Open Data, Linked Data, Personal Data Stores - Powering Scotland's Digital Future

In considering Scotland's digital future, we need to look to the power of data. This is rapidly becoming a focus of businesses large and small, as they realise that gathering relevant data and making the best use of it can give them a competitive edge.


Data is powerful when held, and used by the individual; it’s also powerful when it can inform transactions in e.g. Health; Job searches; Local Government; Transport. In every walk of life, making use of personal data services can improve our ability to achieve outcomes with suppliers, government or family. Open data means that the layers of over-lapping data can be used, exchanged between us and provide benefit to more participants.


But it's also an area where government can and should focus its efforts. A key aspect of digital participation is everyone having access to the information they need to make personal and business choices; and also for holding the government to account.


To quote a recent blog post (http://opencorporates. why-an-open-licence-matters- another-milestone/) by Chris Taggart:


"In a world of Big Data, when power comes from the ability to combine data together, unless you have power to use, reuse and redistribute, you are on the powerless side – whether you a citizen, a small company, an NGO, or a government department."


Open data is also about addressing our urgent need to do more with less: open data done right brings efficiencies in getting the right information to people who need it. The biggest users of government data are the government itself and the partner organisations it works with: sharing it more effectively could make a real difference to our public services.


Governments are passing data back to citizens; they are encouraging companies to pass data back. By enabling citizens to create their own personal data stores, government is increasing digital participation. By encouraging open data exchange, companies, the third sector and academia can all carry out their business more effectively.


The excellent new Forrester Research report Personal Identity Management by Fatemeh Khatibloo, which was released last month. The report is not only a must read for those who want to understand the complex dynamics at play in this space, but it provides an accessible framework that will help businesses prepare for the transformational empowerment of individuals that is already underway. Download the report from the blog here.


So Government is laying the foundations for a knowledge economy, where a sound data infrastructure is as important as roads, electricity or water. If Government can provide just enough standardisation so that we can swap information effectively and build up layers of knowledge on top of a sound base, then personal data stores and open data will help advance Scotland’s Digital Future.


Comments (1)

  1. Bill Roberts:
    Oct 27, 2011 at 10:13 AM

    The folks at LinkedGov have compiled this very useful list of studies on the economic impact of open data:

This thread has been closed from taking new comments.