Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Federal Agencies Ordered to Put More Data Online

White houseThe Office of Management and Budget issued an Open Government Directive yesterday, designed to make federal agencies and regulated entities more transparent. Agencies have been directed to (among other things) publish more information online, improve the quality of government information, and to use emerging technologies to gather information and communicate more effectively with the public.

Two of the more specific mandates are especially interesting.:

To the extent practical and subject to valid restrictions, agencies should proactively use modern technology to disseminate useful information, rather than waiting for specific requests under FOIA. 

Within 45 days, each agency shall identify and publish online in an open format at least three high-value data sets (see attachment section 3.a.i) and register those data sets via These must be data sets not previously available online or in a downloadable format.

And in sixty-days, information related to each agency's open government initiative will be available on an Open Government Webpage located at http://www.[agency].gov/open.

It will be interesting to see what kinds of high-value data sets various employment and labor agencies will pubilsh. I'm particularly looking forward to data the EEOC might be able to provide, since it publishes almost nothing and since (as I've at least argued), information the EEOC collects is essential to understanding what the content of the antidiscrimination norm is. I predict a much richer round of empirical research in the area in the near future.


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