This morning something happened that will gradually impact the way we interact with data. This morning OpenDataSoft (ODS) embedded the Open Data Institute's Data Set Certificates into each and every data set page.
Will other open data platforms follow? Maybe. Embedding certificates is something I have been advocating since the idea was just an idea at the Open Data Institute (ODI). No one until ODS ever took me up on my offer.
These data certificates show a willingness on the part of the data steward to consider the following:
- The impact on individual privacy
- API and format documentation to ensure a greater chance of data re-use
- Metadata on where the data originates and how often it is refreshed
- RDF description tags and identifiers that allow for SPARQL queries
- Contact information for everything from privacy concerns, error corrections and the rest of the kitchen sink
A look at metadata pages for other platforms are not as rich natively. These data certificates are the foundation blocks on which we can build other certification processes. +Paul Baker from Webitects and this author have each come up with further certifications to be built on top of the work done by the ODI.
Paul Baker developed a personal digital certificate process Here a consumer of data would generate a certificate to notify the data steward of the data's re-use. Both sides benefit. The data consumer can be notified of service changes or interruptions. The data steward can now demonstrate value through the data consumer's re-use.
The open data program certification scheme is what I am working. It is based on the ODI's certificates and adds some additional requirements.
So in developing a plan for evaluating programs as well as data sets I took the following factors in mind to assign a maturity level to the program. Look at each level’s requirements. Note that Standard needs to include all Pilots and Standard requirements.
Expert level requires everything here including metadata that contains the following tags (Standard):
- An Open Data Policy (Expert)
- A Data Classification Policy (Pilot)
- Primary Contact for the data portal (Pilot)
- Agency responsible for publishing and maintaining the data catalog (Pilot)
- More than half of the sites data sets meet “Pilot” level or above in terms of open data certificates from the ODI and evaluated by ODI Member companies.
- Data certificates are reviewed monthly (Expert), quarterly (Standard), annually (at a minimum for Pilot)
Hopefully this will be a call to the data stewards as well as the platform providers that the Open Data Institute will be carrying the standard for data re-use certification. This is the start toward a more interoperable set of standards in data.
Given the negative press around the release of CSV formatted data in multiple encoding schemas it is likely the encoding type variable will make its way to the ODI certification program.
It is exciting to see these ideas come to fruition. ODS is to be commended for being the first to step up. Now we just have to make sure our CSV's are all encoded properly.