Dennis D. McDonald (ddmcd@outlook.com) is an independent consultant located in Alexandria Virginia. His services and capabilities are described here. Application areas include project, program, and data management; market assessment, digital strategy, and program planning; change and content management; social media; and, technology adoption. Follow him on Google+. He also publishes on CTOvision.com and aNewDomain.

Graphic Display of Terms in Obama's Executive Order Making Open and Machine Readable the New Default for Government Information

By Dennis D. McDonald

In a vain attempt to locate information on the role .pdf files will be playing in this I performed a quick and dirty Wordle analysis:

Nope, no mention of “.pdf.” Yes, I know that many tools exist for scraping and extracting structure from .pdf documents, but that adds another and potentially costly step. While the .pdf source — or the document it is based on — could be treated as the “golden” original, it also means that there might always be a question of the agreement between the source data and the extracted data.

Such data conversion issues have always been with us, of course, and there will be those who look at this new Executive Order as opening up opportunities for outside groups to “add value” to data being made by the Government.

I’m all for that, and I applaud the language of the order for requiring accessibility. But the devil is in the details and, given the precarious state of Government finances, we’re bound to see some confusion in the coming months. On balance, though, making accessibility the default condition has to be considered a good thing; “Better light than darkness,” as they say.

Related reading:

Copyright (c) 2013 by Dennis D. McDonald, Ph.D. Dennis is a Washington DC area consultant specializing in digital strategy, collaborative project management, and new technology adoption. His clients have included the US Department of Veterans Affairs, the US Environmental Protection Agency, Jive Software, the National Library of Medicine, the National Academy of Engineering, Social Media Today and Oracle, and the World Bank Group. Contact Dennis via email at  ddmcd@yahoo.com or by phone at 703-402-7382.

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