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Tag Archive: data

Recovery.gov’s Systemic Failure

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The new Recovery.gov-- which we've written about and even nearly bid on-- has certainly taken the government huge steps forward in terms of disclosing information, but it is not without controversy. The press is questioning the program, pointing to wasteful spending or bad data. The White House fired back with a "reality check"(their words) saying that few of the reports have gone through the "extensive three-week review" and that the data might be particularly misleading at this point.

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Data Commons Matchbox

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Earlier this year we started on the Data Commons, a project to merge open government data sets to make them more searchable and usable. Our goal for the initial release is to load state and federal campaign contribution data from The Center for Responsive Politics and The National Institute for Money in State Politics. Along with the raw transactional records, we will be taking the additional step of matching the entities (people, organizations, corporations, etc.) across the data sets. We'll have more posts soon with details about the Data Commons.

To assist us in this effort, we are developing Matchbox, a toolkit for the merging and matching of entities. We have big plans for Matchbox, but want to get feedback from the community as we improve it over the next few months.

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Your Input Wanted on Recovery.gov Data

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Recovery.gov

Here at the Sunlight Labs, we've focused a lot on the recent bid on version 2.0 of Recovery.gov. This morning on the Labs mailing list, Rusty Talbot of Synteractive, one of the winning contractors, asked for input on the best way for Recovery.gov to publish its data.

Rusty wrote:

The Recovery, Accountability, & Transparency Board wishes to have an open discussion with all interested developers about how data should be made available via Recovery.gov.

As you are all aware, a new version of Recovery.gov will be released soon. From a data standpoint, the initial release of the new site will replicate existing functionality. However, the Board aims to set a new standard of transparency with this site and would therefore like to make the data available in the most convenient and straightforward way (or ways) possible so you can use and analyze official, up-to-date Recovery Act data. We need your input to achieve this goal.

Please let us know how the site could best meet your needs in terms of machine-readable data format(s) and standards, APIs, guidance, training, etc.

This is a great opportunity for all of us who work hard to make government data more open and accessible.

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Dealing with Inaccurate Government Data

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Developers are good at getting bits to line up, importing data and getting great conclusions out of it. Designers are great at making things look great and making those conclusions and bits easily digestible. But in all the apps I've seen, they all ultimately suffer from the same fatal flaw: accuracy.

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