Posts Tagged ‘Obama’

Setting Government Data Free

taAs July 4 approaches, the subject of open government data can’t help but be on many U.S. citizens’ minds. That includes the citizens who are responsible for opening up that data to their fellow Americans. They might want to take a look at NuCivic Data Enterprise, the recently unveiled cloud-based, open source, open data platform for government from NuCivic, in partnership with Acquia and Carahsoft. It’s providing agencies an OpenSaaS approach to meeting open data mandates to publish and share datasets online, based on the Drupal open source content management system.

NuCivic’s open source DKAN Drupal distribution provides the core data management components for the NuCivic Data platform; it was recognized last week as a grand prize winner for Amazon Web Services’ Global City on a Cloud Innovation Challenge in the Partner in Innovation category. Projects in this category had to demonstrate that the application solves a particular challenge faced by local government entities. As part of the award, the NuCivic team gets $25,000 in AWS services to further support its open data efforts.

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Open Government Partnership Celebrates First Anniversary

Kedar Pavgi of reports, “A year ago, President Obama and 46 other heads of state launched the Open Government Partnership, an initiative designed to increase transparency within governments around the world. The group’s declaration said that all adherent countries would: (1) Promote openness, because more information about governmental activities should be timely and freely available to people; (2) Engage citizens in decision-making, because this makes government more innovative and responsive; (3) Implement the highest standards of professional integrity, because those in power must serve the people and not themselves; and (4) Increase access to new technologies because of their unprecedented potential to help people realize their aspirations for access to information and a more powerful voice in how they are governed.” Read more

Closing In On A Million Open Government Data Sets

A million data sets. That’s the number of government data sets out there on the web that we have closed in on.

“The question is, when you have that many, how do you search for them, find them, coordinate activity between governments, bring in NGOs,” says James A. Hendler, Tetherless World Senior Constellation Professor, Department of Computer Science and Cognitive Science Department at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, and a principal investigator of its Linking Open Government Data project lives, as well as Internet web expert for, He also is connected with many other governments’ open data projects. “Semantic web tools organize and link the metadata about these things, making them searchable, explorable and extensible.”

To be more specific, Hendler at SemTech a couple of weeks ago said there are 851,000 open government data sets across 153 catalogues from 30-something countries, with the three biggest representatives, in terms of numbers, at the moment being the U.S., the U.K, and France. Last week, the one million threshold was crossed.

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Word to Semantic Web Startups: The JOBS Act Is On

If there’s one thing the Semantic Web arena is full of, it is start-ups. In fact, the slew of creative and innovative ideas out there coming from young companies is one of the reasons for the first Start-Up Competition to be held at the Semantic Tech & Business conference in San Francisco this June.

If you fit the bill and haven’t checked out this opportunity, you should, right this way. Are more opportunities waiting in the wings for entrepreneurs? Yesterday Congress sent the JOBS (Jumpstart Our Business) Act bill to President Obama for his signature. Once he signs it – and the White House has said that is the intention – entrepreneurs no longer will be prohibited from advertising their intentions to raise funds for their companies to investors, because the Act abolishes the general solicitation ban. As reported by The Washington Post, “the bill also establishes a framework for crowdfunding — which enables small companies to solicit equity capital from myriad small-dollar investors.”

What’s the reaction from some members of the Semantic Web community?

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A Marriage Made For The Global, Digital Economy

At the recent SemTech Berlin conference, husband-and-wife team Michael Trevor McDonald and Kim Chandler McDonald, CTO and Executive VP, respectively, of KimmiC, led a session that discussed a marriage of a different sort: that between the Semantic Web and the user interface.  The session was described as providing the audience insight into the benefits of the semantic web, given that so much of the world’s economic brain/ecosystem is tied up in the relationships between companies, consumers and suppliers – an interaction between systems and people that is a real-life ‘Matrix’ whose ubiquity is hampered by the lack of a common way of talking about things such that they can be utilized and shared simply, and in a confidential, secure, and vendor-neutral manner.

The Semantic Web Blog had an opportunity to have an email discussion with the Australian-based minds behind KimmiC, and its FlatWorld cloud-based technology for enabling the global, digital economy, to learn more about the SemWeb/UI marriage.

Semantic Web Blog: Help us better understand this idea of The Matrix in the context described – considering the movie, is that a positive analogy and what does the Semantic Web have to do with it?

Michael: I think we can use the analogy pretty well as is. What we have seen in the market is essentially a few large companies trying to subvert the intent of the web into a controlled matrix (controlled by them) that they can exploit – it is, in fact, the cornerstone of their business models.

We view that consumers, once they become more aware of it, will see themselves as a “knowledge/insight” commodity in that they a) control their information and b) control who, when and where (what part) companies/friends/family etc. have access to them – it is most probably the next big frontier.

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Making a Link Between Federal Agency Strategies and IT Expenditures

What do you get when you join up machine-readable representations of federal government agencies’ strategic plans and spending on IT resources? Expressing these as Linked Data adds value in that it becomes easier to correlate and mash up information, and even to determine how or whether technology implementations are helping to achieve agencies’ big-picture goals.

At next week’s Semantic Tech & Business Conference in Washington D.C., George Thomas, Change Agent at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, will discuss connecting these dots in a session entitled, Realizing the GPRMA using Government Linked Data. The Government Performance and Results Modernization Act of 2010 requires that agencies publish strategic plans, which they’re often doing as Word or PDF documents, on their websites. Meanwhile, the IT Dashboard website is the space for federal agencies to provide details of federal information technology investments. “So the idea of using Linked Data to realize GPRMA suggests we can do better in connecting or linking the strategic goals with the IT resource expenditures,” says Thomas.

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Paying Too Much for FOIA

A new article from InfoVegan looks at the costs of the Freedom of Information Act and how those costs will only continue to rise if and other open government sites go dark: “FOIA is one of those transparency things that sounds like a good idea, but in the end turns out to be kind of stupid. In 1974 when the law was put together, the House Committee on Government Operations said that FOIA’s cost should not exceed 100,000/yr — that’s about $450,000 in today’s dollars. Talk about gross underestimation… In 2010, we spent nearly a half billion taxpayer dollars* spent on processing FOIA requests. Since 2008, we’ve added an extra 50 million dollars to our FOIA costs.” Read more