Part of my new reason for existing in the library world is to make connections between the digital and physical library. One of the ways to do that is to work with open data. Unfortunately, out of all my many and varied technological interests, open data always seemed beyond my skill set.
As part of a quest to learn more about Open Data I’ve been to two data gatherings since February. I would normally call them conferences, but neither event used the term conference deliberately. I really enjoyed that both events included hands-on projects, and the chance to network.
The first event was the BC Open Data Society’s Open Data Summit. The event was a mix of high-level presentations about programs that had been, and are being done with open data, and hands-on activities to answer problems posed by the group. It was a lot of fun, I learned a lot about what is happening in the world of open data, what people are interested in taking on as projects (lots of civic data) and a bit about collaborative group projects (with strangers!). Despite that, after the event I felt even more out of my depth on the topic of open data than before.
This past week I went to my second event- #DataCamp, an organic half-day event that was focused on finding solutions to Open Data problems. This event was aimed at librarians and educators and had a different feel than the summit. There were questions solicited from the attendees, who then, by voting, chose eight topics to workshop. The person who originally posed the question was the person expected to facilitate the discussion. It was fun, I was able to discuss questions of library staff digital literacies and how to advocate for open data projects & hackathons for libraries. While I would have liked to have heard summaries from the other groups, I am hopeful that we’ll have everything online soon. The group was very twitter friendly.
I will be the first to admit that I still have a lot to learn – especially about how libraries best fit within the open data landscape, but I have learned a lot in a month, who knows what I’ll know next month.
If you have a chance, take a look at these open data sources and tools:
- Vancouver Public Library Open Data
- Vancouver Open Data catalogue
- BC Government Open Data
- BC Open Data Learning Summit Tools
- Open Data Tools
I will likely revisit this topic in the future!