Data Aurora


Data is not information;
Information is not knowledge;
Knowledge is not understanding;
Understanding is not wisdom

With that set straight perhaps “Information Aurora” should consider being renamed “Data Aurora”, as there seems to be little information disseminated from their spokes person Rosmary Parks.  Not to be outdone by her performance at last week’s council meting where she objected to the town partnering with a provincially respected volunteer group Neighborhood Network, she decided to write a letter in our local paper this week, see attached.

The “information” that she chose to share is overly redundant, ironic considering redundancy is what she objected to with respect to the town partnering with Neighborhood Network.

Aurorans already know of the vast organizations and programs in our town.  It is one of the great attractions for our town, and helps justify our high rate of taxes.  We use them, we contribute, we volunteer.  We don’t need an overly patronizing letter touting useless statistics on the number of visits to a database.  This is akin to tracking clicks on a website which everyone knows is not a proper method to measure information, but data.

So what is information you may ask?  I think the following video sums it up quite well:

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:

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.

Download this file

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