About the author: Linda Travers is EPA’s Acting Assistant Administrator for the Office of Environmental Information and Chief Information Officer
… pronoun. 1. That which belongs to you <as in, “The data we – the federal government – collect is yours.”>
President Obama believes you should have much better access to the data government collects on your behalf, and has launched an exciting government-wide effort to make sure that happens. It’s called Data.gov. The White House unveiled this web site last month as one of the leading examples of its Open Government Initiative, created to bring greater transparency, openness and collaboration to how the government conducts the public’s business. I was fortunate enough to be tapped as co-chair of the Data.gov effort.
Data.gov is designed to deliver a variety of machine readable datasets and tools over the Internet that the public can download for their own use. We think that easier access to these resources will prove valuable to a broad array of individuals and communities – from researchers to business people to educators and volunteer groups. One of the basic ethics underlying Data.gov can be found in its Data Policy on secondary use, “Data accessed through Data.gov do not, and should not, include controls over its end use.” Simple.
We’ve also designed Data.gov to be a two-way street. We’d like to understand what data and tools you’re curious about and need. And we’re encouraging you to share your own innovative ideas to help us provide the best possible service to the public.
With millions of hits on the web site over the past two weeks, Data.gov has already generated some real interest. But this is just the beginning. We expect that the types and volume of data and tools residing in Data.gov will grow steadily over time. We hope you find our work valuable and stimulating, and we ask that you join us in enhancing this public resource. After all, it’s yours.