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FCW : June 15, 2014
In December 2007, 30 open-data pioneers gathered in Sebastopol, Calif., and penned a set of eight open- government data principles that inaugurated a new era of democratic innovation and economic opportunity. "The objective...was to nd a simple way to express values that a bunch of us think are pretty common, and these are values about how the government could make its data available in a way that enables a wider range of people to help make the government function better," Harvard Law School Professor Larry Lessig said. "That means more transparency in what the government is doing and more opportunity for people to leverage government data to produce insights or other great business models." The eight simple principles --- that data should be com- plete, primary, timely, accessible, machine-processable, nondiscriminatory, nonproprietary and license-free --- still serve as the foundation for what has become a burgeoning open-data movement. In the seven years since those principles were released, govern- ments around the world have adopted open-data initiatives and launched platforms that empow- er researchers, journalists and entrepreneurs to mine this new raw material and its potential to uncover new discoveries and opportunities. Open data has drawn civic hacker enthusiasts around the world, fueling hack- athons, challenges, apps contests, barcamps and "datapaloozas" focused on issues as varied as health, energy, nance, transpor- tation and municipal innovation. In the United States, the federal government initiated the begin- nings of a wide-scale open-data agenda on President Barack Obama s rst day in of ce in January 2009, when he issued his memorandum on transparency and open government, which declared that "openness will strengthen our democracy and promote ef ciency and effectiveness in government." The president gave federal agencies three months to provide input into an open-government directive that would eventually out- line what each agency planned to do with respect to civic transparency, collaboration and participation, including speci c objectives related to releasing data to the public. In May of that year, Data.gov launched with just 47 datasets and a vision to "increase public access to high- value, machine-readable datasets generated by the execu- tive branch of the federal government." When the White House issued the nal draft of its federal Open Government Directive later that year, the U.S. open- government data movement got its rst tangible marching orders, including a 45-day dead- line to open previously unre- leased data to the public. Now ve years after its launch, Data.gov boasts more than 100,000 datasets from 227 local, state and federal agencies and organizations. "In May 2009, Data.gov was an experiment," Data.gov Evan- gelist Jeanne Holm wrote last month to mark the anniversary. "There were questions: Would people use the data? Would agen- cies share the data? And would it make a difference? We ve all come a long way to answering those questions." The Obama administration continues to iterate and deep- en its open-data efforts, most A brief history of open data BY LUKE FRETWELL From eight simple principles to today's vast ecosystem, here's what's happening --- and how to take full advantage 28 June 15, 2014 FCW.COM ExecTe c h The bene ts of open data for agencies • Save time and money when responding to Freedom of Information Act requests. • Avoid duplicative internal research. • Use complementary datasets held by other agencies. • Empower employees to make better- informed, data-driven decisions. • Attract positive attention from the public, media and other agencies. • Generate revenue and create new jobs in the private sector. Source: Project Open Data
June 30, 2014
July 15, 2014