Jonathan Gray, Open Knowledge Foundation
Why does data matter? Data is evidence for action, it’s about facts that support action.
Data is not sacred: data is partial and data is profane. Data is a by-product of former actions of many actors, especially institutions.
Data needs a critical literacy to understand it, to understand the hidden message. And it also needs data infrastructures as socio-technical systems.
Datasets are a mixture of different sources gathered for different purposes. But is data relevant? Is it collected for what we need? Is it useful?
There’s another problem concerning data and it’s its excess: a fever to collect so much data that (a) then it becomes difficult to treat, at it is difficult to handle with current tools and (b) we begin to “throw data” to try and cover everything without making much sense of it.
Will here be a data revolution? Can we democratize access to data?
There are many things that civil society can do to (a) change the way public institutions measure, (b) to become more responsive and creative in the way datasets are given life outside of the public sector.
Data infrastructures shape life and civil society.