Data is not information;
Information is not knowledge;
Knowledge is not understanding;
Understanding is not wisdom
The image I included in this post is an emblem representing the Medici Library, This device embodies the belief that those who hold wealth and power have an obligation to provide public access to information and learning. Today we say “information wants to be free” under the theory that access to information and knowledge serves the public good. Interestingly enough, in a much more impressive, and less self congratulatory fashion, The city of Toronto released this week its data to the world via the new Open Toronto initiative: geographic data for a variety of civic divisions, lists of licensed business, public transit stops, routes & schedules, a SOAP-based geocoding API and more. Unlike Information Aurora, which seems to be without any web presence, the City of Toronto understands that information wants to be free and with this opensource inative invites everyone to jump in and explore online at: http://www.toronto.ca/open/ I don’t doubt that Information Aurora provides a valuable service. However I do question the price tag attached which I believe was quoted around $25K. If so we are not getting our money’s worth. If they are crying out that they need more funding to be more effective I think this only proves that if there is a more equipped and proven organization that fills Aurora’s need for volunteers we would be fools not to partner with them. Neighborhood Network is an impressive organization that fills the need.
They are not a small under funded help desk. They remind me of a cutting edge outreach organization you would find in a much larger city like Toronto. Maybe it is not fair to say that we that are fools, just those like Rosmary Parks that needlessly block volunteer organizations in partnering with our town.