• Tauberer 2012 (†357)

    Tauberer, Joshua. Open Government Data. April 2012 (updated June 2012).


Existing Citations

  • open government data : "Open government data differs from conventional open government policies in the same way that “data” differs from “information” or “knowledge.” The conventional open government movement relies on the disclosure of records, such as who is paying who, who is meeting with who, and records of government decisions and findings. The Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) and at the state level freedom of information laws (FOIL) are laws that grant the public access to these sorts of government records. Each FOIA/FOIL request is for a particular record. FOIA/FOIL create a direct relationship between the government and the information consumer. …¶ Open government data is the type of disclosure suited for mediators, whether they be journalists, programmers, statisticians, or designers, who transform the originally disclosed bytes into something very different and of a greater value to a consumer. And so it is ironic that open government data faces resistance in government because open government data is not the future of e-government innovation: it is a new technological approach to the sort of information dissemination that has always existed. The best argument for open government data that I’ve heard is that this is how consumers already get their information, although they don’t see it in those terms. Whether you are a politician who wants to shape the debate or an administrator who wants to reduce the cost of processing FOIA requests, you have to show up to the party to have the chance to participate, and that party has always been the information mediators. As Derek Willis of The New York Times put it to me, it’s as simple as this: people go to Google to find information, so governments ought to make sure their information is findable on Google if anyone is going to see it. That means more than making sure your website is indexed. It means working with all of the “engines of information,” as Willis put it. The presumption of openness established by FOIA/FOIL is still important for open government, of course, but FOIA/FOIL stop short of guiding how government data can be disclosed in a way that promotes this sort of mediation." (†344)
  • open government data : "Open government data might simply be the application of “open,” as in the sense of the OKD [Open Knowledge Definition], to data held by the government. I find this too weak to be a definition of open government data. For instance, the OKD allows governments to require attribution on reuses of its data, which I believe makes government data not open (more on that later). Or, open government data might be the synthesis of “open government” and “data,” in which case it refers to data that is relevant to government transparency, innovation, and public-private collaboration. But perhaps the open government data movement cannot be decomposed according to its words. Justin Grimes has pointed out to me that, looking at its history, the movement has come out of three very distinct communities: classic open government advocates whose focus has typically been on freedom of information and money in politics, open source software and open scholarly data advocates, and open innovation entrepreneurs (who might include both Gov 2.0 entrepreneurs and government staff looking to the public for expertise, such as in Peer to Patent). To each group, “open” means something different." (†345)
  • open government data : "My goal, and the theme of this book, is to treat open government data as more than just the sum of its parts: it is “Big Data” applied to Open Government. That means a definition must draw from not only open data (i.e. the OKD) and open government (transparency, innovation, and collaboration) but also from the qualities of Big Data. In the definition of Big Data that I adopted in Chapter 1, Big Data has two parts: 1) it is data at scale, and 2) it allows us to think about the subject of the data in a new way. Big Data data is data that is amenable to automated analysis and transformation into novel applications. …¶…[O]pen government data has the following defining qualities: “Open” or “Accessible”: Data must be online and available for free, in bulk, with no discrimination, and without the need to agree to a license that waives any rights the user might otherwise have. “Big Data” or “Analyzable”: The complexity of today’s governments necessitates the use of automation in any serious application or analysis of government data, such as to search, sort, or transform the data. Data must be machine-processable following the general guiding principle of making choices that promote analysis and reuse. Properly implemented open government data also has these desired qualities: “Open” or “Accessible”: Data should use non-proprietary file formats appropriate for the intended use of the data, be documented, be posted permanently, and use safe file formats. “Accurate” and other aspects of data quality: Governments should provide the lowest-level granular data and should make data interoperable through coordination. Data should also maximize accuracy and precision at a reasonable cost to the data user. “Authentic” and questions of process: This category of principles addresses how a data release should address human needs such as relevance and trust. The principles include timeliness, digital provenance, the use of public input, the need for public review, the dangers of endorsements, and general priorities for government agencies." (†346)