How can regulations.gov, one of the primary mechanisms for government transparency and public participation, be made more useful to the public rulemaking process?
OMB is beginning the process of reviewing and potentially updating its Federal Web Policy. What policy updates should be included in this revision to make Federal websites more user-friendly and pertinent to the needs of the public?
How can we build on the success of Data.Gov and encourage the use of democratized data to build new consumer-oriented products and services?
Today, Clay Johnson offered the White House a deep set of recommendations for open government in response to the three questions it posed, including better ways to use open data, social media, improving regulations, public comment, and the developer community better. If you’re interested in open government, it’s a must-read.
We believe the future of open government is citizen focused — to be open to engagement on the terms that citizens are used to in the venues they’re accustomed to.
The growth of social media since the delivery of the initial open government directive, and its adoption by agencies’ communications departments requires the next step: for social media to also be used in giving citizens a voice in regulatory decisions. We believe the future of open government is about discoverability. Moving data or regulations from print publications to the online world results in a net loss if there are less people viewing them. Government should work hard to make sure that all publicly available information is discoverable by search engines, and via social media.
We believe that the future of open government is through the engagement of open source communities, and that agencies should begin to open up to their participation. Government treats lawyers as experts in the field of law, why not treat developers as experts in the field of processing data? Take the next step and participate with them directly, rather than through independent vessels.
There’s a new version of data.gov going online. For those keeping track, Data.gov is the open data website that the United States federal government launched two years ago. The most recent iteration integrates the services of Socrata, a Seattle-based startup that has quietly been helping cities and states around the country to get their data online. For more on the new version of Data.gov, check out explore.data.gov or watch Socrata’s introductory video about the changes.
One caveat: It was only a few weeks ago that Congress cut funding to open government data platforms by 75% – which includes data.gov. Federal CIO Vivek Kundra has not made any public statements about how the remaining $8 million dollars of the Office of Management and Budget’s e-government funds will be allocated, but given the ongoing revamp of data.gov, the smart money, so to speak, looks to be that the premier federal open government website will not only stay online but gain more functionality.
For a more personal look, here’s a video interview I recorded with Allen Vander Wallie, a program manager for Data.gov at the U.S. General Services Administration, where he talks about the potential for open data.
Pretty cool. According to the page, it’s from Semantic-Web.at. It’s a good bet that the growth of open data and open government initiatives around the world will be a topic of conversation for the community the International Data Summit this month in Washington, D.C.