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Kicking off the Knight Foundation open data project in Chattanooga

The Open Chattanooga Brigade

In September, the city of Chattanooga was awarded a $50,000 grant from the Knight Foundation's Community Information Challenge, matched locally by the Benwood Foundation, to work with the Chattanooga Public Library and other open data evangelists in the community to provide an online data portal alongside workshops and training on ways to access and interpret government data for meaningful community solutions. 

Things are just getting started with the Open Chattanooga Collaborative and we couldn't be more excited to host the portal and be a part of the open data movement in such a significant way. We believe a public library is the perfect home for a project like this and we hope to help lead the way forward as more communities around the nation take note and follow suit.  At the end of one year, the collaborative hopes to have an engaged community of data consumers helping to identify needs and assist in designing and utilizing open data tools.

We take this commitment quite seriously and to that end have created a new full time position at the library to make this project really soar this year.  We are currently seeking an Open Data Specialist  to join our digital projects team. As the job description states, this new post combines the diverse talents of a seasoned collection development specialist, a web developer, a data scientist, and a community outreach specialist. The ODS position is a year-long grant funded position awarded to the library as one partner in the Open Chattanooga collaborative. With demonstrated success, we intend to extend the position beyond the duration of the grant indefinitely.

Other opportunities around Chattanooga's open data project includes building a citizens brigade. While City Hall has the data, and the Library provides the access, the Brigade is where the engagement comes alive. Using the public data opened by the City and hosted on the portal, the Open Chattanooga Brigade - a citizen-led team of creative thinkers, neighborhood advocates, data nerds, designers, developers, and entrepreneurs - will train citizens to create visualizations, apps, and other solutions to address community information needs.  

If you have any interest in being the Open Chattanooga Brigade Leader, a rising star to help build the community around civic innovation, open data and open government, then come forward now. This part-time position will work with interest groups around the city to bring together technologists, designers, community leaders and city staff to begin the process of developing innovative approaches to solve real city problems through the use of open data and open software.

Learn more about this project and meet some of the passionate people who are helping make it happen at the official kick-off on December 16