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Announcing the Global Open Data Initiative’s New Declaration on Open Data – And Inviting Your Feedback

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The Global Open Data Initiative partners are excited today to share a draft Declaration on Open Data, and would welcome comments and feedback on its contents. This post was co-authored by the Global Open Data Initiative partners, and the original can be viewed here Keyboard Open Data has enormous unfulfilled promise to change how governments work and to empower citizenship. Even as more governments and issue experts discover new potential in the public release of data, civil society groups still need clear guidelines and mechanisms for cooperation. Global Open Data Initiative hopes to help provide both, and we hope this draft declaration will help us fill that gap. By building on existing efforts to gather guidelines and best practices, and by building a clear, joint voice made up of outside groups, Global Open Data Initiative hopes to provide a CSO-led vision for how open data should work.

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A Modern Approach to Open Data

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Last year, a group of us who work daily with open government data -- Josh Tauberer of GovTrack.us, Derek Willis at The New York Times, and myself -- decided to stop each building the same basic tools over and over, and start building a foundation we could share. noun_project_15212 We set up a small home at github.com/unitedstates, and kicked it off with a couple of projects to gather data on the people and work of Congress. Using a mix of automation and curation, they gather basic information from all over the government -- THOMAS.gov, the House and Senate, the Congressional Bioguide, GPO's FDSys, and others -- that everyone needs to report, analyze, or build nearly anything to do with Congress. Once we centralized this work and started maintaining it publicly, we began getting contributions nearly immediately. People educated us on identifiers, fixed typos, and gathered new data. Chris Wilson built an impressive interactive visualization of the Senate's budget amendments by extending our collector to find and link the text of amendments. This is an unusual, and occasionally chaotic, model for an open data project. github.com/unitedstates is a neutral space; GitHub's permissions system allows many of us to share the keys, so no one person or institution controls it. What this means is that while we all benefit from each other's work, no one is dependent or "downstream" from anyone else. It's a shared commons in the public domain. There are a few principles that have helped make the unitedstates project something that's worth our time, which we've listed below.

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