At the Open Knowledge Lab Berlin we run a monthly event where we invite expert speakers to tell us about their branch of Open Data or Civic Tech. A while ago we got inspired by Berlin Hack and Tell where they started doing a news section to talk about interesting things that happened in the Open Source world since the last event. We decided to do the same for our events and call the section “This Month in Open”. I realised that instead of just sharing the news there, I could also share it on this blog so here we go.

This is This Month In Open for November 2020.

Wikidata is getting a REST API

Wikibase - the software behind Wikidata is getting a REST API. The idea here is to make it easier for new developers to add tooling to query and - more importantly - add and modify data in Wikidata. Even better: the developers are currently asking for feedback. They provide an OpenAPI document and some of their design ideas as a base for discussion. You can find more information on the project page.

Tobi inquires about’s use of Open Source

Inspired by this nice page by the city of Vienna which lists the Open Source software used by the city, Tobi asked the city of Berlin on twitter if they did something comparable. The city did not respond yet but our fingers are crossed.

The city of Berlin is asked about Open Source some more

There was a written inquiry to the Berlin senate to ask about Open Source software being used for processes in the administration. The reply to the inquiry contains a rather long list of software and its use cases. Unfortunately it neither contains information about the license nor about a location where the source code could be found. My personal highlight though: The software with the id V0415 has this note attached to it:

Auf DVD im Tresor hinterlegt

On a DVD in the safe

This is the funniest form of Open Source that I have ever encountered. I kindly asked one branch of the administration about a particular piece of software that they seem to use but I have not heard back from the yet. I’m looking forward to it though.

That’s it for this month. If you find interesting news from the world of Open Data or Civic Tech, let me know on twitter or via e-mail.