Open Data Manual


Welcome to the the Open Data Manual. We look forward to your contributions, whether that's translation, feedback, editing or adding more content. The manual is a project of the Open Knowledge Foundation. Its authoratative source is on bitbucket:



The contributors plan on creating several Annexes to this manual. Each one will cover different parts of the process surrounding open data.

Some of the things that we would like to include are:

  • Sources of open data
  • Cleaning data
  • Publishing data
  • Participating in the open data community

About these files

The manual is written the `ReStructured Text`_ format. ReStructured Text allows us to write files in plain text files, which can be nicely rendered as a website or a PDF using Sphinx.

However, we are currently in a transition process. The current Open Data Manual site uses Markdown. This means that the current source files are slightly inconsistent and will not render properly.

Layout of this Repository

Layout of the repository:

# the manual
# useful scripts
# output 'built' html

Building the Documentation

  1. Install Sphinx >= 0.6 (Debian/Ubuntu: apt-get install python-sphinx)

  2. Run the build using the Makefile:

    make html

Helping with the project

Areas of help needed:

  • Content writing
  • Editing
  • Translation

Tools you will need

In order to contribute, there are a few required tools. At a minimum, you need a text editor. However, there are some other tools which will aid you significantly. These are:

  • Mercurial, our version control tool
  • Sphinx, the tool that builds websites from these source files.
  • XChat, a programme that allows you to communicate with the rest of the OKFN in real time.

To download these tools on Ubuntu, run:

$ sudo apt-get install hg python-sphinx xchat

To download the manual, follow these commands:

$ cd ~
$ mkdir OKFN
$ cd OKFN
$ hg clone