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 White House’s new Executive Order may be significantly different than the open data policies that have come before it on the federal level, but where does it stand in a global -- and local -- context? Many folks have already jumped at the chance to compare this new US executive order and the new policies that accompany it to a similar public letter issued by UK Prime Minister David Cameron in 2010, but little attention has been paid to one of the new policy’s most substantial provisions: the creation of a public listing of agency data based on an internal audits of information holdings. As administrative as this provision might sound, the creation of this listing (and the accompanying scoping of what information isn’t yet public, but could be released) is part of the next evolution of open data policies (and something Sunlight has long called for as a best practice). So does this policy put the U.S. on the leading edge? Continue reading
As part of Sunshine week, I had the opportunity to testify at a House Oversight and Government Reform Committee hearing to share a few of Sunlight's ideas about making the executive branch more transparent. Video and text of my opening statement are below. It almost goes without saying that we're very interested in the transparency bills the Oversight Committee will be marking up this Wednesday.
Tomorrow is the two year anniversary of the Open Government Directive (OGD), the signature transparency policy issued by the Obama administration... View ArticleContinue reading
Policy Fellow Matt Rumsey wrote this post. As part of its Open Government Directive, the Obama Administration took steps to... View ArticleContinue reading
Are the PR flacks of the Obama administration against government transparency? If not, then why have some instituted media policies... View ArticleContinue reading
This fourth of July marks the 45th anniversary America’s freedom of information law. FOIA transformed our world by giving teeth... View ArticleContinue reading
The Open Government
Directive encouraged states to put valuable government data online. In this series we're reviewing each state's efforts in this direction.
This week: Colorado
File this under "Valiant attempts." When the state of Colorado created the government spending website TOPS (Transparency Online Project) in the fall of 2009, officials dutifully made every piece of data on the site downloadable. Unfortunately, while the idea is laudable, the execution is a little weak. The data is in XML format -- a handy format for computer programmers -- but isn't structured well enough to ...
On Thursday, the White House announced the winners of their Leading Practices initiative, that they first outlined in April. The... View ArticleContinue reading