Policies and Principles

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Open Source as the Default License

When government technology is acquired, contracts should stipulate that the software being developed (at taxpayer expense) is released with an OSI (open source institute) approved open source license. This would allow for reduced intergovernmental expense, and further innovation. Further -- it's morally appropriate: taxpayer funded software ought to belong to the public, much like taxpayer funded content cannot be held ...more »

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8 votes
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Privacy and Security

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Privacy and public data

Much data, such as birth certificates, is public but should not be readily available to everyone. Before computerization such records were protected by the difficulty in accessing them. Now databases are created so that corporations can mail advertising to all blue eyed Hispanics born on a Wednesday. I think it is a good idea to make most government records public but there should be some control and limitation ...more »

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-2 votes
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Beyond Websites (Mobile, Broadband...)

Submitted by (@graybrooks)

Consume their own APIs when building products

In the model of 'eating their own dog food', government agencies should not just offer the public APIs of all their front-facing content and data, but consume those APIs for their own products. This is not only more efficient but will reinforce the use of APIs as well as promote a better feedback loop whereby agencies will find and correct errors and improve the format of their public offerings. The FCC has opensourced ...more »

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8 votes
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Data, Apps, APIs...

Submitted by (@graybrooks)

Push .govs to consume each others APIs

Many government agencies have overlapping and important data. NOAA, Federal Register, HHS, FCC, and others are beginning to offer more of it as APIs. As more agencies do the same, there are strong benefits and efficiences that can come from agencies making a point to consume each others APIs when creating new products for the public. They can create mashups of their own data with that of other agencies to create products ...more »

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11 votes
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Beyond Websites (Mobile, Broadband...)

Submitted by (@graybrooks)

Publishing .govs via APIs will allow innovation yet to come

By changing the expectations for government websites to be that they make all of their content and data available via web services will change the game. Not only are there benefits for the webmasters when they eat their own dogfood, the public can also access, consume, republish, and further disseminate the information in ways that the originating agency hasn't considered and in ways which are more convenient for audiences ...more »

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9 votes
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Accessibility

Submitted by (@graybrooks)

Publish all government info via API for better republishing

When .govs make their web content and data available to the public via web services (APIs), any one or any organization can republish the material in various ways that are more accessible to different communities. By liquefying the content of the website by publishing it as an API, the public can repurpose it in various ways that the originating agency might not think to or might not have done so on their own website. ...more »

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5 votes
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Content and Readability

Submitted by (@graybrooks)

Make all content on a .gov available via API

Some government websites are offering data sets via webservices (e.g. APIs), in the model of NOAA's weather data that is consumed by many other websites dynamically. This is possible with the actual content of the website, too - press releases, blog posts, information pages, etc. The FCC has released a Drupal module that automatically publishes all of the content on the website via API - http://drupal.org/project/contentapi. ...more »

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8 votes
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Policies and Principles

Submitted by (@graybrooks)

Require .govs to provide all content and data via web services

In the short and medium term, one of the best efforts that government websites can effect in order to better serve the public would be to offer webservices (e.g. RESTful APIs) of all website content and data. This way, any information the website is offering, including not just public data, but also the textual content of the site, can be consumed by the public in a much more powerful and efficient manner. Interested ...more »

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7 votes
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Content in other languages

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Update language/origin/ethnicity maps and other language data

The Hispanic/Latino/Spanish origin population is growing rapidly in the US and language/origin data is useful for web designers for multilingual sites. And yet the most recent visual maps put out by the US Census Bureau for Hispanic Population and Spansh speakers in the US use data from years ago. For instance, the latest Spanish speakers map I have found is from the 2000 Census. Updating language and ethnicity maps ...more »

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6 votes
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Social Media

Submitted by

Recognize the implications of content shifting

For a while we've recognized that the content we put online isn't always consumed where we originally put it. RSS may have been the initial method that significant numbers of people used. More and more people are embracing the idea of "content shifting". We may discover an important piece of content on Facebook or Twitter, but not have the time to read it. So we "Instapaper" it or "Read Later". Those services often ...more »

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8 votes
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Policies and Principles

Submitted by (@danielschuman)

Publish Data Online Using Open Data Principles

Publishing data online in useful and reusable formats is essential to promoting innovation and encouraging oversight. A number of organization have come together and adopted 10 open data principles that should guide how information is published online. Federal websites should be required to adhere to these principles. The principles are spelled out in detail here -http://sunlightfoundation.com/policy/documents/ten-open-data-principles/ ...more »

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15 votes
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Policies and Principles

Submitted by

People, process, technology

Be sure to include your organization's mission and a vision. PEOPLE: Hire competent people Hire passionate, caring people Hire meticulous, attentive people Consider users ages Consider users knowledge level Consider users patience level PROCESS: Establish your site's purpose Decide on how you will achieve this purpose (Push-Pull of data/information/knowledge) Create a simple, navigable structure Mind the taxonomy: ...more »

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8 votes
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