Review: Beyond Transparency – Open Data and the Future of Civic Innovation

4 Star, Information Operations, Information Society, Intelligence (Public)
Amazon Page
Amazon Page

Brett Goldstein and Lauren Dyson (editors)

4.0 out of 5 stars Superb on Open Data, Missing Important Context And Index, July 6, 2014

This is a superb collection of individual very short contributions. Absolutely worth reading and strongly recommended for purchase and sharing.

Some take-aways:

80% of government purchasing falls below the bidding / documentation threshold

Academic and Non-Profit organizations are not rushing toward Open Data

Algorithmic regulation is needed (I agree, computational mathematics is out of control)

Antiquated data perpetuates antiquated cultures

Big Data is not really understood by the Open Data crowd

Boundaries created by legacy software are dirty dirty dirty

Citizen-centered design is the opposite of how we do data generally

Citizen engagement is the ultimate value delivered by Open Data

Citizen engagement requires education, outreach, and reinforcement

Community development is a frontier waiting for Open Data to work its magic

Constituent Relationship Management is now in its third generation

Crowd sourcing could be the next big thing in Open Data

Data conversion is a MONSTER — especially from analog

Data co-ops are emergent and inspiring

Data definiton matters — confusion does arise

Data-driven government is a great meme, in its infancy

Data owners fight you at first, later they become your customers

Data science seven stages: acquire, parse, filter, mine, represent, refine, interact

Data visualization helps avoid “lost in translation” issues

Education and training in Open Data are in short supply for the mass of potential government employees

Enlightened government officials can be found…but not easily

Feed speeds suck and excess processing capacity is hard to find

FOIA is a very powerful tool (I would add — and EPIC knows how to do this)

Google is grossly over-valued by these folks (Google does the surface web (2% of the deep web))

“Government as a platform” is cute but disconnected from reality — 90% of the data is outside government

Humans matter — get to the humans behind the data if you really want to get it right

Inclusive engagement has not made the leap to inclusive capitalism

Intelligence (as decision-support) is not fully understood by the “data-driven” crowd

Investments still powered by elites and institutions instead of people or their ecosystems

IT professionals (old guard) consider citizens to be alien creatures

Journalists still do not have a means of sharing information across all boundaries

Legacy data comes with very big warts

Local ecosystems can be magical

Local scale is not to be ignored — seize the opportunity

Mobile applications take Open Data up an order of magnitude

Open Data analytics are in their infancy (to which I would add, lacking 360 degree factoring and true cost economics)

Open Data can potentially overturn decades of burdensome regulations many of which make no sense at all

Open Data can save tons of taxpayer money — if government agencies would share with one another

Open Data changes the narrative on all fronts (citizen, employees, media, small business)

Open Data collaboration across boundaries (e.g. inter-city) has a muliplier effect

Open Data creates economic value

Open Data inspires innovation — its greatest value is in savings not necessarily in transparency

Open Data is (or at least should be) a public good, a common good

Open Data leads to continuous improvement

Open Data saves tons of government employee time and taxpayer dollars

Open Data usually means open records — capturing open data points on the fly is in its infancy

Open Data without Open Geospatial is not working at its fullest potential

Open Design is essential to the future of Open Data

Open Government is nowhere near synonymous with Open Democracy

Organizational changes wreak havoc on data bases

Performance management demands that you measure the right things (to which I would add, add true costs)

Philanthropy is main funding source now — ROI for Open Data not yet understood by Capital

Privacy matters — this impacts on level of detail and visualization

Scaling requires standards

Shared data does not automatically come with shared knowledge

Transparency builds trust — trust is rapidly declining in the Internet era

True costs are hard to find and scattered among analog, digital, and undisclosed records

Total costs due not include true costs (ecologicial, social) unless you plan for same

Updating can be a nightmare

As I finish reading the book I am even more annoyed by the lack of an index — I would go so far as to say that in addition to the index there should be a special listing of key personalities (pioneers), companies, and softwares cited throughout the book. Lazy makes me crazy. The book should be redone to include an index, the guide, and a consolidated bibliography.

Excellent concluding quote from Alec J. Ross: “The principle binary struggle of the 21st century is not left or right but open societies versus closed.” This quote could be adapted to change open to open/horizontal versus closed/hierarchical.

I have taken away one star for two reasons: there is no index (for example, I cannot look up every reference to geospatial or visualization) and there is no consolidated bibliography — the team publishing this book has been lazy; and there is no larger understanding communicated with respect to the fact that Open Data alone whithers outside an open source ecology that must include at a minimum OpenCloud, Open Hardware, Open Software, and Open Spectrum.

Put another way, the authors are enthralled–and rightly so–with what happens when Open Data leads to startling efficiencies, insights, new collaboration relationships, and so on. What they do not get is what the governments of China, India, and Norway, among others, have gotten: citizens should not have to buy proprietary software (e.g. Microsoft) in order to read public data.

See my graphic on a selection of opens comprising the open source ecology we need — opens that do not hang together will hang separately — and see also the tiny url /OSE-2014 for the lastest on the Open Source Everything meme.

Open Space Technology: A User's Guide
The World Is Open: How Web Technology Is Revolutionizing Education
Innovation Happens Elsewhere: Open Source as Business Strategy
Open Source Intelligence in a Networked World (Continuum Intelligence Studies)
No More Secrets: Open Source Information and the Reshaping of U.S. Intelligence (Praeger Security International)
Open Source Intelligence Techniques: Resources for Searching and Analyzing Online Information
Counterterrorism and Open Source Intelligence (Lecture Notes in Social Networks)
The Philanthropy of George Soros: Building Open Societies
The Crisis Of Global Capitalism: Open Society Endangered
Litigation Under the Federal Open Government Laws 2006

Best wishes to all,
Robert David STEELE Vivas

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