From the Sunlight Foundation –
Last week, U.S. Rep. Mike Honda Calif. guest blogged on O’Reilly Radar and asked, “how can Congress take advantage of Web 2.0 technologies to transform the relationship between citizens and government?” That’s quite a refreshing attitude for a lawmaker to take, for sure. On top of that he acknowledged how Congress needs to adopt a dramatic shift in perspective before that need can be met. “Instead of databases becoming available as a result of Freedom Of Information Act requests, government officials should be required to justify why any public data should not be freely available to the taxpayers who paid for its creation.”
How cool is that? Transparency as the default setting!
But before we get ourselves too carried away… the rest of the post deals with government data that is already online, but is “not optimized to be found by search engines and thus, might as well not exist at all.” Further:
Google estimated that, as of 2007, about half of the content government agencies make available online doesn’t appear in search results at all due to how the Web sites are constructed.
Very true. Humbling also.
And there’s also the flip side of this — government sites with a built-in search capability that doesn’t work: often I’ll be searching for something on a government web site and I’ll be having trouble finding it using the site’s built-in search function. So before giving up, I’ll try using Google, and presto! there it is.