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Government considers US-style open source data website

Rebecca Thomson

The UK government is considering launching an open source data website, similar to the data.gov site launched by the US government in May.

A post by Richard Stirling on the Cabinet Office's digital engagement blog asks for views on what services the site might provide.

The US site aims to improve access to government-generated data, and wants people to use it in innovative ways.

The US government says of the site, "A primary goal of Data.gov is to improve access to Federal data and expand creative use of those data beyond the walls of government by encouraging innovative ideas (eg, web applications). Data.gov strives to make government more transparent." It wants to increase public participation and collaboration.

The UK's Power of Information Task Force has told the government that one of its main information-related problems for people is knowing what's been published, what form it is in and how it might be used. Stirling said on the blog that the Cabinet Office is looking into how it might do this.

The government is also looking into what features would be most useful to users - such as feeds, or bulk downloads; whether the site should be an index or repository; what types of data it should serve; what other sites it should be looking to for inspiration; and whether the site needs its own domain or could exist within direct.gov.uk.

Officials will be following views on the Twitter tags #poit and #opendata. The UK government is on a drive to increase its digital engagement with people following the appointment of Andrew Stott as Director of Digital Engagement, who has an IT and culture change background. He is on Twitter as @dirdigeng.


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