Open Government

OMB agrees to release government-wide data inventories

Shutterstock image: global network of information sharing.

The federal government is going to release lists of agency data holdings in response to Freedom of Information Act requests by the Sunlight Foundation, which heralded the pending disclosure as providing access to "what we believe to be the largest index of government data in the world."

The Office of Management and Budget collects inventories of data holdings from government agencies as part of the Obama administration’s open-data policy. According to a Sunlight blog post, those Enterprise Data Inventories give the public "an unprecedented view into data held internally across government."

OMB initially sought to deflect the Sunlight request by routing it to individual agencies that produced the data inventories. After some legal wrangling, however, OMB opted to release its own set of data inventories, once they are scrubbed of information that is exempt from FOIA. The inventories are due to OMB from agencies by Feb. 28. The release could come in a matter of days after that.

Sunlight praised the move. "Having access to a detailed index of agencies’ data is a key step in aiding the use and utility of government data. By publicly describing almost all data the government has in an index, the Enterprise Data Inventories should empower IT management, FOIA requestors and oversight -- by government officials and citizens alike."

Sunlight initially requested the data inventories in December 2013.

About the Author

Adam Mazmanian is executive editor of FCW.

Before joining the editing team, Mazmanian was an FCW staff writer covering Congress, government-wide technology policy and the Department of Veterans Affairs. Prior to joining FCW, Mazmanian was technology correspondent for National Journal and served in a variety of editorial roles at B2B news service SmartBrief. Mazmanian has contributed reviews and articles to the Washington Post, the Washington City Paper, Newsday, New York Press, Architect Magazine and other publications.

Click here for previous articles by Mazmanian. Connect with him on Twitter at @thisismaz.


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