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What open data would you like to see from the Royal Opera House?

The publishing and use of open data is an area of growth across all industries and we're about to start contributing.

By Jamie Tetlow (Former Head of Digital Development)

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.

By Jamie Tetlow (Former Head of Digital Development)

14 November 2014 at 12.51pm

This article has been categorised Off stage and tagged digital, open data, website

This article has 6 comments

  1. Stephen Aggett responded on 17 November 2014 at 12:36pm Reply

    I'd like to see data on price paid for ticket and postcode - i.e. 11/12/14, Tristan and Isolde, N7, £89, and so on for each purchaser. Analytics on that could determine whether ROH draws its audience from different or similar areas depending on price band.

  2. Kealy Cozens responded on 17 November 2014 at 3:31pm Reply

    I'd like to see information on the operas performed across the years; who they were by, when they were performed, how many nights they were performed, how many people were involved, prices for tickets.

    Formats that would be great would be excel or xml.

  3. Dana responded on 18 November 2014 at 7:09pm Reply

    It would be really interesting to see analytics about the Royal Opera House's social media activity, in the style of Museum Analytics. Information such as the most popular tweets, likes, shares, comments, etc over a weekly / monthly period, for anyone with an interest in audiences and their engagement with cultural institutions

  4. Firstly, I think this is a really fantastic move by the ROH. It's great that you're looking to open up your data for people to use.

    Personally, I'd like to see the performance database from the ROH collections easily accessible. I've been able to collect some data from it by parsing the webpages, but getting the output in a JSON format (or any easily machine-readable format) would be really great. Obviously an API to allow for customised data requests would be ideal, but any way to access search results (or the whole database!) in a JSON format would be great.

    Apart from that, being able to access info from production pages in some kind of machine-readable format would also be great.

  5. Nick responded on 24 November 2014 at 2:37pm Reply

    A kinf of performance archive with casting would be nice.

    Audience numbers, through the door per month? or per production?

    I like the Popular tweets kind of thing. How about a best of year, or end of year review in figures? The little infographic which was trying to persuade the young and students to attend was very nifty. We are in the age of infographics, so a summary of year or some such would be nice? This could be developed to market the ROH product as well as promote, e.g. highlight the need for "development", fundraising, appeals, as well as showcasing the good work ROH does already.

    Bitesize data is king!

  6. An archive of every event ever held with as much data as exists (from ticket sales to performer biogs), and linked all text and images used in every programme.
    Great examples here:

    As well as all energy and environmental data, so that the efficiency of theatres and productions can have an eco-budget. is a great reference here.

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