Whitehouse Open Data Memorandum

Open Data Policy-Managing Information as an Asset

Far from implemented, though the tools and resources at the newly created Project Open Data (hosted on Github!) look very promising. Some choice quotations below:

Pursuant to Executive Order of May 9, 2013, “Making Open and Machine Readable the New Default for Government Information”

Any datasets in the agency’s enterprise data inventory that can be made publicly available must be listed at www.<agency>.gov/data in a human- and machine-readable format that enables automatic aggregation by Data.gov and other services (known as “harvestable files”), to the extent practicable.

Open data: For the purposes of this Memorandum, the term “open data” refers to publicly available data structured in a way that enables the data to be fully discoverable and usable by end users. In general, open data will be consistent with the following principles:

  • Public. Agencies must adopt a presumption in favor of openness to the extent permitted by law and subject to […] valid restrictions.
  • Accessible. Open data are made available in convenient, modifiable, and open fonnats that can be retrieved, downloaded, indexed, and searched. Formats should be machine-readable (i.e., data are reasonably structured to allow automated processing). […] made available to the widest range of users for the widest range of purposes, often by providing the data in multiple formats for consumption. To the extent permitted by law, these formats should be non-proprietary, publicly available, and no restrictions should be placed upon their use.
  • Described. Open data are described fully so that consumers of the data have sufficient information to understand their strengths, weaknesses, analytical limitations, security requirements, as well as how to process them. This involves the use of robust, granular metadata (i.e., fields or elements that describe data).
  • Reusable. Open data are made available under an open license that places no restrictions on their use.
  • Complete. Open data are published in primary forms (i.e., as collected at the source), with the finest possible level of granularity that is practicable and permitted by law and other requirements. Derived or aggregate open data should also be published but must reference the primary data.
  • Timely. Open data are made available as quickly as necessary to preserve the value of the data. Frequency of release should account for key audiences and downstream needs.
  • Managed Post-Release. A point of contact must be designated to assist with data use and to respond to complaints about adherence to these open data requirements.