Forget Open Data, Generate Open Knowledge

I Just attended a meeting where the topic was open government, which to most of the presenters was closely tied to the idea of open data.  I don't think anyone really gets it.  All this noise about big/open/long or whatever data misses the point completely.  Some speakers and questions touched on the really important topics, but the focus on data is just plain wrong.  There was no talk about what data is, and how we understand it.  Lot's of talk about how we might use it, and I have know doubt that some of these folks are using it in new and innovative ways.

Data is a word like matter. It is such a broad category that it doesn't say anything much.  Data is raw and undifferentiated, but what we need is knowledge.  Knowledge is demonstrated in methodical action, so what are our methods?  My general assessment is that the forces of exclusion and closed governments, of the back-room deal are much more developed in their methods for the application of data to government.