A door isn’t a destination
I think I’ve given up on Open as a concept. The word open has more people with fingers in the pie that the pie is a cannibals delight. It doesn’t seem to have any meaning, and so it’s emotional quality, polemic tendency or dogma is dead – “once more out of the breach, dear friends” – doesn’t really have gravitas.
Increasingly though, I feel openness is something I call something I release to the outside word. It is a facet I decide on, and is some ways that may well be true, but that doesn’t make it open. And I don’t mean it can’t be open, I don’t think we couldn’t tell people CC Licence means open, I just feel that open has to be defined by the person who wants to use it.
My reason for this is I have been working with two Joycean academics on a variety of blocks of work, but also been building more functionality for “James” – a series of visualisation builders around the works of James Joyce. The problem I have is that I am not an academic, and even though I have some knowledge I definitely don’t have any of Joyce, or what Joycean academics would want to do with the data. Thankfully now I am working with some proper Joyceans it makes my life a lot simpler – we can discuss ideas, bounce concepts around – look at more academic needs. With each iteration forward, we provide more services and become more open, as it is more open to the possibilities of what peope could, and more important can do with it. I could make some data sets available, but in what format, on what sites, how would I make it useful?
Open at present seems to be a “could” aesthetic – you could remix it, you could reuse it, you could share it without worrying about copyright. I can have gigs of open data, but unless I am an excel, sparql, or XYZ ninja, I can’t go anywhere with it. At the moment open is a thing, but as we move from “could” to “can”, then we move towards a more service driven “can” aesthetic then the potential for open becomes much greater. Obviously a service based openness has the tendency towards impossibility, but that to me is better than telling people what they could do and leaving them to it.