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February 23, 2012 in News

As usual there’s plenty to report on CKAN development. Most of the below is work that was too late to make it into the very imminent CKAN 1.6 release, but will be in the next release.

Fixed vocabularies

Fixed-taxonomy tags are nearly ready. These will enable users to tag datasets according to a fixed vocabulary, such as the World Wide Web Consortium’s SKOS, the EU’s Eurovoc, the UK’s Integrated Public Sector Vocabulary, or any fixed vocabulary you like, such as your favourite selection of cheeses. John and Sean have been putting together and testing the final touches, including an autocomplete function. Meanwhile David Raznick has coded the mechanism for multilingual translations for the fixed tags. More on this in a post coming soon, but for now, here’s a sneak preview:

[Img: Fixed tags screenshot]

Recline update

A new version of the Recline Data Explorer is now running on Recline, from OKFN Labs, is an open-source tool like Google Refine for exploring and visualising data from the comfort of your browser. It’s used on the DataHub for browser-based visualisation of structured data stored locally using CKAN’s Webstore extension.

Control groups

Groups are becoming more flexible. Datasets can only be added to a CKAN group by the group’s administrator. For some workflows, where different data publishers have their own groups, it is convenient for the administrator to have sole editing access to the datasets, too. Hitherto this meant setting permissions for each dataset separately, which was time-consuming, so Ross has created a new “Publisher mode”, in which only a group administrator can edit datasets in the group.

Pick your own

A CKAN repository can “harvest” or aggregate datasets from other datahubs. At present only system administrators can manage harvest sources, but the UK Location Project requested the ability for individual publishers to manage their own harvest data. Adrià has implemented this, and like all these open source features, it will be included in CKAN so that other organisations can benefit too.

Flying the flag

CKAN made an appearance at Dev8D, the conference for developers in education and research. Rufus gave a live walkthrough of for working with data, and gave a general presentation of CKAN (slides here).

Beyond CKAN

To enable users to mark the licensing restrictions on a dataset, CKAN maintains a comprehensive list of open data licences (and a few non-open ones). This useful list has now been split off and offered as a separate simple Open Knowledge Foundation service,, providing information on over 100 open licences. Have a look at the announcement here.

Finally, David Read leaves CKAN this week after over three years as a developer. We’ll be sorry to see him go – best of luck to him from the CKAN team in his future projects, and we hope he’ll keep in touch with the CKAN world occasionally!

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