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Education Dept. Builds Show and Tell Space for Developers

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The Education Department is creating a virtual space where developers can share anything they've made using federal data.

The department set up an extension of its official GitHub account to house resources for developers and to showcase any products the agency is coding, including the College Scorecard. (That online tool is designed to help students organize their college search by program, location, size, affiliation and other attributes.)

Education has been working with federal digital consultancy 18F, based within the General Services Administration, last year on an open data program that established its initial presence on GitHub.

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As part of their collaboration, 18F set up a system that can make files into a "web service," according to an Education Department blog post announcing the initiative. Education has used it to make "My Brother's Keeper" data sets, which can be used to analyze life outcomes for 18- to 24-year-old boys and men, into a set of APIs, among other projects.

The hub, which took several months to develop, will also store an app gallery so visitors can explore new data tools, the post said.

The GitHub repository reflects a broader federal strategy promoting open-source programs. Last year, the White House finalized policy requiring agencies to make all their custom-developed software available to each other, cutting down on redundant technology contracts. For this hub, for instance, the department used openly licensed components including source code from the Consumer Finance Protection Bureau's developer hub.

Though the department's open-source catalog is limited, it may gradually expand through a "stronger, more collaborative relationship with the developer community."

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