Open Government Data: The Book

By Joshua Tauberer. Second Edition: 2014.
Also available as a Paperback and for Kindle. Tweet me at @JoshData.

Applications for Open Government

This chapter dives deeper into the sorts of applications that engage citizens with their government or improve policy-making. It is open government data for open government. The applications in this chapter are divided into four groups:

  • Sunlight as a disinfectant. The first group of applications focuses on using access to government information to weed out corruption in government.

  • Democratizing primary legal materials. In this group applications focus on the direct benefit to the public of access to legal materials, such as access to the law itself.

  • Informing policy decisions. Some information, especially demographic data, helps us understand our own communities better.

  • Consumer products. Applications in this group are products that bring open government to a wide consumer (non-wonk) audience.

These are by no means the only sorts of applications of open government data. Others are described in Introduction. The focus of this chapter is applications that use open government data for the purposes of open government.

While reading this chapter, it may also help to keep in mind Tom Steinberg’s segmentation of the same space:

  1. ``Decision Influencing organisations try to directly shape or change particular decisions.

  2. Regime Changing organisations try to replace decision makers, not persuade them.

  3. Citizen Empowering organisations try to give people the resources and the confidence required to exert power.

  4. Digital Government organisations try to improve the ways in which governments acquire and use computers and networks.”1