[okfn-discuss] Fwd: [open-gov] The Wired.com How-To Open Up Government Data wiki

Jonathan Gray jonathan.gray at okfn.org
Mon Mar 9 20:15:36 UTC 2009

Some of you may remember that Alexis Madrigal of Wired was soliciting
for input regarding open government data - for a piece he was working

There's now a page on Wired's wiki - which he's encouraging people to add to.


Also - in case people hadn't seen - Vivek Kundra is to be the new
Federal Chief Information Officer:



---------- Forwarded message ----------

Hello Everyone,

You may remember my name from an email I sent to the group a couple
months ago looking for areas where government-produced data could be
made more available or usable. I've received several queries about the
state of the article — and now I can finally give you some good news.

Ahead of the official launch on Sunday, I just wanted to thank this
group, who informed much of this work, and invite you to participate
in the experiment.  If it works, I think it could really be a great
model for what people kind of annoying call service-journalism.

The story is going out on the Wired home page at midnight eastern on
Sunday night under the headline, "Data.gov Is Coming — Let's Help
Build It". But I should warn you. It's not a traditional news story.
It's a wiki, which actually, is already live:
http://howto.wired.com/wiki/Open_Up_Government_Data. I'll explain in
greater depth later, but the idea is to combine the crowd's dataset
trouble spotting with Wired's voice/platform and my elbow grease to
get important and valuable datasets made available and usable. Vivek
Kundra seems like an ally — as do his superiors — but we want to hold
them to their claims about wanting to open up government data.

Here's a little explanation of how we got from the original email to
this point. First, you are all brave people for fighting the good
fight on behalf of all of us. Peering into the dark caverns of
government data nearly broke my spirit (and oddly gave me a newfound
fear of spiders, or at least poisonous things). After a hundred hours
spent researching, revising, and rewriting, we realized that what I
was doing wasn't working.  The actual mode of journalism with its
traditional endgoal of a "finished product" article that tells people
how it is wasn't up to the task.

The idea had always been that this was collaborative action, so why
the hell was I trying to create a piece of content in static form? So,
we pivoted, sliced up pieces of reporting and writing from the 2,000
word feature and tossed away its carcass. It hurt. But it hurt so

Now, we're just hoping that we can get some momentum behind this
project and start to help build Data.gov. You all could go a long way
towards establishing that moment and what you have in your brains is
incredibly valuable. I hope you can devote a few minutes to sharing it
with us. (And of course linking any and all complementary efforts that
are already underway.)

Thank you, and as always, feel free to get in touch via any medium.
(Particularly if you have any trouble with the mediawiki markup
language or find a fresh, new bug on the site.)


Alexis Madrigal
W: 415.276.8481
M: 415.602.4953
Staff Writer, Science and Energy
Magazine Publishers of America, Website of the Year — News

Wired Science: http://blog.wired.com/wiredscience/
Magazine Publishers of America, Best Magazine Blog Finalist

Twitter: @alexismadrigal
Shorty Awards Finalist for Best in #Green

Book Research: http://www.greentechhistory.com

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Jonathan Gray

Community Coordinator
The Open Knowledge Foundation

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