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The White House Blog: Democratizing Data

The White House

May 21st, 2009: Democratizing Data

OMB Director Peter Orszag drops by to introduce us to what will be a key milestone in government transparency:

Today, I'm pleased to announce that the Federal CIO Council is launching Data.gov. Created as part of the President's commitment to open government and democratizing information, Data.gov will open up the workings of government by making economic, healthcare, environmental, and other government information available on a single website, allowing the public to access raw data and transform it in innovative ways.

Such data are currently fragmented across multiple sites and formats—making them hard to use and even harder to access in the first place. Data.gov will change this, by creating a one-stop shop for free access to data generated across all federal agencies. The Data.gov catalog will allow the American people to find, use, and repackage data held and generated by the government, which we hope will result in citizen feedback and new ideas.

Data.gov will also help government agencies—so that taxpayer dollars get spent more wisely and efficiently. Through live data feeds, agencies will have the ability to easily access data both internally and externally from other agencies, which will allow them to maintain higher levels of performance. In the months and years ahead, our goal is to continuously improve and update Data.gov with a wide variety of available datasets and easy-to-use tools based on public feedback and as we modernize legacy systems over time.

Democratizing government data will help change how government operates—and give citizens the ability to participate in making government services more effective, accessible, and transparent.

The Challenge

Data produced by government agencies are often hard to find or are published in proprietary formats of limited utility. As a result, a wealth of information remains untapped by the ingenuity and creativity of the American people.

The Solution

Data.gov is a citizen-friendly platform that provides access to Federal datasets. With a searchable data catalog, Data.gov helps the public find, access, and download non-sensitive Government data and tools in a variety of formats.

The Benefit

Enterprising Americans will be able to create new web applications that help individuals, communities, and businesses access, sort, visualize, and understand public data in new ways. Data transparency can spur economic, scientific, and educational innovation, as well as civic engagement by making it easier to build applications, conduct analysis, and perform research.

Additional Details

Launched on May 21, 2009, Data.gov already provides access to many Government datasets. Plans are in place to add new datasets and to continually improve the features and tools. Future versions will be even better because the system has the capacity to evolve based on feedback from the American public. We look to you to show us what is possible.

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