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Free Government Information (FGI) is a place for initiating dialogue and building consensus among the various players (libraries, government agencies, non-profit organizations, researchers, journalists, etc.) who have a stake in the preservation of and perpetual free access to government information. FGI promotes free government information through collaboration, education, advocacy and research.

Open Up Government Data Wiki

Over at the Wired magazine “How-to wiki,” there is a page about making government data more easily available.

It looks like it is specifically oriented toward statistical information, numeric data, and other surveys that collect information; (“The numbers — about how much corn we grow, what the universe looks like from Hubble, how much coal we have, and how well drugs work — are the results from the grand experiment of this country”). But it is already including documents (like technical reports).

The purpose of the wiki?

We’ve established this wiki to help focus attention on valuable data resources that need to be made more accessible or usable. Do you know of a legacy dataset in danger of being lost? How about a set of Excel (or — shudder — Lotus 1-2-3) spreadsheets that would work better in another format? Data locked up in PDF’s?

This is your place to report where government data is locked up by design, neglect or misapplication of technology. We want you to point out the government data that you need or would like to have. Get involved!

Based on what you contribute here, we’ll follow up with government agencies to see what their plans are for that data — and track the results of the emerging era of Data.gov.

With your help, we can combine the best of new social media and old-school journalism to get more of the data we’ve already paid for in our hands.

From the look of it, I’d say that the folks who designed this page are not familiar with the many existing sources of government data, but that’s just a guess. Nevertheless, I think this is worth monitoring and I hope that librarians contribute to it. (It’s easy! “Just jump in and edit the wiki. Add links to data that’s out of date or in danger of being forgotten or that comes stored in a less-than-ideal format. Help define how Data.gov gets built by making sure that the data you need is included.” And… “If you’re not comfortable with the MediaWiki formatting language, feel free to get in touch with Wired.com staff writer, Alexis Madrigal, either by e-mail alexis.madrigal[at]gmail.com or on Twitter: @alexismadrigal.)

They note:

We’re not writing a policy paper here. We’re trying to highlight datasets and sources of knowledge that the new Administration — and it’s open-data friendly CIO — could make more widely available and accessible with small, concrete actions.

Already on the list: Economic Research Service, ClinicalTrials.gov, creating a data catalog of every agency’s data streams, “View Data Release From the User’s Point of View, not the Agency’s”, and more.

It also lists “Models for Government Data Release, Transparency” such as ESDIS (Earth Science Data and Information System Project at Goddard).

CC BY-NC-SA 4.0 This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.

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