According to its website, "The purpose of Data.gov is to increase public access to high value, machine readable datasets generated by the Executive Branch of the Federal Government."
The site seeks to become "a repository for all the information the government collects". The site would publish to the public any data that is not private or restricted for national security reasons.
History and background
On March 5, 2009, shortly after his appointment as the first Federal Chief Information Officer, Vivek Kundra announced the creation of Data.gov. Kundra said, "Data.gov will publish data feeds, so we'll have a vast array of data".
The purpose of the site is to establish a set of requirements "that will make it possible to establish a web services infrastructure to expose at least partial representations of these databases as streams of XML".
The site will bring some of the philosophy of open data to the government, an approach which the book Democratizing Data states will have benefits including "rebuilding confidence in government and business".
It has been reported that the 2011 United States federal budget holds a substantial reduction in funding for the Electronic Government Fund, from which data.gov draws its funding; prioritization of systems supported by the Fund could lead to reduction or elimination of data.gov .
For its one-year anniversary, Data.gov launched a redesigned website on May 21, 2010. Its repository has grown from 47 datasets at launch to over 250,000. Jeanne Holm, Chief Knowledge Architect at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory and head of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) Knowledge Management team, joined Data.gov as the Communications and Collaborations Lead, James Hendler, an artificial intelligence researcher at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, was named the "Internet Web Expert" and tasked with helping Data.gov exploit advanced Web technologies.
On August 13, 2010 a position was posted for "Evangelist for Data.Gov Open Government". The position is currently occupied by Jeanne Holm. According to Holm, "The creation of the position came out of a suggestion from the public. There initially had been an open ideation period with the public about what would help guide an open government and open data site. The number one voted response was to have an Evangelist on board who could get connected with developers, with cities, and others working on open data and to help coordinate their systems."
The Office of Management and Budget released a Concept of Operations (CONOPS) document (ConOps in Word format, ConOps in PDF format) outlining the vision, architecture and future of data.gov. As of August 31, 2010 the most recent version was 0.7 dated December 3, 2009.
Open Government Directive
The U.S. Open Government Directive of December 8, 2009, requires that all agencies post at least three high-value data sets online and register them on data.gov within 45 days.
There are several apps that use data from Data.gov, including:
- FlyOnTime.us – Uses data from the Bureau of Transportation Statistics to find the most on-time flight from one city to another.
- Government 2.0
- Open Government Initiative
- "About Data.gov". Retrieved 2011-08-21.
- Hansell, Saul (2009-03-05). "The Nation’s New Chief Information Officer Speaks". The New York Times. Retrieved 2009-04-30.
- Vivek Kundra (5 March 2009) (partial transcript). Vivek Kundra: Federal CIO in His Own Words. (conference call). http://radar.oreilly.com/2009/03/vivek-kundra-federal-cio-in-hi.html. Retrieved 16 April 2011.
- Kurt Cagle (26 March 2009). "eGov Watch: The Importance of Data.Gov" (blog posting). O'Reilly Community. O'Reilly Media. Retrieved 16 April 2011.
- Aliya Sternstein (1 April 2009). "Kundra's Ideas Shape Book" (blog posting). nextgov (Tech Insider). National Journal Group. Retrieved 16 April 2011.
- Ed O'Keefe (14 April 2011). "Budget could close the door on open government" (blog posting). Federal Eye. Washington Post. Retrieved 16 April 2011.
- "Data.gov: Pretty Advanced for a One-Year-Old".
- Van Buskirk, Eliot (2010-05-19). "Sneak Peek: Obama Administration’s Redesigned Data.gov.". Wired Epicenter. Retrieved 2010-05-20.
- Evangelist for Data.Gov Open Government - Solicitation Number: RFI-MCD-10-0813001
- Federal News Radio - Are you a data evangelist?
- Bohle, Shannon (27 September 2013). "Binary Moment: A One-on-One Q&A About the US Government and Open Data with Jeanne Holm, Chief Data Wrangler and Open Data Evangelist". Nature.com.
- Orszag, Peter R. (8 December 2009). "Open Government Directive". Executive Office of the President.
- Wired How-To Wiki - Open Up Government Data
- A wiki with RDF versions of many of the data.gov datasets hosted at RPI
- Case study description of Data.gov development by REI Systems
- datagov.ideascale.com - Official consultation: Evolving Data.gov with You
- Microsoft Open Government Data Initiative
- data-publica.com French Open Data Directory