Revamped Data.gov to highlight real-world uses of government information

Wednesday - 7/17/2013, 5:26pm EDT

By Cogan Schneier
Special to Federal News Radio

The new design for Data.gov, the website that offers a public portal into government data, should make it easier to access and use government data practically, a White House blog post said Tuesday.

The blog post offered a sneak peek into Data.gov's new design under the subdomain Next.data.gov. The Data.gov team at the General Services Administration, Office of Science and Technology staff and several Presidential Fellows are revamping the site.

Though the site is not completed, Next.data.gov provides a preview of changes and additions to how the site presents government datasets. The new site, powered by a search engine called Solr, will highlight different examples of how the datasets can be used. Additionally, the data stream will show outside sources that reference the information, such as Tweets or articles.

"Next.Data.gov includes a rich stream that enables each data community to communicate how its datasets are impacting companies and the public," the blog post said.

The upgrade for Data.gov is geared toward fulfilling President Barack Obama's Open Data Executive Order, the post said, which aims to make government information more open as well as machine readable.

The White House launched Data.gov in 2009 as a key component of the Obama administration's open government initiative. The site gained more than 250,000 datasets in its first year.

The blog post stated the new site will feature open-data-powered visualizations on the homepage of the site, which will rotate periodically to show different ways to understand and illustrate data.

Next.data.gov also will offer suggested search terms to help users search faster, utilize new typefaces and include an updated mobile interface.

The original Data.gov will be maintained in its current form until the new site is completed, the post said. The White House didn't offer a timeline for when the revamped version would be ready.

Cogan Schneier is an intern for Federal News Radio.

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