Library > News > Newsletter > 2014 > Increasing Open Access behind Glass Walls

Increasing Open Access behind Glass Walls

The recent addition of a hi-tech space with glass walls has surprised recent National Library visitors. Called the OPEN HUB, it is a technology laboratory of HaSadna, a volunteer-based, non-profit organization that advocates and works actively towards achieving government transparency and accountability through developing open source online services.  
The HUB is a space where social entrepreneurs, technology gurus, and activists can work together to expand online access to meaningful information from government ministries, the Knesset, and municipalities. HaSadna has over 135 volunteers, among them accomplished computer programming professionals, civic activists, and academic researchers. These volunteers give their time and expertise to make information available. For example, HaSadna volunteers were the creators of Open Knesset, a website that provides greater access to Knesset activity, including the tracking of voting, legislation, and committee activities.
Ido Ivri, the National Library's Director of Business Strategy, and a volunteer in HaSadna, was instrumental in bringing the HUB to the Library. "The National Library is the perfect place to open the HUB," Ivri shared. "As the Library works to provide open access to its collections through digitization and the development of online portals, it can also work with the open source development community in Israel to provide open access and encourage greater public participation in its collection, by working together with HaSadna."
The HUB’s inaugural event, held last month, was attended by over 100 people, including government officials, activists, HaSanda volunteers, NLI personnel and guests from the Jerusalem startup scene. Among the key speakers highlighting the importance of open access to information were the Mayor of Jerusalem, Mr. Nir Barkat, and former Minister and Knesset member Michael Eitan.
The HUB is now an open and active space, supporting seminars for entrepreneurs to improve their computer programming skills while committing time towards developing open-government/open-knowledge projects. "The OPEN HUB core values align with those of the Library," Ivri says, "and we are proud to have this new space for making a real difference in Israeli society."