Last summer, Sunlight released a series of Open Data Guidelines in reaction to a surge of municipal open data policy making. In anticipation of revamping these policies this summer (to add fresh context, ideas, and exemplary language) and in reaction to a recent surge in open data policy collaboration as evidenced by the interactive Project Open Data and the newly public (beta) Open Data Stack Exchange (or maybe more accurately in reaction to the Meta Open Data Stack Exchange...), we wanted to provide a roadmap to the world open data resources and recommendations that are available to put these resources in context of their evolution over time–a guideline to Open Data Guidelines, if you will. The first step in navigating the open data guidelines out there is to examine the chronology of how they surfaced.
The timeline below provides a landscape of current open data policy guidelines, guidance, and principles that exist and showcases the chronology in which they have manifested, each guideline often directly building off of (or crafted in reaction to) its predecessor. Looking at these guidelines in context exposes the pragmatic and technical evolutions in thought that have occurred under the banner of open data pursuit: from the foundational drive to define what information is legally available (through FOIA and other public records laws) to the trailblazing concept of proactive disclosure (where "public" access means "online" access) to establishing the qualities that make data more accessible and usable (emphasizing structured, bulk data, unique IDs, and APIs). The dialogue for discussing open data policy guidelines has itself evolved from the gathering of smaller open government groups of: Open House Project, Open Government Working Group, the Open Government Initiative, and early collaborative efforts such as the Open Gov Handbook, to the editable Project Open Data and the Q&A Open Data Stack Exchange.
The History of Transparency — Part 1: Opening the Channels of Information to the People in the 18th Century
Last week, my colleague John Wonderlich spoke on a panel about the nature of the Open Government Directive with other... View ArticleContinue reading
Remembering Ted Kennedy, Internet Pioneer
Sad news that Sen. Ted Kennedy has passed away from brain cancer. Kennedy was not just a prolific legislator and... View ArticleContinue reading
Read the Bill: The (Long) Short Story
In case you needed the short version of the full history of Congress and Read the Bill, please read below.... View ArticleContinue reading
A History of Congressional Transparency
Over the course of two-hundred twenty years Congress has gradually opened their inner workings to public inspection. From the opening... View ArticleContinue reading
Legislative History Detective: Senate Electronic Filing
We've expended enormous energy and blog space to advocate for the Senate to file their campaign finance reports electronically, something that probably shouldn't take that much effort, but it does. If you need a primer on the issue you can watch this video we made. One thing of note in this whole saga is that Congress, in 1999, mandated electronic filing for all campaign committees, but somehow the Senate doesn't have to comply. Why is this?
In December of 1995, Congress passed a bill to amend the Federal Election Campaign Act to allow the FEC to accept electronic filing, a legislative recommendation previously made by the FEC to give them a statutory requirement and funding to create an e-filing system. The bill, which became Public Law 104-79, also changed the filing location for members of the House from the Clerk of the House to the FEC. This seems innocuous, but it is important.Continue reading