Spaghetti Open Data

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Photo by Marco Giacomassi

Last march Bologna hosted the second rally of the Italian Open Data Community (Spaghetti Open Data). The event lasted three days: one for the real “conference”, one for the hackathons and one for the workshops. The first day had the aim to share best practices across many Italian institutions, open data users and projects. The objectives for the other days were to enable tech and non-tech people to hack around ideas, to define requirements to be transformed into code and projects or just to rush on an idea or a group of datasets transforming them into real things. A great addition to this year’s conference was the late afternoon “ask a civic hacker”-session, where non-tech people could chat with tech people to get help on specific situations.

One of the hackathons involved the analysis of the data structure of the CulturaItalia dataset in order to provide the data to the public domain calculator, a project by OKF France. The CulturaItalia portal declares as the main objective the “guided access to the world of Italian culture”.  It exposes a set of curated explorations of the content, as well as a SPARQL backend. During the hackathon we explored the data and analyzed its quality, and the result is not amazing, but at least comforting: the data is exposed in a very complicated manner and is very difficult to manage, even due to performance problems, but it is very complete and detailed, a factor that is very important in discussing about GLAM data (maybe even more important than the ease of use).

Other groups worked on other non-GLAM datasets and projects, like infographics / datajournalism (Real estate confiscated from Criminal Organizations), epidemics and roundtables on the evolution of the Italian citizen-driven funding monitor (Monithon.it), discussions and sprints within the Italian OpenStreetMap community, and much more.

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