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Theme fund: NGI0 Discovery
Start: 2021-08
End: 2022-10
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Using LinkedData to improve FOI processes

MaDada is a free open source platform that simplifies and opens up the process of access by the general public to data and information held by the French government. Making use of the Freedom Of Information (FOI) law, the platform guides citizens to file requests, but also acts as an open data archive and platform for right-to-know or transparency campaigns, by publishing the whole process : the requests history, the resulting correspondence, and the data obtained through it. Launched in October 2019 by Open Knowledge Foundation France members, MaDada has helped 250+ users make over 1200 FOI requests to French public bodies, and is beginning to play an important role in the right-to-know, need for transparency and open government problems.

MaDada is based on the open source software Alaveteli (, which has been adapted and deployed to more than 25 countries in 20 different languages and jurisdictions. Alaveteli offers efficient functions for users to request and manage FOI requests. The NLnet funding will help the project develop and improve discovery and search features of public bodies on and Alaveteli software - for instance, in France alone there are more than 60,000 public authorities. This will take advantage of existing digital commons such as Wikidata, and open standards such as and DCAT.

Why does this actually matter to end users?

The right to know empowers people by giving them the information regarding decisions that affect them, thus giving the opportunity to better understand and participate in public debates and decision taking process. Over 100 countries around the world have implemented some form of freedom of information legislation. MaDada and other Alaveteli based platform are tools that aim to help people to use these rights in their everyday life, and to spread the culture of transparency and open access attitude that public authorities should follow.

By improving indexing, tagging features in the platform, we allow users to better search and discover authorities to whom they file their requests, we allow easy discovery of information and data obtained in requests. By doing this we also can help advanced users like organizations or journalists to file the same request to a batch of tag-selected authorities in one shot.

By linking the authorities list within an Alaveteli instance to Wikidata, the underlying projects like MaDada will start to contribute to this wonderful common source of open data content. Bringing more open data together means everyone profits: users of MaDada and other Alaveteli platforms can more easily discover information about authorities, and other projects using Wikidata can easily see relevant FOI requests linked to these entities.

Run by MaDada

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This project was funded through the NGI0 Discovery Fund, a fund established by NLnet with financial support from the European Commission's Next Generation Internet programme, under the aegis of DG Communications Networks, Content and Technology under grant agreement No 825322.