Government data goes public

A New York Times editorial talks about an initiative to pour government data on to the Web for all to see and use. Says the NYT:

With little fanfare, the Obama administration has begun its first agency feeds onto, a new Web site. Mr. Kundra promises to release vast amounts of raw data there, so taxpayers can see what’s going on more instantly and clearly, and, ideally, come back with suggestions on how to fix government problems.

Barack Obama is pushing hard to make government more transparent. He's also a strong proponent of plain language. So I sent this email to

A great initiative. But let's have plain language throughout the site, no exceptions. On the home page this is a sentence many will struggle with:

"Although the initial launch of provides a limited portion of the rich variety of Federal datasets presently available, we invite you to actively participate in shaping the future of by suggesting additional datasets and site enhancements to provide seamless access and use of your Federal data."

President Obama strongly favours plain language. More clarity will help people use the site with ease.

I'd love our New Zealand government to imitate Thank you! Take a peek.
Photo (c) Edinburgh University Data Library

Rachel McAlpine
Rachel McAlpine


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