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Monthly Archives: June 2009
We thought those interested in public access to government data would be interested in this document put together by the Australia Bureau of Statistics, Informing the Nation – Open Access to Statistical Information in Australia. It was written as a submission to the Conference of European Statisticians run by the United Nations Statistical Commission and the Economic Commission for Europe in March this year.
It provides a great explanation of the history of their decision to make their main data resources available free for reuse by the public, which culminated in them applying a CC Attribution licence to their website in late 2008. It includes the details of their pricing policies, how they filtered their documents before release and their implementation strategy. But most importantly from our point of view, it provides an explanation of their reasons for using CC licensing, including an analysis of the appropriateness of the licences for government data and the value they can add to public resources.
This afternoon the Economic Development and Infrastructure Committee of the Victorian Government handed down the final report of its Inquiry into Improving Access to Victorian Public Sector Information and Data. And it’s great news for CC – not only does the Committee recommend that Victorian public agencies adopt a uniform licensing system, they recommend that CC be used as the default licences for that system.
The report is particularly timely for the Victorian government. The bushfires disaster earlier this year revealed how closed and outdated government information management policies can be a real barrier to coordination and response in a national emergency.
Even though it’s only been a few hours since our last post, we thought it was worth posting this breaking news from Senator Kate Lundy‘s Public Sphere #2: Government 2.0: Policy and Practice.
Professor Brian Fitzgerald, ccAustralia Project Lead, has been named as a member of a new Government 2.0 Taskforce launched at the event by Minister for Finance and Deregulation, Lindsay Tanner MP. According to its website, the Taskforce is “made up of policy and technical experts and entrepreneurs from government, business, academia, and cultural institutions” who will advise the government on “increasing the openness of government through making public sector information more widely available to promote transparency, innovation and value adding to government information” and “encouraging online engagement with the aim of drawing in the information, knowledge, perspectives, resources and even, where possible, the active collaboration of anyone wishing to contribute to public life.”
There are a few names on the taskforce that might be familiar to CCers – including Mia Garlick, Assistant Secretary for the Digital Economy branch at the Department of Broadband, Communications and the Digital Economy and former General Counsel for Creative Commons International, and Seb Chan, Head of Digital, Social and Emerging Technologies at the Powerhouse Museum, who is largely responsible for the museum being a leader in open access in Australia and internationally.
Hopefully, this taskforce will help to speed up the adoption of best practice open access and open democracy policies more widely in the Australian public sector.
Even as we speak, Senator Kate Lundy is hosting the 2nd of her Public Sphere forums: Government 2.0: Policy and Practice. For those unfamiliar with Public Sphere, it’s an initiative by Senator Lundy’s office to provide online and offline spaces to facilitate discussion of topics of interest to both the general public and to the government. They’re using various different online technologies combined with offline forums, to try to provide the greatest opportunity for participation by people from around Australia. This week’s forum, which is being held at Parliament House in Canberra, focuses on, to quote the site, “how creating an even more participatory form of government in Australia will improve the effectiveness of public administration, enable communities to better help themselves, promote renewed engagement in the democratic process and enhance our capacity to respond to emerging complex social, geopolitical and environmental challenges”.
They have some great and prominent speakers, including CCau’s lead, Professor Brian Fitzgerald, and, judging by the Twitter feed (hashtag #publicsphere), there’s some lively debate going on. The whole event is being streamed live, and there’s an event wall with live Twitter, blog and Flickr streams.
On Thursday last week, Aged Care Queensland launched their new eMentoring Handbook CD Rom, designed to assist aged care workers with training and mentoring advice and opportunities. Excitingly, they’ve published the entire resource under a Creative Commons Attribution 2.5 Australia licence. This means the material on the CD Rom can be redistributed, remixed and repurposed.
The publication of a single CD Rom under a CC licence might not seem like a big step, but it’s one of the first examples Australia-wide of a community service organisation working at the ground level putting real time and thought into providing the most appropriate copyright policy for their resources. The licensing makes the CD Rom much more valuable to the community it is seeking to service. Not only can it be spread far and wide, aged care workers in the field can create customised versions for their regions, teachers and trainers can feel confident reproducing and distributing the information for their classes, and workers from other sectors can use it as the basis for eMentoring Handbooks relevant to their own workers. The whole licensing initiative is primarily due to Aged Care Queensland’s eMentoring Project Officer, Sarah Stewart – you can find her musings on the whole licensing process on her blog.