Organizing an OpenRefine BarCamp

I would definitely be open for other venues, Tom. I imagine it would be easier for you to attend if it were happening in North America.

I don't think I can personally volunteer to organize this event anywhere though: in my experience, it's very helpful to have some good knowledge of the area to sort out logistics, support attendees with their choice of accommodation, and so on.

Would you be interested in organizing something like this in your area, @tfmorris? I do believe it would also make sense, with @Martin and @Antoine2711 being based in the same region for instance.

Some communities, like OpenStreetMap, first make a call for bids to host their annual conference ("State of the Map" in the case of OSM). Because we're at a much smaller scale I did not think about doing that, but we can also do something similar if people think it's worth it.

I'm willing to help organize events in Boston, either user focused or developer/contributor focused, and I know we have a number of users at the local universities like Harvard & MIT, as well as a local Wikimedia community, but I think the real value of a contributor focused event is in having all, or at least most, of the core team members participate. I know a number of projects piggyback off the Google Summer of Code Mentors' Summit, and I've done this with other projects, but that would require getting accepted to the program again. I'm not sure what other similar piggybacking opportunities are available.

Scrolling back through the previous messages, I agree with Sandra's earlier suggestion of a half or full day event piggybacking off an existing established event. Attempting to organize a multi-day standalone event from scratch as the very first attempt at something seems very ambitious. I'm not sure what options are available in the librarian, data journalism, data wrangling, etc spheres. It looks like the IFLA 2024 conference has been cancelled, but perhaps Code4Lib, NICAR/IRE/GIJC, some biodiversity conference, or ...?

Starting small would allow one to iteratively refine the scale, focus, timing, etc of the event over time.


Code4Lib is at Ann Arbor, Michigan from 13th-16th May next year. They are accepting workshop proposals until 30th November so if this seems like a possiblity now would be a good time to act!

(I've never made it to Code4Lib but its always been on my list of desirable conferences, so wouldn't mind an excuse to attend)

I definitely appreciate @tfmorris points about the advantages of piggy backing on another event although ultimately if we are just looking for a small-ish room I don't know if there is a lot to organise - so I think it could work either way if we are looking at a relatively small number of participants - perhaps the size of the event is something we need to establish to know what scale of undertaking this is?

How about giving people until the end of the year to come up with proposals? Each proposal could specify the venue details, date, event it is collocated to (if any), an estimate of the costs for the room hire if any, the name of the people acting as organizers of the event, remote attendance opportunities and maybe other relevant aspects I can't think of right now?

Then we can have some sort of poll to see who is up for what, and decide which event should take place. We don't have to stick to a single meeting by the way.

I'm not sure how much more effort people will invest than what they've already put forth. Here's my summary of the suggestions so far:

  • IFLA - 2023 is past, 2024 isn't happening
  • FOSDEM - Brussels Feb. 3&4 - applications are closed for devrooms & stands, but might still be a piggybacking opportunity if enough people are going. Mostly developer focussed
  • code4lib - 13-16 May, Ann Arbor - library tech/developer focused conference
  • Hannover/Barcelona/Boston - low key offers to help organize in contributors' home towns
  • dedicated, multi-day OpenRefine-specifc unconference - Wikidata offices in Berlin sometime in 2024

I think it's unlikely to find a piggybacking opportunity that will attract both users and developers (or probably even users from multiple fields), so that would likely mean multiple meetings to get coverage (and lose the unity of a single big meeting). On the flip side, the number of people who can take an entire week off to live and breathe OpenRefine is probably pretty small -- perhaps just the paid staff. If nothing else, the Wikidata venue might offer the possibility to build influence with the Wikidata team.

Whatever the venue, I think it makes sense to scale the organizational structure to the scope of the event. The unconference format is a great way to sort dozens of competing sessions by priority and get them allocated to the right size room, but I'm most familiar with it being used for things like GSoC Mentor Summit or Product Camp Boston where there are hundreds of attendees, dozens of sessions, and 4-5 simultaneous tracks. For 5-10 attendees, you probably just want everyone together in one room. The Gephi Retreat mentioned up thread was 6 developers in a single room (and no users). Up to a couple of dozen attendees, you're still probably only looking at two breakout sessions maximum. You could use opposite corners of a larger room for the breakouts and organize the schedule for the breakouts dynamically on the fly.

I may be wrong, but I don't think you're going to get significantly more information upon which to make a decision.


As a potential attendee, in order to express my preference for a particular option, I would find it helpful to know the details I mentioned above (primarily: when and where exactly would it happen, who would be organizing it). So far the proposals you summarized are very vague: we don't have any proposed dates, and people have said they "might be willing to" (co)-organize something, which is quite different from offering to actually take the responsibility to do it.

Also, attendees have different constraints: I expect some will only be able to attend on a week-end because they can't take time off work for this, some others would rather have it during the week because it's something that can fall within the remit of their work duties and they'd rather not have it infringe on family life. Some would likely attend remotely in any case, so they don't mind the location too much apart from timezone considerations, some others will only be able to attend something that's close to their home. To make it possible for everyone to voice their preferences in an informed way, I think it's easier if we have more concrete proposals.

So, I would encourage everyone who is considering organizing such an OpenRefine meeting to come up with a clear proposal of:

  • venue (with a rough indication of the size)
  • dates
  • remote attendance options

At least I hope to be able to make a couple of such proposal in the coming weeks.

Sorry, I was just trying to express (poorly, apparently), my opinion that there weren't any other serious proposals.

I'll just speak for myself and say that I don't plan to enter the competitive bidding process.


Hi all,

Here are a couple of more concrete options for an in-person meeting around OpenRefine.



  • At TIB, May 8th to 10th (Wednesday to Friday), which would require them to move a small event already booked during that time somewhere else
  • At TIB, May 29th to 31st (Wednesday to Friday)
  • At TUECHTIG, May 31st to June 2nd (Friday to Sunday)
  • At TUECHTIG, June 17th to 19th (Monday to Wednesday)

I have asked Wikimedia Deutschland if they would also be available to host the meeting, but have not heard back yet, so I propose we go ahead and vote on those existing options already.

Here is a poll to select a combination of date and venue. I would like to make remote participation possible for all those options.

If none of the options work for you, please make comment in this thread (or on the poll) and we'll see if we can find other options that would work better for you.

Me, I can't afford to go to Europe. So I went to say no to all, but I, of course, don't mind it being there. I would maybe participate through video-conference if is made sense.

Regards, Antoine

@Antoine2711 we plan to have a budget available to help with travel expenses.

@antonin_d, can we add a mention regarding the support for travel expenses and update the poll to allow remote attendance?

@Martin I have added a mention of travel expenses - the remote attendance is already mentioned.

Well, if the organization think I can be an asset, I'm willing to put time aside.
There are also great contributorsm like @tfmorris, who could give added values by their presence. I let this in your hands. I'm ready if necessary.

Regards, Antoine.

Next week, I plan to contact the users and contributors I interviewed to poll their interest and availability.

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Nice! Unfortunately I realized that two of the dates I proposed conflict with Dataharvest 2024 which I would be interested in attend (and making it possible for other people attending Dataharvest to also come to our barcamp). I have updated my entry in the poll accordingly. I wonder if it would be worth finding more options before doing wider publicity for the poll.

I agree it is best to identify new options before asking more people to answer the poll.

I would like to come to a decision for the date and venue soon.
According to the poll, the best options so far are:

  1. TUECHTIG (Berlin), June 17th to 19th (11 yes/ok votes)
  2. TIB (Hannover), May 8th to 10th with (10 yes/ok votes)

I would be tempted to go for the first one, since it has more votes and is a bit later (giving us more time to organize). Having the event in a capital might be easier for people flying in, helping people opt for direct flights.

I would have loved to do the event at TIB, I think it would have made much more sense than going for a commercial venue, and would have reinforced our ties with Open Science Lab. I also grateful for the invitation that @lozanaross extended. Hopefully we can do another meeting there at some other point.

I also had a meeting with WMDE about organizing the event there: sadly, they are already quite full for this year and have planned some remodeling work in their event space (starting in the last week of June), so it looks like it wouldn't work there.

Last call for concerns / resistance before we go for TUECHTIG (Berlin), June 17th to 19th?

Let's make it official then: we'll hold this event in Berlin, June 17th to 19th!

I would very much welcome other people joining me in organizing this. There are plenty of topics to think about: setting up a registration process, deciding which attendees to support financially, doing outreach to invite potential attendees, coming up with a process to create the schedule, finding ideas for social activities, organizing catering, and surely many other things I haven't even thought about yet!

If you feel like giving a hand on any of those topics, let me know :slight_smile:

I have started a website for the event:
The source is at: GitHub - OpenRefine/BarCamp2024: website for the OpenRefine BarCamp in 2024
Improvements welcome!


I would be happy to help!


Would love to help in the background :grin:


Nice! I have started a list of tasks here:

Feel free to add more of them and chime in on the ones you are interested in working on.