Open her up

Oh, I forgot I had a blog. The reasons for this are as follows:

1)    Back when I remembered I had a blog, I told you I got a job. Now I have that job—for real—and it seems to take up a lot of my time

2)    I have been busy on another blog,, writing little snippets for Toronto Public Library’s Keep Toronto Reading Festival. This year’s One Book was Midnight at the Dragon Café, and you can find my posts about it here and here and here and here.

3)    Something personal. It is funny how the very deepest part of you, the part you actually have to carry with you all of the time, is too awkward to say anything about, is, in fact, not appropriate to talk about.

But here I am, back on the internet, because I am excited about data.

I’m excited about (buzzwords!) Open Data, specifically, and about the possibility of taking flexible data that cities and regions have up for grabs and integrating it into our  growing data repository. Our repository is special because it doesn’t just host data, it lets you also manipulate, cross-tabulate, and visualize data right there, without any special software. This is very exciting!

I spent a fair amount of time last summer researching the open data movement across Canada. The result was “Open Data, Open City,” a white paper that also became an OLA poster session and a prezzi I will dig up and post here at some point. So I have a good sense of the big picture, and now I can concentrate on the details: what formats do they offer? What are the consequences of the way the licenses are worded? How much work is already being done to archive geospatial data over time (as someone pointed out today: it is useful/interesting to have a geography of every daycare in the city; it is more useful/interesting to see how this geography changes over time)?

And then there’s the terrifying technical details—really not details at all: how do we make this format ‘crosswalk’ its way into our format and platform? How do we make sure we connect updates on their end to updates on ours? What about the metadata standards? 

Big weeks ahead, all y’all.


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