Category Archives: Keynotes / Invited Talks

Wikidata: How We Brought Structured Data to Wikipedia

OpenSym 2014 is proud to announce one of the conference’s invited talks!

Title: Wikidata: How We Brought Structured Data to Wikipedia

Speaker: Daniel Kinzler and Lydia Pintscher of Wikimedia e.V.

Abstract: Over the last two years we have been developing Wikidata and build up a community around it. Wikidata is Wikimedia’s central repository for structured data. This is the place where data, like the number of inhabitants of a country, is stored and made accessible to humans and computers alike. The data is used across all 287 language editions of Wikipedia and its sister projects as well as in projects outside of Wikimedia. In this talk we will take a look at how we developed Wikidata, what great tools are being built on top of it and what is in store for the future.

Biographies: Daniel Kinzler is the lead developer of the Wikidata project at Wikimedia Germany. He has been active on Wikipedia since 2004 and contributed to MediaWiki since 2005. He has a diploma in Informatics with a thesis about data extraction from Wikipedia.

Lydia Pintscher studied computer science at the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology and is the product manager of Wikidata at Wikimedia Germany. She has been with the Wikidata project since its beginning and is passionate about all things Free Culture. In her other life she is a board member of KDE e.V. and editor of Open Advice.

How You Run a Meeting Says a Lot About Your Values: Participatory Practices for Open Communities

OpenSym 2014 is proud to announce one of the conference’s invited talks!

Title: How You Run a Meeting Says a Lot About Your Values: Participatory Practices for Open Communities

Speaker: Laura Hilliger and Michelle Thorne, both of the Mozilla Foundation

Abstract: Live events are some of the best ways to see the power dynamics and philosophical bent of a community. Many communities, open and closed, glorify sitting in a darkened room and being inspired by a sage on the stage. And then there are events about participation: making and learning with fellow participants around shared passions and interests. The session argues for the use of participatory methods at events as a way to manifest open values. We’ll unpack some techniques and case studies, as well as practice ourselves.

Biography: Michelle Thorne is the Senior Director of Mozilla’s global Webmaker Mentor program. She trains communities of geeks, educators, makers and passionate people who want to help others learn not just to consume the web, but to make it. Through mentoring, live events and connectivist learning, she helps people level up their web literacies. Thorne embraces the spirit of “less yak, more hack” and believe that making drives learning and deeper participation. She organizes Mozilla’s largest public-facing event, the Mozilla Festival, which takes place in London. Previously, Thorne was the International Project Manager at Creative Commons, coordinating teams in over seventy countries (jurisdictions) worldwide to localize Creative Commons tools and to promote legal sharing and Free Culture. She co-organized the Free Culture Research Conference, an academic event dedicated to exploring the commons and hybrid economies.

Let’s Build the Road Network of Civic Tech

OpenSym 2014 is proud to announce the conference’s opening keynote!

Title: Let’s Build the Road Network of Civic Tech

Speaker: Stef van Grieken of Google Inc.

Abstract: Your awesome petition app is like a sports car without a freeway to drive on. Over the past several years we’ve built amazing civic apps that are improving public service delivery, engaging more citizens in the political process, and making governments more accountable around the world. But we’re rapidly approaching a point common to all new public technologies: the need for common infrastructure to enable massive scale. This talk will discuss three tenets of civic technology that will take us towards a common framework, and present research and examples of work doing this today. It’s time for developers, governments, corporations, academics, funders and citizens to come together and lay the groundwork for what’s next.

Biography: Stef van Grieken studied Industrial Engineering and Philosophy and describes himself as “a tech-entrepreneur and a bit of a geek.” He currently works as a Technical Program Manager at Google. His goal is to promote civic innovation through technology. Before joining Google Stef founded the Dutch civic technology organization Open State Foundation. With projects such as Public, Hack the Government, and Apps for the Nederland he worked on increasing public accountability and transparency. Some of these projects were awarded with ‘Time Magazine Top Website of 2012’ and a ‘European Public Sector Award’.