This week: Seeking the Holy Grail of Open Government

Recently on Federal Tech Talk, Alexander Howard and Noel Dickover joined John Gilroy in a discussion on Open Government where a poignant metaphor was made; Opening government data harkens the imagery from Indiana Jones: Raiders of the Lost Ark: a massive warehouse wherein the lost, but found, ark of the covenant can become lost once again. The door to the metaphorical warehouse is being opened, but (keeping with the Indiana Jones theme) would you be able to find the Holy Grail within it?

For Charles Duncan Pardo finding the Holy Grail of Open Government would be more possible once Open Gov types start acting more like reporters by showing what the data means and what it’s worth, while reporters should start to think more like Open Gov types by highlighting where they got their data from, allowing others to dive into it more.

DfID's beta Development Tracker 
DfID has taken a step towards being a little more reporter-like by “eating their own dog food” and creating and releasing the beta version of the Development Tracker, making it easier to see the worth of their data, and easier for reporters to use and highlight where they got their data from.
The Open Knowledge Foundation has attempted to map out sources and rank governments on their access to government data based on their Open Government Data Census. Perhaps you’ll be able to find your Holy Grail among their list of ten criteria?

For the readers among us, you may enjoy the OECD Working paper “Open Government Data: Towards Empirical Analysis of Open Government Data Initiatives.” The paper provides an analysis on future necessary analysis on Open Government Data initiatives.

Meanwhile, the Open Government Partnership is seeking to add a chapter on citizen engagement to “The Guide to Opening Government.” Because, isn’t the real Holy Grail of Open Government when citizens and communities are able use the data to interact with their governments and get the support and services they really need? 

Take for example the citizens of Cameroon who were able to gain more access to and participation in their local budget process through a recent pilot project. Citizens first needed to become aware of the process and information before they could begin to participate.
What do you see as the Holy Grail of Open Government and what would it take to find it?

Weekly updates are written by Taryn Davis of Development Gateway; email her your tips for next week's update to get a shout-out in the post.


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