Open data via open RegistersNisa Chitakasem
Last weekend we attended Open Data Camp #7 and really enjoyed the data focused sessions that were held across the weekend. For me it was my first time and it was really wonderful to see other first timers like me there, as well as to meet other data experts and open data enthusiasts who felt like regulars at ODCamp! It was an amazing weekend and has inspired us as a team to continue thinking carefully about our work and contributions to the data field.
The importance of open data
We have always believed that sharing open data is incredibly important and that we must each do our part in enabling more open data sharing to happen. For us, that is why we’ve created Registers.app and why we are keen to maintain it as a free service for all. Open registers are one way that we can offer high quality open data for everyone to easily access online.
If you aren’t familiar with what registers or open registers are:
A register (also sometimes referred to as canonical reference data) is an official or authoritative list of data. It is the ultimate source for that information and is usually maintained by a dedicated data custodian. As they are well-maintained, they are often described as datasets that are good enough for people to build things with. For more information see our article outlining what a Register is.
An open register is a public register with data available for all to see and use. There is no sensitive information in open registers so the data can be copied, shared and re-used openly. Open registers have an open data license so that anyone and everyone is free to use this data however they wish to.
Supporting open data through registers
We are hoping that through the Registers.app platform, we will encourage more and more people to share open data and to view the wealth of open datasets that are available for all to see and use. There are so many datasets out there which are great resources for others to use and it’s also really important to have sources of information that are reliable and that you can return to time and time again.
We hope that Registers.app will become trustworthy data infrastructure where others can make use of great data available and include it in their own work, studies and research. We also want to provide a home for data – a place where data can be easily stored and where it is easily accessible.
Working together to bring data together
Bringing together data in a standard and structured format so it is consumable and can be used more easily and openly is a key area that we believe everyone needs to bring to the forefront and to work on together.
Open registers are one way to create and share more open data with the world. The challenge is in making these open datasets work well together, keeping them safe, secure, and up-to-date and making sure that they are scalable to many users. We believe that we’ve made a good start to solving this problem by creating a platform to house such data.
However, we must work together now to make this a long lasting solution. All of this will only be made possible with your help as users and consumers of data and with the owners of important reference datasets and data registers being willing to share their data openly with us.
Recognising data custodians
From our recent interviews with data custodians like Mark Coram (see Custodian Spotlight: Mark Coram), it has become more and more obvious that data custodians hold an incredibly important role in guarding and sharing open data. It is also clear that they face challenges which we must endeavour to eradicate so that they may safe guard and keep our data up to date much more easily. Their roles must be recognised and nurtured so that they may continue to look after the data they have access to, with continued care and dedication.
We hope that by offering open registers online and making them freely available to all to upload, access and share, we can encourage others to also do their part in encouraging more open data to become more widely available.
If you manage and maintain any reference data and/or open registers and would like to share this data openly with others, we invite you upload and share your registers through Registers.app. It’s completely free and we plan to keep it this way. It will only take a few seconds to get started and to make your data easily accessible and shareable online, forever.
Sign up for our public beta and we’ll let you know when our Community version for open data is ready.
Nisa is the Chief Marketing Officer at Register Dynamics. Having studied Electrical and Electronic Engineering at Imperial College, she has a strong background in technology and a great appreciation for what technology can do.
She’s a skilled business builder and specialist in start-ups who has joined the Register Dynamics team with energy and passion. Follow Nisa and the rest of the team @RegDyn.