tvol is Timothy Vollmer. I'm a bicyclist, cook, and policy guy living in Oakland, CA.

To the extent possible under law, Timothy Vollmer has waived all copyright and related or neighboring rights to this work. This work is published from: United States.


Oakland terrified of itself.  (at Snow Park)

Oakland terrified of itself. (at Snow Park)

wedding drinking vessels

wedding drinking vessels

at San Francisco City Hall

at San Francisco City Hall

By any reasonable standard the product of government-funded research should belong to the public. And indeed, it DOES belong to the public, until the moment that authors assign their copyright over to journals. All the DOE has to do is forbid their authors from assigning copyright to publishers and instead place them in the public domain. This would not only ensure public access, but would also enable researchers and companies access to the full contents to develop new and interesting ways to use the results of publicly-funded research.

The [Committee on Public Information] was a catalyst for government opinion-molding, which has become so pervasive it is impossible to identify all the people who engage in it during all or part of their workday. It also is a lesson in a fundamental threat to democracy — the too-easy morphing of wholesome government information that the public needs to reach sound opinions into the distortion and suppression of information inconvenient to a leader’s objectives.

Stanford Admits First Middle Class Student


(Image credit: Stanford University)

In an effort to change its status as the snobbiest city in America, the Palo-Alto-based Stanford University has admitted its first middle class student. With tuition at a staggering $42,000 per year, plus room and board and country club fees, Stanford officials said that they don’t typically admit students whose families make under $200K per year, but made an exception for this fall’s freshman class.

18F: An Open Source Team


By Raphael Majma and Eric Mill

At 18F, we place a premium on developing digital tools and services in the open. This means contributing our source code back to the community, actively repurposing our code across projects, and contributing back to the open source tools we use. For a variety of…

So one of the things I did last week was give a 120 second update on the state of open government data in the United States. I’m wholly unqualified to give such an update, but what the hell. 


Policy Memo: Increasing Access to the Results of Federally Funded Scientific Research and Data

Executive Order: Making Open and Machine Readable the New Default for Government Information

 White House Open Data Policy

Project Open Data


  • sets open data principles, formats and standards, acceptable licensing options (Open Definition)

  • also has implementation guidance, list of tools, case studies

Best practices language for marking data “license-free”


  • group of advocates suggested updating licensing guidance on Project Open Data to reflect unique situation in US where federal government works are in the public domain in the US but maybe not outside of the US

  • developed guidance for adoption CC0 for 1) US federal government works, 2) for government works produced by a contractor, 3) for primary legal materials

  • seems to be getting some attention

U.S. Open Data Action Plan - White House support for open licensing and CC0

 agencies utilizing CC0

  • 104,000+ datasets

  • some using open licensing already; most not

  • should probably be CC0 and not open licensing (like CC BY) 



  • New Hampshire, Utah, New York, Hawaii, Washington


  • DC, Portland, Memphis, Lexington, Louisville, Raleigh, Austin, NYC, Providence, Philadelphia, Chicago, Madison, SF, Tulsa, Oakland, South Bend, West Sacramento

  • more at 

 Take Away

  • common features

    • “open is better” transparency, efficiency, public participation

    • requires some (if not all) agencies to share (to some extent)

    • open data formats

    • typically creates repository or data website

    • sometimes open license, but oftentimes just freely available online

    • takes into account privacy and confidentiality of datasets

    • how many are requiring rights information to communicate legal reuse?

      • few, or at least it’s very slow moving

      • at least in US not creating their own license

tomo and tvol turn Turkish treats with twigs on Tempelhofer tarmac

tomo and tvol turn Turkish treats with twigs on Tempelhofer tarmac