Learning Workshop: what’s next in open data & IATI publishing?

Publishing data in the IATI format can help organisations and their stakeholders get a better grip on the quality of their information and on their impact. Organisations in a Strategic Partnership with the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs had to publish their first data sets before May 1st. How did the process go, and what […]

Engineering 1984

While catching up with the nettime mailing list, I came across two articles that give me the creeps. Microsoft filed patents for a ‘consumer detector’, to let your Xbox or TV decoder detect who is watching, and if the audience is not deemed suitable, to stop playback. Apple received a patent that lets the police […]

Twitter puts the bird in a cage

When I came across Twitter, years ago, it first looked like another chat service. But with the ability to interact via SMS, and easy ways to feed tweets into websites and applications, it quickly became a rich ecosystem for exchanging all kinds of status updates. You see metro lines on twitter, announcing disruptions in services. […]

WordPress for Presentations (part 1)

For a while now, I’ve been wanting to get rid of using presentation software (like Microsoft Powerpoint and LibreOffice Impress). Since I’m mainly presenting stuff on the web, about the web, I want to use a web-based tool. Like my blog. And now I can! Here’s part one of the journey. Doing presentations with WordPress, […]

Dutch development data and results online

Today, Ben Knapen, the Dutch State Secretary for development cooperation, presented the  “Resultatenrapportage”, the “reporting of results” on Dutch efforts in development aid in the period 2009-2010 . He used the occassion to also present the first…

Smarter crowdsourcing

Paul Currion has written a critique on Ushahidi and crowdsourcing in humanitarian crises. I think he misses quite a bit of what actually went on, it’s like me judging the effectiveness of institutional aid based on what I see and hear on TV. Robert Munro has answered Paul’s critique with a more in-depth review of what happened and didn’t show up on Ushahidi.

I do agree with Paul’s (somewhat hidden) observation that tapping into an existing infrastructure (in the case of Haiti: the Open Street Map community) is a next step. I’d generalise that: tap into an existing social infrastructure. Consider the Haitian diaspora as such.

One way to look at crowdsourcing is as "a random group of people connected by technology figuring out processes to address a one-off goal". But that’s still a rather centralised view: an unconnected mass of people coming together like a flash mob.

A better way would be to consider socio-technical architectures: groups of people connected by technology, establishing (new) patterns of collaboration for on-going goals. That’s more a peer-to-peer view: an ad-hoc configuration of groups of people with different skills coming together to address a complex situation.