I call this a diary rather than a blog. It's the page where I add or link to new stuff with content arranged in date order, rather than where I regularly write short pieces on what I'm doing… although some of this does read rather like a blog.

The Linked Data Challenge

In a Lisbon hotel bar recently I faced a challenge, one that in my job I really ought to be able to rise to.

I Choose Who I Link To

I had an e-mail asking me to remove a link from this site to another. A lot of Web masters are receiving such messages. I hope you will join me in treating such e-mails with contempt.

I'm not a convert

Jaclyn Glenn

This is a train of thought that's been evolving in my head for over 40 years. Time to give it some online expression. It's my explanation for why I'm an atheist and why I've been one ever since I was a child.

Two Days on the Danube

My home for two nights: the Danubius Hotel from across the Danube (image from their website)

To Budapest for a couple of days this week to take part in two events. First of all, in my role as an advisor to the ePSIplatform, I'm speaking on a panel discussing the status of Public Sector Information in Europe. The attitudes taken by different governments when asked to let their populations have access to the data they, as taxpayers, have already funded varies. This story from Croatia is, sadly, not unique, so the counter arguments have to be repeated. I dare say I'll be citing the example of Transport for London's massive return on investment when they opened their data (details in a Deloitte study conducted as part of the Shalespeare Review).

On my second day in the Hungarian capital I'll be taking part in a W3C Hungary Day and giving a talk I've called What's so great about 5 star data. This is going to be driven mostly by a study I've been working on recently with others into government use of linked open data which has been a very interesting exercise. I need to write up various blog posts when that doc is finally published but the headlines are clear: people who use linked data do so entirely for their own benefit, not for the benefit of others, except where offering linked data is a trivial addition to what they already do.

Hmm … plenty of room for rumination on that one.

An evening at the Bombay Club Restaurant

A short tale of a weird experience for an Englishman in search of an Indian in America.

Automatic Heading Numbering with CSS

This past week included one of those "Doh! How come I didn't know that?" moments. While working on a document with Ivan Herman I discovered that it's possible to automatically add heading numbers to Web pages using CSS. No JavaScript required. Not only that, it's been possible for years.

I wanted to create an easily re-usable stylesheet that I could just link to whenever I wanted to include those 1, 1.1, 1.2, 1.2.1 style headings. Turns out it's really simple.

What Happens If You Drive With Your Caravan Brake On (in France)?

Caravan on a flatbed truck

A tale of caravanning woe though my own stupidity and the help of many people who got us back on the road.

Samos Summit & my Summer Summary 2013

The traditional family portrait at Samos 2013 (last year I was hidden at the back, this year only Vangelis Karkaletsis is between me and organiser Yannis Charalabidis)

Last year I was delighted to be asked to speak at the Samos Summit, an annual event organised by the University of the Aegean that brings together many eGov and open data related projects. This year, through my role as an advisor to the ENGAGE project, the organisers have kindly asked me back. I'll do my best to provide an overview of the topic as an update to last year's Summer Summary.


To Pisa for a couple of days, or rather, a hotel on the beach near Pisa, for the kick off meeting of a new EU funded project, PRELIDA, who have kindly asked me to serve on their advusory board. I don't know the partners in this project so I'm looking forward to making new connections, but I know the subject area - how to create and maintain persistent URIs. The project is broader than that but the basic questions remain - how can you create and maintain electronic data that will persist across decades.

During the meeting in Pisa I'll talk about the Study on Persistent URIs I and others did for the European Commission earlier this year and, I imagine, there will be much discussion of what happens if Dan Brickley goes under a bus.

My 'slides' for this event are really just a collection of links.

(Dublin & Manchester)2

A ridiculous schedule this week! I'm in Dublin on Monday 17th for the first part of the Crossover project's International Conference on Policy Making 2.0. This has been a very interesting project in which I've played a very minor role but have learned a great deal. The use of open data for evidence-based policy making is definitiely something to be encouraged.

On Tuesday I take a bit of a left turn as I head for Manchester for Making Data Work: Cities & Transport. On this occasion my attendance is being funded not by W3C but by Reeep, the Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency Partnership, a very interesting organisation based in Austria that is doing seriously good work with linked open data for energy efficiency and climate change mitigation.

Machester again on Wednesday afternoon for an open meeting of the UK Gov Linked Data WG and then it's back to Dublin for the day again on Friday 21st for the SEMIC conference [slides].

Open Data Dag in Vlaanderen

At last year's Using Open Data workshop (PMOD), Noel van Herreweghe was buzzing with the excitment from the successful first Flanders Open Data Day he'd organised the previous week. He kindly invited me to give a keynote speech at the next year's event … which is now upon us.

Tia Sharpe and April Jones are more important than Edward Snowden

The Web privacy and freedom communities are screaming about the revelation that the US intelligence services routinely record details of phone calls, e-mails and other electronic communications. They are, however, silent on the use of the Web to distribute and thereby encourage the production of child abuse material.

I think those priorities are back to front.

Likely Future Directions for (Open) Data at W3C

Earlier this week I gave a talk at Sem Tech Biz in San Francisco that reported on the Open Data on the Web workshop I ran back in April and how that fits in to the likely future work around the topic of (open) data at W3C. Slides on their own only tell you so much so I've created a slidecast version.

(Open) Data on the Web, future directions at W3C. from Phil Archer

Interactive Map of Europe

As is so often the case, I'm working on an EU project proposal at the moment and I want to be able to show the countries covered by the project. To do that I needed a map that I could just click the relevant countries and they'd be filled in, then I could copy and paste that into the proposal. My guess is such tools already exist on the Web but I wanted to make my own.

It needs writing up but it's all working now so I may as well publish it and add the commentary later.