States urged to create data catalogs

NASCIO calls for state versions of the federal Data.Gov portal

Federal agencies shouldn't be the only ones to open their data for the public — states and local governments should also be ramping up efforts to become more transparent, the National Association of State Chief Information Officers (NASCIO) contends in a newly published report.

The first thing a state should do is create a one-stop portal, or data catalog, for all its publicly-accessible data, along the lines of the White House's Data.Gov , the report states.

“State government has already made much of its data public. We’re providing guidance on how to make this data more accessible and available through a single state data portal,” Dugan Petty, Oregon chief CIO and co-chair of the NASCIO enterprise architecture and governance committee, said in a statement.

By having data in one location, end users and third-party developers will be more inclined to build applications that can reuse the data in innovative ways. "The full universe of outcomes is not fully understood, but it is certainly anticipated that the availability of government datasets will lead to more citizen engagement, the potential to spawn new economic opportunities, efficiencies in the creation and use of data, and greater accountability on the part of government," states the report titled “A Call to Action for State Government – Guidance for Opening the Doors to State Data.”

The report suggests a few additional steps should also be carried out to encourage data reuse, including:

  • Creating a single portal from which all data can be accessed.
  • Joining with other states to create a unified naming scheme for Web addresses.
  • Deploying a common meta-data model, based on the federal Data.Gov model.
  • Not using proprietary data formats or other technologies that could hinder access.
  • .

The District of Columbia, and Utah have already created online data catalogs, though most states have not done so.

"We’d like to see a common approach across all states and more state data sites featured on the federal Data.Gov site," said Steve Fletcher, Utah's CIO and co-chair of the NASCIO enterprise architecture and governance committee. We’re looking forward to seeing what the public does with this data.”

About the Author

Joab Jackson is the senior technology editor for Government Computer News.

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