Tag Archives: American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009

New version of Recovery.gov launches

The new version 2.0 of the Recovery.gov site was launched today. I’ve been tracking recent happenings on Twitter and elsewhere, so here are some recent developments:

  • The new site is available here.
  • Rusty Talbot from Synteractive, the developers of Recovery.gov version 2.0, has posted a thread on the Sunlight Labs discussion forum asking for input from citizen developers regarding ways to make data available from Recovery.gov.
  • Nextgov have a great summary article about Recovery.gov’s call for data provision ideas with some interesting quotes from the individuals concerned.
  • Raymond Yee, a colleague of Eric Wilde and Eric Kansa at Berkeley, has published an interesting blog post with advice for Recovery.gov. They co-authored the report “Proposed Guideline Clarifications for American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009” earlier this year.
  • You can now follow Recovery.gov on Twitter.
  • The Recovery Accountability and Transparency Board (RATB) also has a YouTube account. The first video message was posted featuring RATB Chairman Earl Devaney.
  • From a SIOC perspective, I thought this quote from Nextgov referencing Chairman Devaney’s statement was interesting, as there is an opportunity to semantically link the social media contributions from many users to the financial grants in question:
    Board Chairman Earl Devaney will appeal to his so-called citizen inspectors general — or anyone interested in rooting out fraud, waste and abuse — through social media outlets, including the video-sharing site YouTube. Individuals who would like to broadcast miniblog entries about the site through Twitter can do so using hash tag #ARRA. “Our goal here is to provide the facts and the tools for the public to decide whether that is a good use of the public’s money,” Devaney said in an interview with Nextgov earlier in September. “We’re going to put the facts and the tools up so that people can mash it up.” The functions should allow citizens to draw useful observations, such as, “That’s the mayor’s brother in law — I’m going to call the Recovery Board,” he said.

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I previously gave some initial ideas about how grant feed data (following the Wilde / Kansa / Yee model) can be linked with user contributions using SIOC and FOAF. See this picture for an example. We also have a recently-created Linked Government Data initiative at DERI, NUI Galway carrying out research in this area.

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Open government and Linked Data; now it's time to draft…

For the past few months, there have been a variety of calls for feedback and suggestions on how the US Government can move towards becoming more open and transparent, especially in terms of their dealings with citizens and also for disseminating information about their recent financial stimulus package.

As part of this, the National Dialogue forum was set up to solicit solutions for ways of monitoring the “expenditure and use of recovery funds”. Tim Berners-Lee wrote a proposal on how linked open data could provide semantically-rich, linkable and reusable data from Recovery.gov. I also blogged about this recently, detailing some ideas for how discussions by citizens on the various uses of expenditure (represented using SIOC and FOAF) could be linked together with financial grant information (in custom vocabularies).

More recently, the Open Government Initiative solicited ideas for a government that is “more transparent, participatory, and collaborative”, and the brainstorming and discussion phases have just ended. This process is now in its third phase, where the ideas proposed to solve various challenges are to be more formally drafted in a collaborative manner.

What is surprising about this is how few submissions and contributions have been put into this third and final phase (see graph below), especially considering that there is only one week for this to be completed. Some topics have zero submissions, e.g. “Data Transparency via Data.gov: Putting More Data Online”.

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This doesn’t mean that people aren’t still thinking about this. On Monday, Tim Berners-Lee published a personal draft document entitled “Putting Government Data Online“. But we need more contributions from the Linked Data community to the drafts during phase three of the Open Government Directive if we truly believe that this solution can make a difference.

For those who want to learn more about Linked Data, click on the image below to go to Tim Berners-Lee’s TED talk on Linked Data.

(I watched it again today, and added a little speech bubble to the image below to express my delight at seeing SIOC profiles on the Linked Open Data cloud slide.)

We also have a recently-established Linked Data Research Centre at DERI in NUI Galway.

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Idea for Linked Open Data from the US recovery effort

Tim Berners-Lee recently posted an important request for the provision of Linked Open Data from the US recovery effort website Recovery.gov.

The National Dialogue website (set up to solicit ideas for data collection, storage, warehousing, analysis and visualisation; website design; waste, fraud and abuse detection; and other solutions for transparency and accountability) says that for Recovery.gov to be a useful portal for citizens, it “requires finding innovative ways to integrate, track, and display data from thousands of federal, state, and local entities”.

If you support the idea of Linked Open Data from Recovery.gov, you can have a read and provide some justifications on this thread.

(I’ve recently given some initial ideas about how grant feed data could be linked with user contributions in the form of associated threaded discussions on different topics, see picture below, all to be exposed as Linked Open Data using custom schemas plus SIOC and FOAF across a number of agencies / funding programs / websites.)

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