I am Sara Petti, the new Frictionless Data Community Manager. After a very happy decade in Brussels, I moved to Hamburg, Germany last year in February, just in time to live the global pandemic from a brand-new place. With social life put to a stop, I finally decided to start something I had wanted to do for quite some time: learn to code in order to do data visualisation. Right now I am learning Python slowly but surely and when I am not going bananas over cleaning data I draw comics or experiment fermentation with items in my kitchen (mostly vegetables). So if you are also a passionate breeder of lactobacillus bacteria, we should definitely get in touch!
Back in Brussels I worked with public libraries, developing projects with them, but also advocating for them to be on the EU agenda. Talking with some of the most innovative librarians, I became well aware of the importance of granting free access to information and knowledge to everyone in order to empower citizens and foster democracy. I started to take an interest in the whole open movement, monitoring projects and policy development, and quickly became passionate about it.
I think the real turning point for me was when I got to know an amazing project on opening air quality data developed by some public libraries in Colombia and tried to replicate it in Europe. At that point, I really understood the implications of the open movement: by opening data, citizens are able to gain ownership on compelling subjects for them and to advocate for policy improvement. Sadly more often than not, when data is made available, it is not directly reusable.
Frictionless Data provides tools that improve the quality of open data, making it more useful to society and reusable by a wide range of people. I think that this idea of serving society with a free and open service that people can use to empower themselves is what attracted me at first. Providing those kinds of services with no barriers to entry (and no friction, if you will) should be the purpose of any institution. This is why I am very excited to join the Open Knowledge Foundation team working on this amazing project, doing what I think I can do best: interact with people and create links between them. My plan for the upcoming months is to build a proactive community around this project and engage with them. So if you are interested in knowing more about Frictionless Data, or you are already using our tools and would like to connect, email me: [email protected] or connect with the project on Twitter or Discord.