A Call To Hacktion
What if the event hosts on the list compiled by Robert Richards (at https://legalinformatics.wordpress.com/upcoming-conferences) could publish and update their information in a way that could automatically be discovered, ingested and integrated into the total calendar stream?
Projects like github.com/OpenInnovationNetwork/Projects and CODEX MIT Media Lab 2016 on HackDash collection demonstrate some of the ways GitHub offers a ready-made platform for this type of collective action. Any number of solutions available for Drupal running sites like law.MIT.edu and Wordpress running sites like computationallegalstudies.com can provide this type of capability. The opportunity now is to explore and test vanilla web-based approaches that anybody could contribute data into through the web and anybody could find, search, filter, sort, subscribe and integrate the data with any app or service.
Starting with the the Excel format (.xls), Open Document Spreadsheet (.ods) format and Comma Separated Values (.csv) format already provided by Robert Richards, there are many ways to automatically download the files, as updated from time to time, transform the data into standard JSON structure and replicate to any number of distributed mirror publisher sites.
This fundamental flow also enables any of the re-publishers of Robert Richards data to augment the listings with their local legal technology event calendar or other activity schedule data. If, for example, law.mit.edu and computationallegalstudies.com chose to integrate calendar data as part of a common, open network then Robert Richards would not need to spend time identifying and retyping event data from these sources. However, if an external distributed publisher in such a common network added information that was not relevant or appropriate for the legalinformatics.wordpress.com calendar, Robert Richards could easily filter that out as a source.
This Call To Hacktion invites legal hackers and others who are interested in exploring potential solutions for such a distributed calendar service to give a shout and join for an in-person and/or online weekend barn raising this summer, 2016 here:
If designed and architected in a thoughtful, effective and elegant way, this approach to generating a common timeline service could be maintained with minimum coordination cost by leveraging three basic pillars of metadata:
1. URL of the network republisher, for identification of source (pulled automatically);
2. Labels for identification of event related categories or types (based on a common list); and
3. Tags for all other attributes and associations (unstructured, bottom-up self organizing)
One focused weekend of legal hacking could test the hypothesis that a simple JSON calendar leveraging these three streams of metadata could enable a distributed network to publish, subscribe and integrate timeline data as a open resource expressed as a common service at high volume, rapidly scalable yet with low coordination costs, With even the most basic REST-based API, common JSON data structure (starting with precisely the structure provided by Robert Richards) and a simple shared approach to listing publisher/labels/tag metadata could be all that is needed.