All in Data Program Management
It’s good to see the Federal government and private sector working together to create value from data that might not be realized were its use restricted only to specifically funded and legislated programs.
Because of this my advice to anyone contemplating an open data program is to start not with what data are available but with what programs are trying to accomplish, then work on how open data can contribute to the success of those programs.
After this week’s call with Socrata’s Health Data Publishers Roundtable about working with data owners I put together a few thoughts to share with the group. Here are some observations along with a list of questions that I think deserve further discussion.
When it comes to the “open” data associated with the program, some users will want raw data to do their own thing, some will be satisfied with self-service tools that allow them to interact with the data in various structured or defined ways, and others will be more comfortable relying on the services of intermediaries that understand the data, the tools, and are qualified to interpret the information requirements of those they serve.
Whether you have useful information stored in documents or in data sets you also need at some point to have the ability and skill to manage or at least understand the processes involved in gathering and analyzing the data.
Standardizing how the U.S. government collects, manages, and publishes budget and expenditure data, as required by the DATA Act currently before the U.S. Congress, is an example of a long-term and complex project. It will be require careful planning, management, and sufficient resources to be successful.
In some ways managing “big data” tools and processes is no different than figuring out how to manage any other type of technological innovation. The technology is introduced, experts emerge and help control and shape evolving practical applications, and management eventually figures out what is worth keeping and what can be discarded.
What can we learn from working with large energy utilities and their data that will help others plan and manage “big data” projects?
I support the practice of transparency for government programs. People need to know and understand how their tax dollars are spent. At the same time, transparency is not an end in itself.
The American Recovery and Reinvestment Tax Act of 2009 (ARRA), passed by Congress and signed by the President, is now available online. The text below is an attempt to summarize sections of the law that do the following: