White House Expands Guidance on Promoting Open Data

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Agencies get specifics on goals for creating machine-readable formats.

White House officials have announced expanded technical guidance to help agencies make more data accessible to the public in machine-readable formats.

Following up on President Obama’s May executive order linking the pursuit of open data to economic growth, innovation and government efficiency, two budget and science office spokesmen on Friday published a blog post highlighting new instructions and answers to frequently asked questions.

Nick Sinai, deputy chief technology officer at the Office of Science and Technology Policy, and Dominic Sale, supervisory policy analyst at the Office of Management and Budget, noted that the policy now in place means that all “newly generated government data will be required to be made available in open, machine-readable formats, greatly enhancing their accessibility and usefulness, while ensuring privacy and security.”

Opening up more data, they added, “means more entrepreneurs and companies using those data to create tools that help Americans find the right health care provider, identify a college that provides good value, find a safe place to live, and much more. It also empowers decision makers within government, giving them access to more information to enable smarter, data-driven decisions.”

The new guidance steers agencies to create and maintain an enterprise data inventory; to create and maintain a public data listing; to create a process to engage with customers to help facilitate and prioritize data release; to document cases in which data cannot be released; and to clarify roles and responsibilities for promoting efficient and effective data release.

Agency progress reports are due Nov.1.

The officials added that they are also working to improve the prototype of the central government data site Next.Data.gov, and invite feedback from the industry.

(Image via Maksim Kabakou/Shutterstock.com)