Research Fellow at University of Leeds

On May 4, I’m taking up a research fellow position. I’ll continue to work on the IMPACT Project:

IMPACT will conduct original research to develop and integrate formal, computational models of policy and arguments about policy, to facilitate deliberations about policy at a conceptual, language-independent level.

I’ll be based at the University of Leeds, Institute of Communication Studies, in the Centre for Digital Citizenship:

The CdC’s mission is to promote outstanding research on the changing nature of citizenship in a digitally networked society and to contribute to the analysis and development of policy in this area.

I’ll be working with Ann Macintosh:

My research agenda falls within two main socio-technical areas of interest. The first concerns the societal effect of technology on governance processes and the development of an evaluation framework for eParticipation. This area of my research is providing high-level insights into the mechanisms that need to be built into future online participation systems to appreciate how, where and why people use them. My second research area is the support for citizen engagement in policy making and the provision of public agency information and knowledge. Here the focus is on the use of Web 2.0 and computer supported argumentation systems to support deliberation and knowledge sharing.

Looking forward to working on these topics!
By Adam Wyner
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Meeting with John Sheridan on the Semantic Web and Public Administration

I met today with John Sheridan, Head of e-Services, Office of Public Sector Information, The National Archives, located at the Ministry of Justice, London, UK. Also at the meeting was John’s colleague Clare Allison. John and I had met at the ICAIL conference in Barcelona, where we briefly discussed our interests in applications of Semantic Web technologies to legal informatics in the public sector. Recently, John got back in contact to talk further about how we might develop projects in this area.
Perhaps most striking to me is that John made it clear that the government (at least his sector) is proactive, looking for research and development projects that make government data available and usable in a variety of ways. In addition, he wanted to develop a range of collaborations to better understand the opportunities the Semantic Web may offer.
As part of catching up with what is going on, I took a look around the web for relatively recent documents on related activities.

In our discussion, John gave me an overview of the current state of affairs in public access to legislation, in particular, the legislative markup and API. The markup is intended to support publication, revision, and maintenance of legislation, among other possibilities. We also had some discussion about developing an ontology of goverment which would be linked to legislation.
Another interesting dimension is that John’s office is one of a few that I know of which are actively engaged to develop a knowledge economy partly encouraged by public administrative requirements and goals. Others in this area are the Dutch and the US (with All very promising and discussions well worth following up on.
Copyright © 2009 Adam Wyner

Open Up Government Data

At Wired News, there is a long post about opening up government data under the Obama government. Among other topics, we find mentioned making legal information more accessible.
Open Up Government Data
The discussion here is almost entirely focused on gaining access to the data, not how information can be or will be extracted from the data. The website is in a wiki format, which means that various people can contribute to the development of the site.

Article in New York Times about Open Source Legal Information

A recent article in the New York Times about open sources of legal information in the US.
An Effort to Upgrade a Court Archive System to Free and Easy
In this article, some of the issues about legal information sources in the US are lain out — the role of the court system, private services, and emerging open services. The interesting aspect from my point of view is the observation that the open services do not provide easy search capabilities.
Adam Wyner