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Open Government = Another Buzzword?


By Dawn Lim March 23, 2010

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Opening up the government means more than just putting information out there, said Rachel Flagg, General Services Administration web content manager and Federal Web Managers Council co-chair, on Tuesday at GovSec, a government security expo in Washington, D.C.

As talk of open government continues to grow, it may be more important than ever to define the term. During a panel discussion, Flagg gave some guidelines on how to think about the transparency movement.

Understand the needs of the public. "We have to look at everything we do from the perspective of the end user," she said. "The only way to do that is by going out and talking to people."

"You have to build things that matter to people, are relevant to people and that people need," she added. "If you write in bureaucratic gobbledygook, no one is going to take time to understand it."

Follow the rules of the game. "When you put data out and if you're not following accepted standards, it's going to be hard for anyone to do anything with it and take the data and mash it up."

Fill in the missing pieces. "When you open up data, you have to work with other people in the agency to fill in the pieces around this jigsaw puzzle."


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