Week 11: Mashups, Reflect ‘Open Data – Trending for the Future’

Respond to this statement: Open data is the future of the web.


Open data is a trending revolution that has the potential to enhance information sources available on the web. Open data is able to be defined as, “…Data that can be freely used, reused and redistributed by anyone – subject only, at most, to the requirement to attribute and sharealike” (Open Knowledge Foundation, 2012, para. 2). This understanding encourages accessibility and interoperability for clear, supportive and collaborative communication and organisation of data, and other information sources.


Particular key aspects of ‘open data’ support values required for sustainability of the web’s purpose and function. For example, being able to access and adapt material with no restrictions that could possibly discriminate against social groups (Open Knowledge Foundation, 2012). These elements encourage creative and critical ideas that can lead to alternative and improved services and programs, and new forms of data and information. Licensing, like Creative Commons, provides a forum for expressing openness of material sharing, however, as identified by Stephen Owens, “openness” should extend beyond licensing to the format in which things can be easily retrieved and modified (2011, p. 246). Supportive access has led to creative interpretation and the modification of material that has been used influentially.


In part, I think ‘open data’ is a future trend because of society and culture in the present. For example, US President Barack Obama has openly supported an ‘Open Data Initiative’ to make government data accessible to the public (Manuel, 2013, para. 1). In various forms, the modification of original data has been seen, heard and made available. Particular cultural examples, like Triple J’s ‘Like a Version’, the television show ‘Glee’, and photo editing programs like ‘Pixlr’, are forms of media that have sought permission to varied degrees, to adapt and share material. In other examples, open data has led to projects that include apps and programs like the ‘Chicago School Select’ (a decision tool to select a public school) (OD4D, 2013). Additionally, other apps have been created to improve, create patterns, and provide awareness and make decision-making efficient.


The message of ‘open data’ has led to the development and establishment of competitions, like the European ‘Open Data Challenge’ that encourage creative, innovative thought of how to use open data in a meaningful way (Open Knowledge Foundation, n.d.). However, the interconnectedness of media, communication and individuals regardless of geographical distance has led to ‘creative reworking’ regardless of permission sought or not (Owens, 2011, p. 247). I think it is not feasible to limit this type of information and adaptive sharing; although it does raise issues and concerns of privacy. With fewer restrictions it can lead to the production of innovative products, services and materials that support the further construction of collaborative, “arty”, meaningful and valuable “working” by individuals and groups universally (Manuel, 2013).




Reference List


Manuel, J. (2013, September 13). U.S. Government’s Open Data Initiative: Good for Business or Pandora’s Box? [Web log post]. Retrieved from http://www.datacenterjournal.com/it/governments-open-data-initiative-good-business-pandoras-box/


OD4D. (2013, March 27). 12 Fresh ideas for transforming the places we live with open data: The Atlantic [Web log post]. Retrieved from http://www.od4d.org/category/open-data/


Open Knowledge Foundation. (2012). Open data handbook: What is open data? Retrieved October 11, 2013, from http://opendatahandbook.org/en/what-is-open-data/


Open Knowledge Foundation. (n.d.). Open data challenge. Retrieved October 11, 2013, from http://opendatachallenge.org/


Stephens, O. (2011). Mashups and open data in libraries. Serials: The Journal for the Serials Community, 24(3), 245-250. doi: 10.1629/24245


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