Open gov creates need for 'data curators'

Tuesday - 11/16/2010, 1:51pm EST

The push to put more government data online has increased transparency and the need for "data curators."

The public will rely on programmers, computer scientists and others who can make sense of the massive amounts of data now available to them through sites such as www.data.gov, The New York Times reports.

The three-day International Open Government Data Conference that began Monday features some examples of how companies are taking raw government data and presenting them in easy-to-understand, visual ways.

One of those companies, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, created a wiki that showcases data curation. RPI has created interactive maps showing smoking rates, types of campaign contributions and ozone levels. Most of the data came from data.gov.

Government must be more than a set of documents and data sets, Tim O'Reilly writes in the O'Reilly Radar. Instead, government must become "a first class player in the emerging Internet data operating system." In other words, how can government makes this data relevant to people's daily lives?

Government can take a lesson from the private sector by taking advantage of open source. Especially in times of a budget deficit, the idea to offer a platform and allow users to build applications is "surprisingly relevant" to government, O'Reilly writes.

Already, as government opens its data to the public, we are seeing an "explosion of innovation," O'Reilly writes.

Click here to follow the International Open Government Data Conference on Twitter.

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