"CKAN is the Comprehensive Knowledge Archive Network, a registry of open knowledge packages and projects (and a few closed ones). CKAN is the place to search for open knowledge resources as well as register your own – be that a set of Shakespeare's works, a global population density database, the voting records of MPs, or 30 years of US patents.
Those familiar with freshmeat or CPAN can think of CKAN as providing an analogous service for open knowledge."
Rufus Pollock explains:
"CKAN is a registry of open knowledge packages and projects — be that a set of Shakespeare’s works, a global population density database, the voting records of MPs, or 30 years of US patents.
CKAN is the place to search for open knowledge resources as well as register your own. Those familiar with freshmeat (a registry of open source software), CPAN (Perl) or PyPI (python package index) can think of CKAN as providing an analogous service for open knowledge.
CKAN is a key part of our long-term roadmap and completes our work on the first layer of open knowledge tools:
- The Open Knowledge Definition which sets out what we mean by open knowledge.
- KForge/KnowledgeForge which provide a system for managing open knowledge projects and the services (repositories/wikis/mailing lists) they need.
- Comprehensive Knowledge Archive Network (CKAN) which provides a registry so that open knowledge creators and users can find other open knowledge projects and resources.
CKAN links in especially closely with our recent discussions of componentization: we envision a future in which open knowledge is provided in a much more componentized form (packages) so as to facilitate greater reuse and recombination similar to what occurs with software today (see the recent XTech presentation for more details). For this to occur we need to make it much easier for people to share, find, download, and ‘plug into’ the open knowledge packages that are produced. An essential first step in achieving this is to have a metadata registry where people can register their work and where relevant metadata (both structured and unstructured) can be gradually added over time.
We also make no bones that fact what we have is present is very simple, certainly when compared to the long-term vision — after all, we should remember it has taken software over thirty years to reach its present level of sophistication. Thus, rather than attempting to pre-judge the solution to open knowledge componentisation question (for example in the choice of metadata attached to each package), this beta version is the simplest possible thing that will provide value, and we look to user feedback (and we include ourselves here as users) to determine the future direction of development of the system."