Web 2.0 for Government 1.0

By Todd Ogasawara
June 7, 2008 | Comments: 1

Earlier this week, ars technica wrote about a study from the Princeton Information Technology Policy Center that said .gov web sites should focus on RSS, XML--not redesigns. The message is for governments to concentrate on exposing data that is easier consume than trying to redesign look, feel, and navigation.

I couldn't agree more. This is the message I delivered at the Digital Government Summit conference sponsored by Government Technology magazine last December. You can find my presentation on SlideShare.net embedded below:

As I prepare to exit my government job as an eGovernment Team Leader on June 30 (budget cuts are everywhere folks -- any job leads for a tech geek would be appreciated :-), I wanted to give the Princeton group's message and mine as wide an audience as possible. It is:

Governments have a lot of extremely useful data that is of great use to the public. There are many ways to expose this data to let the many great web and software developers outside of government to maximize the use of this data. RSS, Atom, and Microformats are just some of the low-hanging tech fruit that can be used right now, today, to provide better access to government data. A lot of this data is already available to the public in static HTML tables, PDF files, Excel spreadsheets, dBase (yes, dBase!) dbf files, access files, and all kind of other reasonable but non-web-mashable (without massaging) formats.

If you have the opportunity to talk to your government officials, tell them you would like to be able to access data in a 21st century web-friendly format.

Stepping off my soapbox now.

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Todd, this was interesting -- what was your agency's reaction to your presentation... and was there institutional will to make changes, or were people afraid of these kinds of information uses?

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