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Your Data Stories

Periodic Reporting for period 2 - YDS (Your Data Stories)

Reporting period: 2016-02-01 to 2017-01-31

The revolution in information technology over the last years has proven its ability to process huge amounts of data and made evident that big data can change the world. Open Government Data (OGD), from being an obscure possibility just recently, is spreading across the globe at a phenomenal rate, delivering the promise to spur innovation, to deliver better services for less money, to improve planning, to increase transparency, and to reduce corruption. In this context, YourDataStories (YDS) envisions to bring this promise closer to reality, through a highly customizable online platform for data exploitation focused in the financial flows that are critical for transparency, collaboration, and participation. Users, ranging from governmental bodies to journalists and to citizens, will be facilitated by powerful and established tools, not only to discover relevant information but also to remix it with diverse and dynamic data sources: YDS acts like an interactive canvas to enable data citizens to (re)write their own data history. In addition, YDS aims to bring open data in social computing, by adding a third social dimension to the data, by making semantically linked open data visible and usable in popular social media platforms, where the data can be seen, used, linked, and augmented by millions of users in order to become part of their user stories. Both the platform and the applications provided by YDS concentrate on covering real user needs, focusing on the needs of governmental bodies such as ministries and municipalities as well as information communicators, such as journalists. The YDS will be piloted and validated in three different usage scenarios: 1) Follow Public Money: Aiming to help mainly the public, but also journalists and other stakeholders, to see what is happening with public money. The focus will be on money spent on public infrastructure (i.e. big contraction projects in Greece). 2) Tracking Development Aid in the Netherlands: Aiming to increase the transparency of public spending and evaluate the efficiency of development aid in the Netherlands. 3) Cross-Europe Financial Comparability: Focusing on the comparability of financial data across EU member-states, specifically looking at Ireland and Greece.
The YDS project officially started on 1st February 2015. The first two reporting periods cover the period from 1st February 2015 and end 31st January 2017. This first reporting period has crystallised the project approach and has demonstrated the initial value of the YDS approach by setting a first version of the YDS platform and tools. The second reporting period has focused mainly on extending, improving and evaluating the YDS platform and tools as well as enriching the data layer with data from new domains and sources. Overall and as contractually foreseen in the two reporting periods, the project managed to:
• Gather contributions from actual users during the requirements elicitation phase. Engaged all potential user groups (public bodies officers, representatives of NGOs, auditing bodies, businesses and institutions focusing on the contractions and energy business domains, representatives from Government, civil society and journalists as well as developers) in the user requirements survey in order to disclose various opinions and views on YDS. As such, a unified approach in the collection of the stakeholders’ opinions has been followed, using a mix of various tools in order to collect data from various target groups with different backgrounds and from different localities.
• Complete the requirements elicitation phase utilising a range of instruments to gather data from the potential end users. Overall, nine (9) focus groups have been organised with the participation of more than 110 people that provided feedback (through open discussion sessions, use case scenarios and questionnaires). Also, several interviews have been contacted with selected stakeholders. For the identification of user needs, the user perspectives have been taken into account and result in 1) User requirements (the point of view of end users), Functional requirements (what the users want the system to do), 3) Non-functional requirements (restrictions on the types of solutions to meet the functional requirements)
• Define the technical specs and system architecture based on the user requirements that have been translated into technical specifications for the YDS system and related components. Also, the architectural and implementation aspects of the delivery of the YDS platform have been defined taking into account the full range of requirements for such service.
• Produce a Data Management Plan (DMP), which outlines the handling of the data sources at the different project stages based on H2020 guidelines. The DMP pays special attention to risk management and addresses key aspects of data management ranging from acquisition to processing and sharing.
• Define a framework to address the Legal and Ethical aspects of the project; the study analyses the relevant legal framework for open data applications, as well as highlights the applying opportunities and constraints in order to transform the YDS platform into a normative space of information justice in a relevant and responsible manner.
• Develop a semantic data model & data source assessment methodology putting the basis for choosing viable data sources and building sustainable data harvesting, alignment and validation pipelines for all three pilots.
• Successfully release an initial version of the platform prototype in January 2016 and collect users’ feedback; producing iterative versions until the launch of the intermediate version of the YDS platform and tools in January 2017.
• Define the methodological framework and the success indicators to be used to validate project results.
• Perform two rounds of formal user evaluations in focus groups and one-on-one interviews with representatives of the YDS target groups, the launch of a permanent expert user group, and many internal ad-hoc tests and evaluations of new features as they became available.
• Conduct several dissemination activities to create awareness about YDS.
• Conduct a competitive market analysis of already ex
YDS brings an innovative solution whose innovation potential spreads across many directions, from leveraging best practices and proven technologies across Europe, to exploiting the social Web for accessing citizens, and to supporting sustainable public services across borders. YDS potential impact could be summarised as follows:
a) Connecting Linked Data to Web UIs and Web Analytics
b) Transferring good practices and existing expertise across Europe
c) Benefiting from the Social Web: A bidirectional channel between Social and Semantic Web
d) Co-creating applications for drilling-down and visually exploring financial data;
e) Providing cross-border services for exploring financial data on public contracts;