What is Open Knowledge Labs?
"We're a community of civic hackers, data wranglers and ordinary citizens intrigued and excited by the possibilities of combining technology and information for good – making government more accountable, culture more accessible and science more efficient."
Labs is part of the larger Open Knowledge initiative, which is a non-profit organization founded to increase access to information of all kinds (with a focus n government transparency). Earlier today, the Puppycide Database Project was listed on the Open Knowledge Labs website.
What exactly does all this mean? As we have continued to develop the Puppycide Database Project, we have developed a number of tools - and modified quite a few existing ones - to help us to compile records of police use of force and to analyze & visualize that data in a meaningful way. One of the factors that sets PuppycideDB apart from other crowd-sourcing projects focused on police use of force is that we opted to use open source software for just about all of our key infrastructure. For example, we don't use Google Apps to hold our data, and we don't use Bing to allow users to search our data. There are two primary reasons for this decision. First, it was important to us to protect the privacy of our users and sources. And second, we wanted to eventually allow projects with similar goals to be able to use our tools at no cost (and to allow those concerned about how PuppycideDB works to review our code and suggest changes).
Over the coming weeks, we will begin making some of our core tools available for review at our Github page as well as through Open Knowledge Labs. A recent copy of our database is already available at Github.
It has always been our hope that PuppycideDB will not be the last word in police use of force research - rather, we hope to make things easier for those who come after us. This is an important step toward that end.