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We have some news about the future of one of our distribution lists and want to make sure you're along for the ride.

We've renamed the Sunlight Labs Google Group the Open Government Technology mailing list. Initially, we plan to use it to share news and coordinate action about open government data in the United States. You can sign up here, if you're not already on it:
https://groups.google.com/forum/#!forum/opengovtech

Here's why: For the past few years the Federal government has held an inter-agency open data working group hosted by the General Services Administration, White House OMB, and OSTP. The group meets every other week and discusses updates over an internal government mailing list. Starting last year, the group began to hold quarterly public meetings with civil society participants that support open government. At the last public meeting of 2016, the meeting led to a discussion of how to facilitate ongoing conversations around open data between government agencies and civil society groups.

There's currently a broader federal open government working group that holds quarterly public meetings and has a public mailing list, but no civil society open government technology listserv. https://groups.google.com/forum/#%21forum/us-open-government

When members of the civil society proposed adopting this one, we thought the community of developers, advocates, journalists, and public servants in the Sunlight Labs network would welcome the opportunity to participate. If you wish to opt-out, we understand and hope to see you in other places, online and off.

Yours,

Alex Howard, Sunlight Foundation
Josh Tauberer, GovTrack
Katherine Garcia, Center for Open Data Enterprise
Hudson Hollister, Data Coalition
Phil Ashlock, Data.gov

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How data visualization can save lives:
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/this-is-how-visualizing-open-data-can-help-save-lives_56781c17e4b014efe0d5fd59?cje5ewmi

Cities are increasingly releasing data that they can use to make life better for their residents online -- enabling journalists and researchers to better inform the public.

Los Angeles, for example, has analyzed data about injuries and deaths on its streets and published it online. Now people can check its conclusions and understand why LA's public department prioritizes certain intersections.

The impact from these kinds of investments can lead directly to saving lives and preventing injuries. The work is part of a broader effort around the world to make cities safer.

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Expectations for immediate returns on releasing open data were wildly overinflated in 2009, amidst hype and hope of the Internet reinventing government. It's easy to knock that down today. Now that people are seeing real global impact, six years later, we can start talking pragmatically about what's working, what hasn't, why, and for whom. That's a good thing. http://www.economist.com/news/international/21678833-open-data-revolution-has-not-lived-up-expectations-it-only-getting

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World Bank: Open Data for Sustainable Development
I like the more open discussion in this report of the challenges associated with developing sustainable open data programs.

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If this "data science" stuff is hard even for real scientists, how can we expect the public to make effective use of our data?

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Cutting Funding for the BLS
This article discusses proposals to further reduce the amount of economic data collected by the Federal government. At minimum there should be some assessment whether such data can actually be supplied by other means but it is not clear that that is being done. Here is the comment I left on this article: "I don't believe that data such as BLS collects should be a private sector responsibility on the data gathering side. This to me is a classic case of something that should be a Government responsibility, and the experience and professionalism of the behind the scenes government employees who manage such data collection efforts is commendable. But there may be a role for the private sector to play in how government collected data are used and that does need to be discussed. For example, NOAA is experimenting with allowing private sector cloud vendors to make NOAA collected weather and environmental data available (http://www.ddmcd.com/interim.html). Perhaps the BLS should be looking at such options as well?"

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There are now over a thousand open data-related articles and posts referenced through the "Open Data - Aha!" site.

Feeds set up for over 500 different sources, with more being added all the time.

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More Interest in Opening Access to Publicly Funded Research Published in Peer Reviewed Journals

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Congressional Panel Digs into DATA: Lawmakers Emphasize Standards, Question OMB’s Recipient Reporting Pilot
Sounds like Congress is asking questions that need to be asked about the DATA Act. Maybe this is what happens when you mandate a major transformation of government data management WITHOUT APPROPRIATING ANY MONEY TO SUPPORT THE EFFORT!?!?!?!?!??!!??!

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State of the DATA Act
Dan Chenok provides a solid distillation of where the US government stand on implementing the DATA Act. Overseen by OMB and the US Department of the Treasury, the Act's various activities are summarized including efforts by industry groups that are involved in making the US Government's financial data more accessible and transparent. I'm working on a post of my own discussing the DATA Act's implementation though I am focusing more on how implementation is being managed. Interestingly I have received some pushback from sources inside and outside the government who are reluctant to discuss some implementation details.
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