10 December 2007

Towards Open Government Data

One of the premises of this blog is that openness - radiating out from open source through open content, open access, open data and the rest - is more than a technical issue. Ultimately it is something that will touch every aspect of our lives.

One manifestation of this is the move to obtain free access to government data. In the UK, the Guardian has been a leading campaigner, and here's some news of what going on the other side of the pond:

I got a sense for the importance of the task talking with Dan O’Neil, who is “people person” for Everyblock.com, a remarkable project headed by Adrian Holovaty designed to be a “one-stop shop” for information about urban neighborhoods, including building permits, crime reports, planned improvements, school information, etc. Dan’s job is to negotiate with government officials in the twenty cities Everyblock seeks to map, and gain access to vast geocoded data sets. Armed with a set of principles and best practices that government geeks can show to their bosses, his job would be a lot easier than it is right now.

Most significant, perhaps, is the definition of what constitutes open government data:

Government data shall be considered open if it is made public in a way that complies with the principles below:

1. Complete
All public data is made available. Public data is data that is not subject to valid privacy, security or privilege limitations.

2. Primary
Data is as collected at the source, with the highest possible level of granularity, not in aggregate or modified forms.

3. Timely
Data is made available as quickly as necessary to preserve the value of the data.

4. Accessible
Data is available to the widest range of users for the widest range of purposes.

5. Machine processable
Data is reasonably structured to allow automated processing.

6. Non-discriminatory
Data is available to anyone, with no requirement of registration.

7. Non-proprietary
Data is available in a format over which no entity has exclusive control.

8. License-free
Data is not subject to any copyright, patent, trademark or trade secret regulation. Reasonable privacy, security and privilege restrictions may be allowed.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

..and the answers that you get may make you go more than Doh!... p