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New project funded by the EU, Communia, from the about:

The main goal of the COMMUNIA project is to build a network of organisations that shall become the single European point of reference for high-level policy discussion and strategic action on all issues related to the public domain in the digital environment, as well as related topics such as alternative forms of licensing for creative material (including, but not limited to, Creative Commons licenses), open access to scientific publications and research results, management of works whose authors are unknown (i.e. orphan works).


Listen to Jon Udell talking to: “Greg Whisenant, founder of, wants every city to make its crime data usefully available to citizens in the same kinds of ways that famously does.”

If you are in Dublin, the Cities of Knowledge conference on November 20 looks interesting:

Cities of Knowledge
An International eGovernment/Public Sector Knowledge Management event, co-organised by Dublin City Council and DIT.

The event is part of ICiNG (Innovative Cities for the Next Generation) which is a project funded through the European 6th Framework Research programme. It aims to develop effective e-communities and e-access to city administration.

The project is based in Dublin, Barcelona, and Helsinki. Each city is providing ‘City Laboratory’ test-bed sites in strategic development/city regeneration locations where users will trial and evaluate technologies and services.

Speakers include:
Jon Udell, Technology Evangelist, Microsoft
Graham Colclough, Vice President, Capgemini
Martin Curley, Head of Innovation, Intel
Prof John Ratcliffe, DIT Futures Academy
Mark Wardle, Head of Innovation Programmes, BT

The agenda is here.

The Whole Internet:

Yes, we map all 4,294,967,296 IP addresses onto a huge image and let you zoom into it and pan around. Just like google maps, but more internetty.

zipskinny … enter a (US) zip code, get census data, and other goodies. Very nice. Does anyone know how much would it cost to pay statscanada for a license to do something similar in Canada?

The World Freedom Atlas is:

an online geo-visualization tool that shows a number of freedom indicators so to speak. For example, you can map by a number of indexes such as raw political rights score, civil liberties, political imprisonment, freedom of religion, freedom of speech, or torture. If I’ve counted correctly the data comes from 42 datasets divided into three categories:

[from the wonderfully-named blog,] and are:

your hub for daily dispatches from the streets of Toronto/Montreal to cities around the world, offering both analysis and a forum for discussion. Our contributors examine city hall, architecture, urban planning, public transit, transportation infrastructure and just about anything that involves the public realm of our cities.

Both blogs are published by spacing magazine.

This is a bit off-topic, but spiritually related to the mission of … From the “about”:

Your content and data should be yours to manage and do with as you please. Your images, writing, tags, profile, blog entries, comments, testimonials, video, and music should be yours to download and move anyplace you want.

We will help ensure that no website ever holds your data hostage.


I have not played with it yet, but I love the idea.

Jon Udell interviews Greg Elin, chief info architect of the Sunlight Foundation, which aims to make the operation of Congress and the U.S. government more transparent and accountable. It’s interesting to follow this debate in the USA – where government data and reports are de facto public domain, though true access is a different story, compared with Canada where government data is often covered by restrictive copyright provisions (starting with Crown Copyright). Says Udell about the talk:

Having surveyed a wide range of government data sources, Greg’s conclusion is that the future is already here, but not yet evenly distributed. There are pockets within the government where data management practices are excellent, and large swaths where they are mediocre to horrible. The Sunlight Foundation has an interesting take on how to bootstrap better data practices across the board. By demonstrating them externally, in compelling ways, you can incent the government to internalize them:

Some of that can be said here, but we are behind the curve, having a big hurdle to get over just convincing the Canadian government that the proved wisdom of US government data policy is compelling: making government data available spurs innovation. Restricting it restricts innovation.

See the Interviews with Innovators page, on IT Conversations.

From O’Reilly Radar:

Carl Malamud has this funny idea that public domain information ought to be… well, public. He has a history of creating public access databases on the net when the provider of the data has failed to do so or has licensed its data only to a private company that provides it only for pay. His technique is to build a high-profile demonstration project with the intent of getting the actual holder of the public domain information (usually a government agency) to take over the job.

Carl’s done this in the past with the SEC’s Edgar database, with the Smithsonian, and with Congressional hearings. But now, he’s set his eyes on the crown jewels of public data available for profit: the body of Federal case law that is the foundation of multi-billion dollar businesses such as WestLaw.

In a site that just went live tonight, Carl has begun publishing the full text of legal opinions, starting back in 1880, and outlined a process that will eventually lead to a full database of US Case law. Carl writes:

1. The short-term goal is the creation of an unencumbered full-text repository of the Federal Reporter, the Federal Supplement, and the Federal Appendix.
2. The medium-term goal is the creation of an unencumbered full-text repository of all state and federal cases and codes.

Link to the database.

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