All in Data Access

Understanding How Open Data Reaches the Public

In the long run, traditional top-down efforts at management control may be insufficient to ensure that both agency goals and the potential benefits of open data access — including unanticipated cponsequences — are realized in an efficient and cost effective manner. While leadership by the Federal government’s IT infrastructure will be necessary, it will also be necessary to ensure that ongoing efforts to advance open data access are managed efficiently both across agencies and in accordance with individual agency and program priorities; IT staff cannot do this on their own and will have to work closely with agency management.
It may be that the greatest challenge facing private entrepreneurs in developing new and valuable information products and services based at least partially on public data will be public resistance to paying for information, no matter how new, innovative, or unique these producrts or services are.

The State of Government Data Transparency, 2013

What I found most interesting and useful about the Data Transparency 2013 conference held September 10 in Washington DC was the diversity. The ability of Hudson Hollister’s Data Transparency Coalition to bring together such a high-quality group of speakers and attendees representing so many different perspectives was quite an accomplishment.

Perspectives on the NSA and PRISM: What Dyson Missed

In NSA: The Decision Problem George Dyson lays out a credible historical view on why he thinks what Snowden revealed about the NSA and PRISM was inevitable. While it’s certainly a pleasure to read a discussion of these issues that is so thoughtful, I think he misses one major theme that helps us understand our current predicament over what to do about Snowden.

Learning from the World Bank’s “Big Data” Exploration Weekend

If you’re serious about data analysis there’s probably no substitute for getting “down and dirty” with real, live, messy data. Sometimes you just have to sift through the numbers with your “bare hands” if you really want to extract meaning from descriptive statistics, predictive models, and fancy visualizations.

Developing Digital Strategies for Web-based Public Access to Government Performance Data

On January 29, 2013 I was privileged to attend a meeting of the Government Performance Coalition at George Washington University in Washington DC. During that meeting Shelley Metzenbaum, OMB Associate Director for Performance and Personnel, discussed the “performance improvement” pages of the Performance.gov website.
It’s no secret that mobile technologies are disrupting traditional IT management approaches. Industry analysts such as Gartner acknowledge this. But what’s the link between the public’s increasing use of mobile technologies and the governments agencies at all levels are making their programs — and their data — more open and accessible?
Our ability to store and provide access to vast amounts of information is growing. We need to focus on how such information is to be used most efficiently and most effectively. At the same time, through careful planning and design we must avoid the expense of developing and supporting systems and websites that people do not or cannot use. In these times of fiscal austerity such an outcome would be inexcusable.