Federal Agencies: How to Score an Easy Transparency Win by Monday.


Our “/Open” page watcher presently shows one agency, the “Department of Agriculture” having their OGD compliant /Open page launched. And while it is technically true that the Department of Agriculture has set up a /Open page and that it doesn’t return a 404, the page is less than a placeholder. Someone there checked a box in the CMS that they probably shouldn’t have. What’s funny though is that with just a little more effort– really just 5 minutes– the Department of Agriculture could score itself a major transparency win. Let me explain.

For those of you who haven’t been following along, these “/open” pages that will allow the public to:

  1. Give feedback on and assessment of the quality of published information;
  2. Provide input about which information to prioritize for publication; and
  3. Provide input on the agency’s Open Government Plan.

But if you’re a new media director or web manager at a federal agency, why not launch your /Open page on Monday? You don’t have to launch the whole thing– just start having a dialogue with people. Start being open about being open. That’s the point, isn’t it?

So on Monday, hop into your CMS, set up your /Open page, and start the conversation:

“At the [YOUR AGENCY NAME HERE] we are working hard to become more participatory, collaborative and transparent. Soon, we’ll be launching a full fledged Open Government page here, but before then, we want to know what kind of data you’re looking for. If you have any input at all, please drop us a line at [EMAIL/WEB FORM/PHONE NUMBER/ETC HERE].”

You’ll begin the conversation, you’ll begin the win. And more than likely, on Monday, you’ll get a lot of praise from us here for being the true first agency to start an open dialog with the public about how your agency can be open.