recommended reading

Feds embrace ‘nerds of the Internet’

Nextgov reporter Joseph Marks, Kari Craun, director if USGS' National Geospatial Technology Center and Dominic McDevitt-Parks, resident Wikipedian for the National Archives

Nextgov reporter Joseph Marks, Kari Craun, director if USGS' National Geospatial Technology Center and Dominic McDevitt-Parks, resident Wikipedian for the National Archives // Caitlin Fairchild/Nextgov.com

Federal agencies are turning to the public to fill information gaps and promote their data, crowdsourcing experts said at a panel Thursday.

“People who build information are starting to realize the way the Web works now -- it goes beyond their own little website,” said Dominic McDevitt-Parks, resident Wikipedian for the National Archives and Records Administration. The discussion was part of Government Executive Media Group’s Excellence in Government conference.

McDevitt-Parks, who promotes Archives’ data to Wikipedia editors, said more people are accessing his agency’s information through Wikipedia than its own website. Archives.gov received 17 million hits in 2011, while he estimated all the Wikipedia pages hosting Archives data tallied about 1 billion.

The answer, therefore, is to embrace the technology, he said: “If we want to reach the public, then we want to go to Wikipedia.”

The U.S. Geological Survey also is engaging the public for mapping information, testing a pilot program in Denver in which the public provides data such as where post offices and schools are located.

Kari Craun, director of USGS’ National Geospatial Technology Center, said she still has reservations about the long-term viability of the program.

“Over time, we are going to see if this is a sustainable model,” she said. “We’re not sure yet.”

Both speakers vouched for the quality of the product that results from crowdsourcing, stating the criticisms of the publicly collected information are overblown.

“I think we have to change our mindsets,” Craun said.

McDevitt-Parks concurred. “Wikipedia is where the nerds of the Internet go,” he said. “There are actually a lot of people on Wikipedia who know more about the things you are doing than maybe you do.”

Threatwatch Alert

Thousands of cyber attacks occur each day

See the latest threats

JOIN THE DISCUSSION

Close [ x ] More from Nextgov
 
 

Thank you for subscribing to newsletters from Nextgov.com.
We think these reports might interest you:

  • Modernizing IT for Mission Success

    Surveying Federal and Defense Leaders on Priorities and Challenges at the Tactical Edge

    Download
  • Communicating Innovation in Federal Government

    Federal Government spending on ‘obsolete technology’ continues to increase. Supporting the twin pillars of improved digital service delivery for citizens on the one hand, and the increasingly optimized and flexible working practices for federal employees on the other, are neither easy nor inexpensive tasks. This whitepaper explores how federal agencies can leverage the value of existing agency technology assets while offering IT leaders the ability to implement the kind of employee productivity, citizen service improvements and security demanded by federal oversight.

    Download
  • Effective Ransomware Response

    This whitepaper provides an overview and understanding of ransomware and how to successfully combat it.

    Download
  • Forecasting Cloud's Future

    Conversations with Federal, State, and Local Technology Leaders on Cloud-Driven Digital Transformation

    Download
  • IT Transformation Trends: Flash Storage as a Strategic IT Asset

    MIT Technology Review: Flash Storage As a Strategic IT Asset For the first time in decades, IT leaders now consider all-flash storage as a strategic IT asset. IT has become a new operating model that enables self-service with high performance, density and resiliency. It also offers the self-service agility of the public cloud combined with the security, performance, and cost-effectiveness of a private cloud. Download this MIT Technology Review paper to learn more about how all-flash storage is transforming the data center.

    Download

When you download a report, your information may be shared with the underwriters of that document.