Government transparency is a widely agreed upon goal but progress on
achieving it has been very limited. Real transparency would provide a burst
of information that informs stromger public oversight of government.
- Authorative sourcing
means producing data as near to its origination as possible,
and promptly so that the public uniformly comes to rely on the
best sources of data.
A practice that promotes authority is real-time or near-real-time
The authority required for transparency is earned through prompt
publication of data in useful open standards -
authority through being awesome
is another set of practices that ensure consistency and
confidence in data.
Permanency is an important part of availability. A thing is not
truly available unless it existsa for good.
Data should be stable and consistent and should always be found
in the same location. Trying data excavations in shifting sands
is not worth the effort.
Data is available when it is complete. A partial reord is
unreliable and it cannot be used to tell stories that full data
records can, so it does not foster transparency.
Data is fully available when it is structured using standards
that are unencumbered by intellectual property claims. If a
string of text in a database is copyrightted, that datum is
not fully available. It is encumbered by legal claims that
limits its use.
- Machine discoverability
occurs when information is arranged so that a computer can
discover the data and follow links within the data. Machine
discoverability is produced when data is presented consistent with
a host of customs about how data is identified and referenced, the
naming of documents and files, the protocols for communicating data
and the organization of data withing files.
Machine discoverability is enhanced thru the use of web standards
such as HTTP and HTML. A consistent URL structure is an
important way of making data available.
Discoverbility is a function of how hard it is for machines to
- Machine readability
is the heart of transparency because it allows the many meanings
of data to be discovered. Machine readable data is logically
structured so that computers can generate the myriad stories
that the data has to tell and put it to the hundreds of uses
the public would make of it in government oversight.
Data's value depends not only on its subject, but also on the format
in which the information is stored, Format determines the value
of the resource and the extent to which the public can exploit it
for analysis and reuse.