Data.Gov — transparency overload, PR move, tool.

The SLA Gov Info division posted this morning a link to a Harvard Business School case study, Data.Gov: Matching Government Data with Rapid Innovation. (There’s a free copy of the study for government employees linked on the DGI blog.)

It’s a good read about Vivek Kundra and the whole project, but I think it doesn’t really address some of the major usability issues of Data.Gov. Not everything is in there, organization could be better, most usable analysis tools, etc. It’s a fine line because on one hand, it’s commendable for the Obama administration to take on such a task and pay service to the idea of Open Data, but then on the other it’s frustrating because not all data is equal. Some agencies are barely represented because their data is such a mess, though it is available elsewhere. It makes my job difficult because I can’t yet sell Data.Gov to my users as the one-stop source for their data needs.
It would be great if the Obama Administration could make better data collection and sharing a top priority for all of the different departments, but I also know it’s pretty low on the list of things to do (even before the economy collapsed). When it has enough transportation data for the needs of my community, I will be happy, but I know we’re not alone.

One thought on “Data.Gov — transparency overload, PR move, tool.

  1. The thing that’s interesting about “open data” and “open government,” I think, isin’t that it’s revolutionizing government. It’s that it changes the way things are hidden. Once upon a time politicians dodged accountability by never releasing information. Now, they just can do the opposite… release the flood gates and make it impossible to manage the overload.

    If there’s enough information available, there’s always going to be something you can use to back up your arguments. It can also make rare mistakes and mishaps that much harder to find.

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