Open Data Islands and Communities
keynote at EPCGI'2016

Alan Dix

School of Computer Science, University of Birmingham, UK
Talis, Birmingham, UK

Keynote at EPCGI'2016, Covilhã, Portugal, 25 November 2016.



How do we make digital technology serve those at physical and social margins of society?

Digital technology, not least the internet, has transformed many aspects of our lives. Crucially, in many countries access to digital technology has become an essential part of the nature of modern citizenry for commercial services; for access to access to government, and for participation in democratic processes, for example much of the UK Brexit and US Presidential campaigns were fought on Facebook.

However, the ability take advantage of digital technology is not uniform, those at the margins typically have disproportionately poor access, both in terms of physical connectivity and skills. There is a danger that digital technology can deepen the existing divides in our world.

In this talk I will look at these issues and most importantly ways we can, as researchers and practitioners, seek to create technologies that serve all communities. I will focus particularly on open data, how we can devise ways to make it more easily found, accessed, and visualised by small communities at the edges, and moreover how they can become active creators of information: producers not merely subjects of data.

I will draw on experience in a number of projects on the small Scottish island of Tiree and also my 1500 kilometre walk around the edges of Wales.

Keywords: community, open data, empowerment, human-data interaction, HCI


Open Data Islands and Communities from Alan Dix

Related Publications

  1. A. Dix (2014).
    Open Data Islands and Communities White Paper (20 June 2014)
    (full paper and ODIC microsite   primary reference for this work)
  2. A. Dix. (2016). Human Computer Interaction, foundations and new paradigms. Journal of Visual Languages and Computing, special issue in Honour of Stefano Levialdi (in press). doi: 10.1016/j.jvlc.2016.04.001 abstract and draft paper
    (the paper I used as basis for talking about trends in HCI, including digital technology choice: from employer's choice in the 1970s & 1980s, to consumer choice in the 1990s & 2000s, but now little choice as essential for citizenary in the 2010s)
  3. H. Haddadi, R. Mortier, D. McAuley, J. Crowcroft (2013). Human-Data Interaction. UCAM-CL-TR-837, University of Cambridge, Computer Laboratory. June 2013.
    (early HDI 'manifesto' paper)
  4. R. Mortier, H. Haddadi, T. Henderson, D. McAuley, J. Crowcroft and A. Crabtree (2016). Human-Data Interaction. Chapter 41 in The Encyclopedia of Interaction Design, M. Soergaard and R. Friis Dam (eds).
  5. A. J. Dix (1990). Information processing, context and privacy. Human-Computer Interaction - INTERACT'90, Ed. D. G. D. Diaper G. Cockton & B. Shakel. North-Holland. 15-20.
    (the first paper on privacy in the HCI literature)
  6. A. Dix (1992). Human issues in the use of pattern recognition techniques. In Neural Networks and Pattern Recognition in Human Computer Interaction Eds. R. Beale and J. Finlay. Ellis Horwood. 429-451.
    (identifies potential for gender and ethnic bias in black-box AI/ML algorithms, and offers some suggestions ... 25 years later these issues are now starting to bite!)
  7. A. J. Dix (1995). Cooperation without (reliable) Communication: Interfaces for Mobile Applications. Distributed Systems Engineering, 2(3): pp. 171-181.
    (first journal paper on mobile HCI - note, focus on poor connectivity rather than screen size)
  8. Dix, A. (2013). Mental Geography, Wonky Maps and a Long Way Ahead. GeoHCI, Workshop on Geography and HCI, CHI 2013.
    (mentions aspects of Frasan, the Tiree mobile heritage app, and also the Wales walk)
  9. A. Dix (2013). The Walk: exploring the technical and social margins. Keynote APCHI 2013 / India HCI 2013, Bangalore India, 27th September 2013.
    (includes first extensive report on the walk)
  10. A. Dix (2013). Data – Alan Walks Wales.
    (portion of AWW website documenting the available data )
  11. Will Simm, Maria Angela Ferrario, Adrian Friday, Peter Newman, Stephen Forshaw, Mike Hazas, Alan Dix, (2015). Tiree Energy Pulse: Exploring Renewable Energy Forecasts on the Edge of the Grid. CHI'2015, Seoul, S. Korea, April 2015. ACM pp.1965-1974. doi: 10.1145/2702123.2702285 (best paper award)
    Lancs eprint | YouTube video
    (project conceived at Tiree Tech Wave and executed on the island)
  12. A. Dix, A. Malizia, T. Turchi, S. Gill, G. Loudon, R. Morris, A. Chamberlain and A. Bellucci (2016). Rich Digital Collaborations in a Small Rural Community. Chapter 20 in Collaboration Meets Interactive Spaces, C. Anslow et al. (eds.), Springer. doi: 10.1007/978-3-319-45853-3_20.
    (documents the development of the Tiree touch-table)
  13. B. Weyers, M. Harrison, J. Bowen, A. Dix and P. Palanque (2017). Case studies. Chapter 4. in The Handbook of Formal Methods in Human-Computer Interaction,
    B. Weyers, J. Bowen, A. Dix and P. Palanque (eds).Springer (on press)
    (describes the Tiree communication and data architecture)
  14. A. Dix (2017). Activity modelling for low-intention interaction. Chapter 7. in The Handbook of Formal Methods in Human-Computer Interaction,
    B. Weyers, J. Bowen, A. Dix and P. Palanque (eds).Springer (in press)
    (the use of formal methods in the design of the Tiree open sign - internet of things in action!)

 title slide


EPCGI'2016 logo fragment - the eye












Alan Dix 24/11/2016