25 August 2009

Open.gov: The Meme Spreads

It's really striking how the idea of open government has gone from nowhere a few months ago to hot meme of the moment. Here's the latest convert - Sweden:

Opengov.se is an initiative to highlight available public datasets in Sweden. It contains a commentable catalog of government datasets, their formats and usage restrictions. The percent figure on the start page indicates the share of datasets that are available with an open license and in at least one open format.

The goal is to highlight the benefits of open access to government data and explain how this is done in practice.

It's interesting that the site links to the US Open Government Working Group, which wrote:

8 december 2007 - This weekend, 30 open government advocates gathered to develop a set of principles of open government data. The meeting, held in Sebastopol, California, was designed to develop a more robust understanding of why open government data is essential to democracy.

The Internet is the public space of the modern world, and through it governments now have the opportunity to better understand the needs of their citizens and citizens may participate more fully in their government. Information becomes more valuable as it is shared, less valuable as it is hoarded. Open data promotes increased civil discourse, improved public welfare, and a more efficient use of public resources.

The group is offering a set of fundamental principles for open government data. By embracing the eight principles, governments of the world can become more effective, transparent, and relevant to our lives.

Since Sweden currently holds the presidency of the EU, it would be good if it spread a little of that openness there, too.

More details on what exactly Sweden is up to from the Open Knowledge Foundation Blog.

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