Current Web technology allows governments to share with the public a variety of information in unlimited quantities on demand. Technology is also available to allow citizens to bring issues of concern to the attention of local, regional and national governments. However, exploiting these capabilities within government systems is a challenge that encompasses environmental, policy, legal, and cultural issues. Establishing effective eGovernment requires openness, transparency, collaboration and skill in taking advantage of the capabilities of the World Wide Web. The rich potential for two-way dialogue between citizens and government creates a need for global leadership. The W3C has an opportunity to provide guidance in support of eGovernment objectives by promoting existing open Web standards and noting the challenges external to the Web and technology. There is also role for the W3C to facilitate the development and vetting of new open Web standards needed by governments in context. This document is an attempt to describe, but not yet solve, the variety of issues and challenges faced by governments in their efforts to apply 21st century capabilities to eGovernment initiatives. Detail and useful examples of existing, applicable open Web standards are provided. Where government needs in the development of eGovernment services are not currently met by existing standards, those gaps are noted.
Every day, governments and government agencies publish more data on the Internet. Sharing this data enables greater transparency; delivers more efficient public services; and encourages greater public and commercial use and re-use of government information. Some governments have even created catalogs or portals (such as data.gov) to make it easy for the public to find and use this data. Although the reasons may vary, the logistics and practicalities of opening government data are the same. To help governments open and share their data, the W3C eGov Interest Group has developed the following guidelines. These straightforward steps emphasize standards and methodologies to encourage publication of government data, allowing the public to use this data in new and innovative ways.
Lindsay Tanner: The central recommendation of the Government 2.0 Taskforce's report was that the Australian Government makes a declaration of open government. As the Minister responsible for that Taskforce, I am proud to make that Declaration today on behalf of the Australian Government.
A couple of months ago I posted this piece about Business and Honesty and I picked up on the curious story of how Domino's Pizza ran an ad campaign which in effect admitted that their pizza was pretty bad, and that their customers were not pleased with it. But the ad then indicted 'we listen to them' and 'we changed the formula'. Domino showed that they loved their customers more than they loved their old recipe for yucky pizza.
The Economist: Of governments and geeks In several countries more official data are being issued in raw form so that anybody can use them. This forces bureaucrats and creative types to interact in new ways
Jerry Brito, George Mason University Mercatus Center. October 21, 2007. In order to hold government accountable for its actions, citizens must know what those actions are. To that end, they must insist that government act openly and transparently to the greatest extent possible. In the Twenty-First Century, this entails making its data available online and easy to access. If government data is made available online in useful and flexible formats, citizens will be able to utilize modern Internet tools to shed light on government activities. Such tools include mashups, which highlight hidden connections between different data sets, and crowdsourcing, which makes light work of sifting through mountains of data by focusing thousands of eyes on a particular set of data. Today, however, the state of government's online offerings is very sad indeed. Some nominally publicly available information is not online at all, and the data that is online is often not in useful formats. Government should be encouraged to release public information online in a structured, open, and searchable manner. To the extent that government does not modernize, however, we should hope that private third parties build unofficial databases and make these available in a useful form to the public.