Those interested in access to government information and open data might like these presentations, given today at the CanLII conference in Ottawa.
I watched two sessions, one by federal information commissioner Suzanne Legault about legislative reform and another by Glen McGregor of the Ottawa Citizen about “data journalism.”
Ms. Legault’s clear focus of concern is on electronic communications, which contain data that is unstructured and extremely difficult to deal with. She calls instant messages “black holes into which information hides or disappears.” Ms. Legault ties this to the duty to record, a topic I’ve touched upon here.
Mr. McGregor relies heavily on access legislation in his (fascinating) work and gives a good reporter’s perspective on database requests – i.e., requests for structured data. He tells a good story about a database request that started with a $100,000 plus fee and ended with a $40 fee.
Ms. Legault is very negative. Mr. McGregor is very optimistic. The juxtaposition is notable.