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Data Digest is a weekly round-up of the latest news on data-related projects in the nonprofit sector, compiled and authored by Keisha Taylor of GuideStar International and TechSoup Global. It originally appeared on NetSquared.
This week check out the launch of the new Global Open Data
Initiative, the pursuit for the release and use of open data in Latin America
and thoughts on open data and democracy in Africa. A list of wrong assumptions
about the use of big data for humanitarian relief is pointed out and you can
have a look at some of the big data presentations at the recent Personal
Democracy Forum held in New York.
Global Open Data Initiative (GODI)
A new Global Open Data Initiative has been launched through a partnership with
the Web Foundation, Sunlight Foundation, Open Institute and Open Knowledge
Foundation. It aims to share principles and resources for governments and
societies on how to best maximize open government data opportunities. Through
identifying successes, it will provide a roadmap of policies and institutions
that governments can use to create meaningful new open data initiatives.
Driving the demand side of data and scraping towards transparency
Miguel Paz, the founder of Hacks/Hackers Chile in partnership with Mariano Blejman of Argentina’s Hacks/Hackers network,
and with the support of the World Bank Institute’s Global Media
Development program intends
to open data from across Latin America through their OpenData Latinoamérica project. They are building a
centralized site to store and share Latin American public data. Their network
will help with trouble shooting and data training. It will also give people the
tools to help them work with and understand the power of data and aid data
reuse. Facilitating global literacy about Big Data is viewed as important for
the media, civic hackers, and civil society.
How open data is
transforming democracy in Africa – and the challenges it faces
Marina Gorbis, Executive Director of Institute For The Future (IFTF) discusses
what she means by ‘Socialstructing’ that is “creating value by aggregating
micro contributions by large networks using social tools and technologies”.
Using the African context she explains the meaning behind the related concepts
of socialstructed work, socialstructed learning and socialstructed governance
and gives example of how it has been useful in Kenya. She says that
although using technology and open data tools can be “dangerous” in some
countries, they can still be used in other spheres of government as for example BudgIT in Nigeria.
Big Data for
Disaster Response: A List of Wrong Assumptions
In response to Derrick Herris’ post If you’re
disappointed with big data, you’re not paying attention, Patrick
Meir gives a list of misplaced assumptions about the relevance of Big Data for
disaster response and emergency management. He says that Big Data on its own
will not improve decision-making for disaster response since many decisions made
by humanitarian professionals during disasters are still not based on empirical
data. He also says that the fact that Big Data suffers from extreme sample bias
is usually true of any dataset collected using non-random sampling methods. He
also refutes claims that Big Data enthusiasts want to get rid of traditional
sources of information for disaster response and says that given much of big
data is user generated it is difficult to forget the human element.
Big Data Has Big
Stage at Personal Democracy Forum
At this year’s Personal Democracy Forum “big data” was a primary topic for
speakers. While acknowledging NSA whistleblower leaks on data surveillance,
ways to use big data for democratization was heavily discussed. The importance
of quality and not simply size of datasets was highlighted but also the value
of intuition and emotion when making decisions based on big data. Videos of
presentations can be found on the PDF website.
Ginny Mies is a Content Curator at TechSoup Global.