The Endless Journey to Infotopia. A critical inquiry of Dutch open government data policies, using textual content analysis and metaphor analysis.
Boxtel, S.H. van
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This thesis aims to shed light on the discourse surrounding open data in relation to Dutch governmental organizations in order to provide a better understanding of how Dutch governments currently conceive of- and frame open data. Two research methods are used: Textual content analysis and metaphor analysis. The claims and presuppositions about open data within five Dutch government policy documents have been identified using textual content analysis and have been juxtaposed to findings of academic studies. Through these comparisons it becomes clear that government’s conception of open data is rather utopianesque building myths in order to convince others (public) of open data’s potential. Data are always constructed yet this is sometimes neglected within government policy. Through metaphor analysis it becomes clear how this construction of open data is concealed and it becomes visible why certain ideas are more prevalent and seem more natural than others. Finally this thesis elucidates to what extent government’s notions about open data, instead of realistic, can better be understood as idealizations of information which is called ‘ideal information’. Concluding that openness within open data itself is a metaphor. Although myths might be necessary and may be indispensable when drafting policy, this thesis argues to be careful of creating an infomaginary in which all current dissatisfactions of social reality and desires for a better society are projected on information sources such as open data.