Introducing the Living Library: a hand-picked data-gov data-dump
- 1 August 2019
- Posted by: Helen Nicol
- Category: Resources
The trouble with living in a period supposedly characterised by rapid disruptive change is that it can be rather hard to keep up. How’s a well-intentioned public service transformer supposed to stay on top of all the innovative potential tumbling out of countless start-ups and research hubs and think-tanks and what-not? Well, one way is to find an aggregator with a focus on your particular interests — and if the convergence of governance and so-called “Big Data” is your jam, then The Living Library might be the aggregator for you.
The Living Library is apparently the single-handed labour-of-love of Stefaan G. Verhulst, Co-Founder and Chief Research and Development Officer of the Governance Laboratory @ NYU (a.k.a The GovLab). Verhulst is “interested in the perils and promise of collaborative technologies and how to harness the unprecedented volume of data to advance the public good.” Here’s what the Living Library has to say about itself:
The Living Library seeks to provide actionable knowledge on governance innovation. Our aim is to inform and inspire policymakers, practitioners, technologists, and researchers working at the intersection of governance, innovation, and technology in a timely, digestible and comprehensive manner. We identify for our core audience the “signal in the noise” by curating research, best practices, points of view, new tools, and developments.
The knowledge provided by The Living Library spans topic areas from artificial intelligence, open data, and blockchain, to citizen science, open innovation, and civic technology. The platform has an international purview, with insights drawn from across the globe and relevant to a diversity of sectors.
In addition to the now 5000+ pieces of curated content included in the Collection, The Living Library features research-based knowledge offerings, like the Index, a collection of statistics on topics relevant to governance innovation; Selected Readings, identifying paradigmatic research across different domains; and the 21st Century Vocabulary, capturing important new concepts and terms emerging from current efforts to improve the way we govern.
Given Verhulst’s stated interests, it should probably come as no surprise that much of the more recent material is very smart-city-blockchain-big-data-visualisation-super-future-governance-paradigm-y — and there’s little or no editorial framing of the articles being curated, which may or may not be a good thing, depending on your point-of-view. (Despite Verhulst’s interest in “perils” as well as “promise”, there’s doesn’t look to be much in the way of critical material on the data/governance convergence, and it’s not like there isn’t plenty of it out there… )
But hey, we’re all grown-ups, and we can decide for ourselves whether or not to take something seriously, right? Right — so if you want to add another flow of input into your own datastacks, the the Living Library is an option to consider. They even do an email newsletter, if you’re old-school like that.