The current data.gov.au platform, based on CKAN (http://ckan.org/), was launched in in 2013. The platform enables searching across its own catalogue of data, as well as a number of other agency, state and territory data catalogues.
As announced in the National Innovation and Science Agenda, Data61 (CSIRO’s digital research network) has been tasked to “use data analytics to connect disparate government datasets for public release and publically release them on open data platforms”.
The Data Infrastructure and Government Engagement (DIGE) team within the Public Data Branch is working with Data61 to build the next generation of the data.gov.au platform. The ambitious goal for the platform is to make it a world-leading example of public open data infrastructure. This partnership with Data61 will deliver improved search and discovery, better support for collaboration, a quality framework that assists publishers, and a more robust publishing process.
The DIGE team, together with Data61 has facilitated several discovery workshops with participants from a range of government entities. The workshops provided valuable insights to inform the initial development priorities and direction. The DIGE team will continue working with stakeholders to align priorities, share skills and deliver the platform collaboratively.
Prototypes of new functionality built by Data61 will be released to demonstrate progress throughout the development process. It is expected that the first prototype showcasing improved functionality for searching across several data repositories will be available in late 2016. In 2017 there will further prototypes will become available, focussed on data publishing, data quality, better spatial publishing, and integration between NationalMap and data.gov.au.
To facilitate the prototyping process there have been changes made to the existing data.gov.au platform to give the Data61 team more data and data artefacts with which to experiment. As of the week commencing 5 September 2016, data.gov.au will include PDF files (such as maps, publications and resources) harvested from the Geoscience Australia repositories. The change provides Data61 a richer catalogue for developing search prototypes with real world examples on how to best surface datasets for discovery; whether the records are machine readable data, human readable excel workbooks or PDF publications.
This change to the harvesting settings has increased the discoverable datasets figure on data.gov.au to just over 23,000. It is expected that the dataset count figure will fluctuate as the search and harvesting algorithms are refined. As part of the developments and enhancements to data.gov.au, reporting on the number of resources available will also be revised to provide a breakdown of the number of difference resources available.
To help agencies make the best use of the current and future data.gov.au, the DIGE team will schedule a training program for users to help with understanding and publishing data. More details on this will be released shortly.