[Linux-aus] Help Me Please - Australia, Open Data, & Web 2.0

Donna Benjamin donna at mel8ourne.org
Sun Mar 12 15:09:01 UTC 2006

Hi all,

I'm presenting at a conference in May in Amsterdam. 

My paper was accepted on the basis of the following abstract and I now
need to write a full paper and presentation.

I would appreciate your collective help and support with interviews,
references, anecdotes and case studies.  

I'll be at linuxworld and CeBIT in Sydney, and am normally in Melbourne.

- Donna

ODF. Our Document Future?

The OpenDocument Format in XML is an important milestone for data. From
clay tablets to papyrus, from the printing press to the typewriter and
on to the personal computer, we have seen a steady progression of the
means of recording, storing and transmitting human thought and history.
We call this information technology. 

What does XML and the OpenDocument format mean for people working in the
field of digital preservation. How can governments and business preserve
their precious information for the future? 

We find ourselves crying out for a means of sharing information, not
only between people and across time, but also between machines and
across networks and space. We don't want to retype, reprocess and
reformat in endless permutations. We do want to read these files in the
distant future. Not just 5, 50, or 500 years but possibly 5000 years and
so on to the end of time.

But there are no guarantees. Scientists were unable to get data off
tapes from the 1976 Viking landings on Mars because it was in an unknown
format. All was not lost as they tracked down printouts and hired
students to retype everything. The BBC have discovered their 1986
Digital Domesday project almost irretrievable, yet the priceless
original Domesday book from 1086 is still perfectly legible. Digital
Preservation is a big deal.

The National Archive of Australia was one of the first Government
Agencies to actively pursue XML formats for the purposes of digital
preservation. The NAA was one of the founding members of the OASIS
Technical Committee which would go on to standardize the open XML file
format for office applications based on the OpenOffice.org file format.
The National Archive have continued their efforts with the development
of Open Source Projects Xena, Quest and DPR.

This user focussed presentation reports on Australia's contributions to
Digital Preservation efforts, Open Data and the Open Source ecosphere as
well as a look at how the OpenDocument format is being implemented
across Australia.

Donna Benjamin is Executive Director of Creative Contingencies, an
Australian company doing web development and meeting facilitation.
Donna's background in theatre has given her an appreciation of business
as experience with an understanding that the show must always go on. The
web has become a shop front and offers individuals and companies new
avenues for doing business in ways they may never have been able to
before. Donna is a member of Open Source Industry Australia and will
speak about Australia's Open Source contributions to the wide world of
web development and the open data phenomenon.

donna benjamin - executive director
ph +61 3 9326 9985 | mob +61 418 310 414
research - facilitation - web development 

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