The Open Knowledge Forum Network has announced its second annual Open Knowledge conference, at the London School of Economics on March 15, 2008. The OKFN is a wonderful institution, bringing together people from many disciplines to work out the politics, ethics, and the nitty gritty practicalities of knowledge sharing and collaboration.
‘Open Knowledge’ is material that others are free to access, reuse or re-distribute and may be anything from sonnets to statistics, genes to geodata. In recent years we’ve seen the growth of successful open knowledge projects – from peer reviewed journals to community edited encyclopaedias – but what impact can open licensing have in education, research and commerce? Is sharing the key to scaling? What kinds of business models are available to open knowledge distributors and how is open knowledge applied in different institutional and professional contexts?
There now exists a vast amount of open content and data but what kinds of tools are available to analyse and represent this wealth of material? How can we sort, search, store it to maximise its visibility and reusability?
We’ve also witnessed the rise of web-based services — from social networking sites to online spreadsheet packages. While we have definitions for open software and open knowledge, what is an open service and what kinds of new services can be built using open knowledge?
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