Government data catalogues are an impulse for Open Data
The call for a Dutch catalogue of open government data is getting louder. Not surprising with the examples already available from the USA, UK, Australia, Spain, and Worldbank. At the same time the landscape in the Netherlands is fragmented when it comes to open government data. Different government bodies approach open government data very differently.

Opening up government data is mandatory based on the EU Public Service Information directive of 2003, which has been transcribed into national law all over the EU. So that governments ‘must’ do this is clear. It’s just that there’s a difference in how much they ‘want’ it, and if they actually ‘can’ do it given their means and expertise. It’s those differences that create the fragmented landscape in the Netherlands.
To make it easier for government bodies, so they ‘can’ do more, a national data catalogue is a great tool. It creates a clear single point of entry for citizens and organizations, and at the same time allows to create clear guidelines when it comes to metadata and dataset description, as well as maintenance, thus reducing the current fragmentation.

Hack the Government, May 29th, you’re invited
Coming Saturday, May 29th, a new edition of ‘Hack the Government‘ will take place in Amsterdam. Open government data is high on the agenda of the event.
Particularly, at the request of the Dutch Ministry for the Interior, I will moderate a discussion session (world cafe style) on what a Dutch Open Government Data Catalogue should be from the perspective of all the different stakeholders. : Path of Growth
That there will be a Dutch data catalogue is not in doubt. It is already in the works. However it will start simple, as a straightforward list of pointers to existing national data sets ‘as is’. So without a uniform cataloguing structure such as CKAN could provide, and without making sure the data sets are transformed into open standards in line with the principles of open government data. Making an inventory of national data sets is currently under way and will be available in July.
The key question for Saturday is how we, as stakeholders, view the path of development from those simple beginnings
What are must-have and nice-to-have features? How do you see future developments? What are high priority steps to take? How long will it, or should it take? How would you like to be and stay involved in the development of a data catalogue. This all from your own perspective, whether you are a scientist, a transparency activist, a lone coder, a citizen, a civil servant, or a company.

What happens with the results?
All results (including input received from people not present in the session Saturday) will be collated as an advice for the Ministry for the Interior. It will be used both in the discussions the Min Interior will have with other ministries, as well as in discussions with ICTU (gov ICT implementation dept). And I will of course try to stay involved myself to see the results are put to good use.

There will be a Dutch data catalogue. Help shape it!
The Dutch data catalogue will certainly be realized. You can help shape it and guide its path of development. By being there Saturday, or by letting your views be heard here in the comments, or in an e-mail to me.

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