Posts Tagged ‘COI’

Things I've spotted October 24th from 21:53 to 22:40

Posted on 24th October 2009 by

Here are some of the things I’ve been reading October 24th from 21:53 to 22:40:

  • FutureGov » Features » ePetitions data standards – get involved! – Andy Gibson is looking for local government to help him create a standard data set for e-petitions.
  • Against Transparency | The New Republic – This, from Lawrence Lessig, is really worth reading: "This is not to say the data will not have an effect. It will. But the effect, I fear, is not one that anybody in the "naked transparency movement," or any other thoughtful citizen, would want."
  • An encouraging week at the conferences – Digigov – David Pullinger of COI reflects on a couple of conferences: "It struck me that there are many talented expert e-communicators across government but hampered by the misperception that Web is IT."
  • Living with rats: Trafigura, climate change and the power of reputation – Julian reminds us that Trafigura is about our willingness to use tools, not the tools themselves: "The real story, I think, is the power of citizens to change an organisation’s reputation. What matters isn’t the tool – Twitter, Facebook or even good old-fashioned newsprint – but people’s willingness to use it. What’s also interesting is people’s readiness, at a time when politicians’ esteem has hit a new nadir, to defend the rights of Parliament against corporate and legal bullying. There was a glimmer here of what Parliament should be: the champion of the citizen and the exposer of abuses."
  • potlatch: the economic sociology of receipts – Will is really interesting on the growing trend to give a receipt with everything: "to normalise receipts in cafes or bars is to strive for the perfect, 'dis-embedded' clean exchange, of the liberal-economic imaginary. It depersonalises the interaction and substitutes data for memory. It declares the exchange over, with nothing more owed by either party. Frankly, this is futile, as exchanges always leak into society."
  • New for 2010: Retooled | Antonio Gould – Antonio's latest job: "The project will work with ex-manufacturing employees from the West Midlands, skilling them up in social media and working together on a challenge which mixes old and new skills."
  • Volkswagen to Rely Solely on IPhone App for GTI Launch | Advertising Age – Neville’s posterous – Volkswagen of America is launching the newest-generation GTI exclusively on an iPhone app, a cost-efficient approach the automaker said is a first for the industry. How cost efficient? When the marketer introduced the GTI in 2006, it spent $60 million on a big-budget blitz with lots of network TV. By comparison, an executive familiar with the matter estimates the annual budget for mobile AOR services is $500,000. And while an iPhone-only strategy may seem limiting, consider this: In September, Apple reported there are more than 50 million iPhone and iPod touch customers worldwide. By comparison, CBS' "NCIS," the most-watched show for week ending Oct. 18, reached 21 million viewers and commands an average price of $130,000 for a single 30-second spot.

Data, crown copyright, archives, listening to communities and the "empowerment heist".

Posted on 10th May 2009 by

I’m rootling through my feed reader catching up.

On Thursday Tom Watson announced that Crown Copyright was to be revised so those wanting to data mash with information from the Office of Public Sector Information will now be automatically granted a license. With a rather neat turn of phrase “They say information is power, but only distributed information is truly empowering” he went on to say:

the Office of Public Sector Information (OPSI) has looked again at the restrictions of Crown Copyright, and now a licence will automatically be granted to anyone wanting to use the information rather than having to apply beforehand.  OPSI has also shown how Government can publish in a ‘web-friendly’ way rather than just as PDFs, and I want to see this approach rolled out across Government.  Today I’m pleased to announce that COI is launching new standards on quality to make Government sites as effective and easy to use as possible.”

The COI site on web site clarity was first mention on the Power of Information Blog and is   http://usability.coi.gov.uk/

The Guardian has been continuing it’s Free Our Data reporting, with Charles Arthur a little underwhelmed by the announcements above:

Umm. It’s not quite the revolution that some of us were hoping for. It doesn’t even yet seem to legitimise the re-use and repurposing by sites such as theyworkforyou.com of the contents of Hansard – which is Crown copyright. That’s the trouble with tectonic shifts, though. Nothing seems to happen for a very long time, and then sometimes it happens all at once.

I don’t agree, (and neither does Tim Davies) the shift won’t be seismic in the sense of some sort of overnight social media sensation.  The last 5 years has seen steady change and the groundwork is still going on at government level.  The COI’s social media guidance document (a pdf – tut) says civil servants should:

Help non-governmental bodies to build new services by structuring information so that they can combine public data with private data.  Avoid replicating what is already being undertaken by non-governmental bodies.

Wednesday saw the launch of a 12 week consultation called Archives for the 21st Century, again data, how we capture and share it will be at the heart of this.  The press information mentions one wonderful example of a data set created from digitising the log books of ships going back to the 17th century.  Hour after hour mariners from Britain, Holland, France and Spain would log the time, their position and the weather.  The CLIWOC project is now a database for Climate Change Study.  Another example they use is Birmingham Stories.

Also on Wednesday Downing Street restored the e-mail the Prime Minister service and Hazel Blears announced that one way for councils to save £600 million a year was by listening to their communities.  This riled Julian Dobson who called it an “empowerment heist”:

‘Involving communities are key to unlocking greater savings – when it comes to finding efficiencies, empowering local people is part of the solution, not part of the problem,’ she said.

There is of course some truth in this – councils that listen to local people and provide services that are valued will achieve more for their money. But the crude equation of ‘empowerment’ with savings is dangerous nonsense: there’s no rationale for turning what may be a fortunate by-product in some circumstances into the raison d’etre.  Yesterday’s speech might have been excusable were it not for the ten years of rhetoric that had preceded it.

Ofqual’s new Chief Officers report has been made comment-able and Spaghettitesting listed the Government winners of the Webby’s including a non-governmental site from the transparency movement  GovernmentDocs.org.

Don't tell the COI but every government news stream now has it's own twitter account.

Posted on 24th April 2009 by

Some of you will have mixed feelings about this but every major news feed out of the UK government now has it’s own twitter account. What’s interesting about this is the whole process is unofficial.  I’ve no doubt Tom Watson will be delighted, but what will the COI make of this unofficial use of information?  -They’re already working on improving websites, hopefully they will understand this as an improvement in their web presence.

I’m going to quote Geof Cole, who has done this deed:

The Central Office of Information run a rather good website called the News Distribution Service, formerly the Government News Network. Below the fold are the RSS and Twitter feeds in three groups – aggregate, departmental and regional.

Unfortunately, no-one knows about it as the COI doesn’t do much to promote it despite being “the Government’s centre of excellence for marketing and communications”. It consists of news updates for all the big bits of government – departments, agencies and regions – that you could want. It’s a good way of keeping an eye on what they’re all up to an finding the occasional hidden gem of a press release. They’ve had RSS feeds for ages and now they’re on Twitter (thanks to yours truly).

I do hope someone in government picks up the admin for this. If you want to see a full list of the feeds, including your regional one, then here’s a link to Geoff’s blog.

Update, others on this:

Neil Williams: “It’s likely there will be lots of crossover between Dave’s NDS-fuelled feeds and these civil servant powered accounts, so choose wisely which to follow. The human-edited tweets will offer more than just press releases but they might also be selective about the news they deem tweet-worthy.”