Some notes from the eCampaigning Forum 2010…

“Data Hugging Disorder” – how can we persuade organisations to release their strangle hold on data and shift to the mindset of data being open by default. i.e. justifying why you don’t want to allow people to share the org’s accrued knowledge.

An example Rolf brought up was the FOAF standard that allows you to create connections between websites, for instance, between your site and a colleagues, or your brother’s and your sites. The web itself would then act as a social network, unmediated by having to give something like Facebook your data.

A couple of standards frameworks discussed were RDFa, which will be shipping by default in Drupal 7, and Microformats, which Firefox has been promising for a long time to build in support for by default (rather than relying on plugins).

To take a couple of examples of how these are actually implemented. FOAF coding a person – taken from
<foaf:Person rdf:about="#danbri" xmlns:foaf="">
<foaf:name>Dan Brickley</foaf:name>
<foaf:homepage rdf:resource="" />
<foaf:openid rdf:resource="" />
<foaf:img rdf:resource="/images/me.jpg" />

Which would simply display as:

Dan Brickley

but with all the other information embedded in those two words.

For Microformatting examples have a look at:

Also mentioned was OpenCalais.

There are three stages to agreeing and defining which terms, definitions and overall ontology will be the most useful for us to use. If we don’t engage now then those terms will very likely be defined by other organisations whose agenda may not be a good fit with that of the charity sector.

The first phase is Tools
These are tools like: OpenID and OAuth. RSS. AIDA

Second phase is Rules
These are: Terms of Service. Privacy Commons – equivalent of Copyright Creative Commons.

Third phase is Results
These are: ISHub and then: AKUD / OpenCalais / Nabuur / 1% Club

The final area of discussion came back to touch on issues around the Privacy Commons thinking again, and how OpenID allows users to control their own web presence. By having one login to Google or an open source equivalent like ClaimID for instance, you then only need to remember one password to control all your logins on the web. This would become like a passport or other form of ID that’s accepted everywhere, except you’d have complete control over it. To take a real world example you wouldn’t expect to have an individual ID card for every shop, bar and house you entered, so why do we for web?

A complementary more recent development is the OAuth protocol. Very similar to OpenID in what it’s trying to achieve, instead of creating a permanent link between your OpenID and a website that you login to like Twitter, it creates a time-bound token that would allow a site to confirm your ID for a short period of time only, and not retain other data about you beyond that timeframe.

Ideas around Semantic Web have a high profile champion in Tim Berners-Lee who was awarded funding this week by Gordon Brown to push it forward. It’s often referred to as Web 3.0, or ‘The Next Big Thing’