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Wikimania Hits London

Rosemary attended Wikimania at the Barbican Centre, the official annual conference of the Wikimedia Foundation, where she listened to talks on a diverse range of topics relating to open data and knowledge.

First up was a captivating talk by Sir Nigel Shadbolt, Chairman of the Open Data Institute (ODI), who relayed the positive impacts that open data has had across numerous sectors. Drawing on his wise words, everyone can be an educator, scientist or innovator with access to open data. After lunch, Richard Stirling, International Director at the ODI, explained the importance that open data has had on implementing educational change programmes in Burkina Faso More specifically, access to such data has helped to identify areas where there is a shortfall in educational establishments to help encourage the building of new schools in areas where they are truly needed. This was followed by a round-table event that brought together leading minds in the open data domain. They debated everything from privacy concerns to recent successes including the usage of released data to identify cost savings in the NHS. Finally, Mike Bracken, Head of the Government Digital Service (GDS) spoke of the financial impacts that digitalising data has brought to the UK Government (around £14.3 billion or 1% of UK GDP).

Overall, it was a very interesting day that showcased the wide variety of areas in which open data is having an impact. However, it also highlighted that the open data revolution is only just beginning and there are still many organisations that lack the capability or will to release beneficial information.

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