Midnight tonight (Eastern Time), Wired is officially launching “Data.gov Is Coming — Let’s Help Build It,” a wiki designed to find and identify important and valuable data sets held by the federal government, and to make them available and usable. Yesterday, in an email to the Open Government Google Group, Alexis Madrigal, staff writer at Wired, announced that it’s already live at http://howto.wired.com/wiki/Open_Up_Government_Data.
Madrigal wrote that Vivek Kundra, the newly appointed CIO of the federal government, “seems like an ally — as do his superiors — but we want to hold them to their claims about wanting to open up government data.” Wired designed the wiki to be a place to report where government data is locked up by design, neglect or misapplication of technology. And they want us to point out the government data that we need or would like to have. Based on how the wiki evolves, they will follow up with government agencies to see what their plans are for that data and track the results. Madrigal wrote that they hope to combine the best of new social media and old-school journalism to get our hands on government data.
Wired’s wiki dovetails nicely with two projects that Sunlight has been involved with. Our friends at OpenTheGovernment.org and the Center for Democracy and Technology, with the help of Sunlight Labs, set up Show Us The Data – The Most Wanted Federal Government Documents. They too are asking the public to help identify government documents, reports, or data sets that should be made available online. They’ve asked people to “vote” on what sequestered docs they most want to be freed. The voting ends Monday (tomorrow), so quickly go check it out. They will release a list of the 10 docs that received the most votes during this month’s Sunshine Week. Federal News Radio interviewed Patrice McDermott, director of OpenTheGovernment.org, about the program. As Patrice said in the interview,“Openness makes us stronger.” Michael Smallberg at POGO blog writes that the project’s goal is to identify the documents and databases the public most wants access to through interactive voting and collaboration. They will produce a final report recommending documents and data that the federal government should make easier to find and use.
And last month, Sunlight launched Our Open Government List (OOGL) to gather meaningful feedback for President Obama’s Open Government Directive. We wanted to add a public element to the crafting of this Open Government Directive that is itself transparent, participatory, and collaborative. We encourage you to submit ideas for what the Directive should address, and to vote for your favorite submissions.
We are determined to hold the president and his new CIO to their promise of an open and transparent federal government. So far, so good. But we’ve got to keep the pressure on.