Government Open Data

Last Thursday, the Edmonton Law Libraries Association welcomed Mark Diner, Chief Advisor, Open Government and Transparency, Service Alberta to give a presentation on Alberta’s Open Data initiative. Mark is best introduced with a blog post he wrote this summer about the, then new, Open Data Portal.

The Alberta Open Data initiative is supported by an Open Government Licence. Individuals are free to:

3.Copy, modify, publish, translate, adapt, distribute or otherwise use the Information in any medium, mode or format for any lawful purpose.

The idea of having access to data that would otherwise be costly (or impossible) to collect is fascinating. The tools and services that now have the potential of being built on mashups of government collected and shared data have incredible potential.

Alberta is not alone in moving to more open government information. Did you know that the Prime Minister signed an open data charter with the other G8 leaders?

Proactive sharing of data is excellent and a very positive step. Turning data into usable information starts with understanding what is available and ensuring that people with transformational ideas can find and access it. There is a bunch of work to be done on the foundation of being able to successfully turn data into information. I am sure there are librarians across the country rubbing their hands with excitement to get started on making sure that open government data will become information.


  1. I’m glad to see others are as excited about open government as I am.

    British Columbia launched DataBC (datasets) and Open Information (FOI requests) a few years ago, and has a similar Open Government Licence.

    It’s fascinating to see how researchers, policymakers, private industry and hobbyists are manipulating datasets, especially location-based data, to make linkages and discoveries that a particular government department might not have the capacity, expertise or mandate to discover on its own.