14 November 2014 at 12.51pm | 6 Comments
Last week the second Open Data Institute Summit celebrated open data and its impact across many sectors. Among the presentations and discussions on governmental, social and educational opportunities several sessions touched on the arts and the potential for open data to engage more (and more diverse groups of) people in UK heritage and culture. For several years now we on the ROH website have been utilizing open data from platforms including YouTube, Flickr and Delicious to draw the content we post on the web back to populate our own website. Now we want to flip that process and publish our own data back into the web ecosystem.
When we say open data we mean data about the things we do, the events, the people, the news; all distributed freely for reuse and redistribution by anyone – subject only to a simple licence of attribution. It should be noted this does not and will never include personal data like names, emails, dates of birth, etc.
We have some clearly defined internal needs that we wish to fulfil, for example: delivering our cinema screening information in the JSON format would allow us to overlay that data on an interactive map; we could use today's schedule in an RSS format to feed data to the digtial display screens in the public areas of the building; or an individual event made available in the ICS format could be easily saved to your calendar application of choice.
We're not sure what wider opportunities might be generated by opening up our data but we're excited about the possibilities. So, if you are a developer or researcher working with cultural data, an event listings or cultural organization creating applications and websites or simply an individual with a deep interest in the Royal Opera House we would like to hear your thoughts, however simple or complicated.
Initially, we are looking to open up the data that currently resides in our web pages - moving the data from human-readable to machine-readable. We then have ambitions that our open data will reach the 5 star rating that Tim Berners-Lee proposed, and the Expert certificate as laid out by the Open Data Institute. We're excited about the benefits that lovers of opera, ballet and other art forms could see from this evolving technology so over to you to let us know the formats and datasets we should look to expose – do let us know your thoughts.