A new Open Data Policy of the US Government says that ‘starting this week (9th May 2013) new and modernized Government information systems should use open and machine readable formats by default’.
‘To promote continued job growth, Government efficiency, and the social good that can be gained from opening Government data to the public, the default state of new and modernized Government information resources shall be open and machine readable. Government information shall be managed as an asset throughout its life cycle to promote interoperability and openness, and, wherever possible and legally permissible, to ensure that data are released to the public in ways that make the data easy to find, accessible, and usable. In making this the new default state, executive departments and agencies (agencies) shall ensure that they safeguard individual privacy, confidentiality, and national security.’ (Source: Executive Order)
And there is a interesting example how Linked Data are published:
‘Linked data is data in which real-world things are given addresses on the web (URIs), and data is published about them in machine-readable formats at those locations. Other datasets can then point to those things using their URIs, which means that people using the data can find out more about something without that information being copied into the original dataset.
This page lists the sectors for which we currently publish linked data and some additional resources that will help you to use it. Most sectors have one or more SPARQL endpoints, which enable you to perform searches across the data; you can access these interactively on this site‘.
What’s the effect of open data? Some journals (like the Guardian) make ample use of open data, but there is no wide-spread activity or commitment or lots of evaluation studies to be seen. Infoweek just published an article about US open gov and found that there is a lot to be done as only small groups seem to take notice of this government activity. ‘The most difficult part of open government may be getting the public to participate. … the “if you build it, they will come” approach simply doesn’t work.’ (InformationWeek, Feb 21, 2011: Open Government Reality Check: Federal agencies are making progress on the Obama administration’s Open Government Directive, but there’s still a long way to go. Here’s our list of top priorities.)