, we expect to take on more core staff in the near future, and will need to secure more funding to protect the long-term future of the Foundation. Whilst we remain comitted to our volunteer base and to organisational openness, we feel the the smooth-running of the Foundation is going to depend on a higher degree of oversight, and meeting our growing number of commitments can be achieved only through a larger core of paid members. Structurally, we are transitioning from an active board to one which just oversees the financial and legal integrity of the organisation. The previous activities of the board are being transferred to the coordination group. We will be reviewing and formalising the Foundation structures, to try to streamline our work.



    Project Coordinator: Jason Kitcat
    Community Coordinator: Jonathan Gray

    Board of Directors

    • James Casbon
    • Jordan Hatcher
    • Becky Hogge
    • Martin Keegan
    • Ben Laurie
    • Paula Le Dieu
    • Dr Rufus Pollock

    Advisory Board

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


    • Dr Ian Brown

    ~- 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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