January 18, 2013 By Noelle Knell
Nearly every major city in the U.S. has gotten attention for open data efforts. Government Technology has covered initiatives in Philadelphia, San Francisco and Chicago, as well as smaller cities like Tucson, Ariz., and Madison, Wis., to name just a few.
While few would dispute the benefits of more transparent government operations, the Center for Technology in Government (CTG) in Albany, N.Y., is taking a look at what governments need to consider before releasing data sets for public consumption.
”The idea that it’s a good idea to know what your government is doing is fundamental to democracy, so we think opening government is a phenomenon that needs to be expanded, advanced and encouraged, and has the potential to make our democracy stronger and make our governments more effective,” said CTG Senior Fellow Tony Cresswell.
The Dynamics of Opening Government Data, released last month, looks at what it actually means to release government data sets to the public. Sponsored by software company SAP, the paper evaluates two open data releases – restaurant inspection data in New York City, and road construction information in Edmonton, Alberta.
According to the CTG, governments would be wise to thoughtfully consider which data sets they release. “Picking data resources that have a value proposition both internal to government and externally in the community seem to be the ones with the biggest payoff,” Cresswell explained.
This Digital Communities white paper highlights discussions with IT officials in four counties that have adopted shared services models. Our aim was to learn about the obstacles these governments have faced when it comes to shared services and what it takes to overcome those roadblocks. We also spoke with several members of the IT industry who have thought long and hard about these issues. The paper offers some best practices for shared government-to-government services, but also points out challenges that government and industry still must overcome before this model gains widespread adoption.