This blog was intended as a helpful resource. Is that the case, or is it just another well-meaning but unnecessary piece of online clutter?
I was intending to highlight Leicestershire’s 2008 Place Survey results in my examples of local authorities using open data well, but I don’t really know if it is one. Certainly it’s an interesting and useful tool, and the underlying data is publicly available; however, the data itself is not that easy to access (as the page listing the datasets explains) and I’m not qualified to judge how reusable it is. So I’m not including it as an example, because I’m keen not to lose focus.
My premise for this blog (in its current form at any rate) was to champion the release of public data at a local level while also challenging it constructively, from the view that it will only be a force for good if it is executed critically and intelligently. Both of those things are being done elsewhere much better than I can do them: data.gov.uk tries hard to promote the notion of open local data, as do a number of blogs, and plenty of activists, journalists, academics and commentators are busy talking about it.
Is that enough? Could this blog – independent from government and run by someone with no academic, professional or technical expertise in the subject – be a useful resourse? Or is it just adding to the noise, regardless of how focussed it remains?
There is also a conversation happening about the place of the voluntary sector in the realm of publicly available and open data, and the relationship between it and the public sector. Should that happen here, or are the two different enough that to do so would undermine the original purpose of encouraging public sector workers to embrace open, public data? And is even that necessary anymore?
Should I call it a day, or does this blog have a future?
Answers on a postcard. Or in the comments below.