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Open Data Movement

Where it's been and where it appears to be going.
July 2, 2012 |
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The open data movement is taking root at the local level. Since President Barack Obama’s 2009 memorandum on transparency and open government, datacatalogs.org has reported that more than 40 state, county, and local governments in the United States have put data catalogues online. Open data policies typically define open data as structured standardized data in machine readable formats published for the public. This means that government data can be downloaded in such formats as CSV, KML, XML, and even XLS. Sharing information is not new. The web has allowed billions of people to openly share information over the past 30 years. In Tim Berners-Lee’s February 2009 TED Talk, “The Next Web of Open, Linked Data,” he described his frustration with large amounts of information being locked away in numerous systems that require specialized knowledge to access. That perpetual frustration spawned the World Wide Web in the late 20th century. Putting information in a stan- dard format on the Internet for anyone to use was Berners-Lee’s answer to making information usable and accessible.

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