Cruching Numbers on the President’s Economic Report


James Jacobs (of Free Government Info) writes that the Economic Report of the President, which provides an overview of the nation’s economy, is available online.

The Economic Report of the President is available from the White House web site in 3 formats: PDF, Kindle, and the open ePub format which Barnes & Noble’s Nook, Sony’s Reader, and other ebook-reader-software can use. The epub format, being an open, non-proprietary standard is, potentially, much easier to preserve for the long-term than proprietary formats like Kindle and PDF.

On its webpage, the White House says that the Report will be available in HTML format, too.

30 percent of the report — 137 out of 462 pages — contains statistical tables (see appendix B [PDF]), but the report’s format is not machine readable. In other words, you can’t grab the data and play with it in a spreadsheet. Fortunately, those statistics are available elsewhere on the Internet from the Government Printing Office. (The White House does link to the GPO’s page.)

Sunlight Lab’s Clay Johnson explains in his philippic against Adobe why this is important:

When a government agency publishes its data and documents as PDFs, it makes us Open Government advocates and developers cringe, tear our hair out, and swear a little (just a little)….

Here at Sunlight we want the government to STOP publishing bills and data in PDFs and Flash and start publish them in open, machine readable formats like XML and XSLT.