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Abstract

Globally, we see examples of governments leveraging technology to make government data more accessible and usable by the public. Policy and law, ideals of transparency, and a recognition of the research, commercial, and societal value of these data all motivate open government data initiatives. In turn, we have seen the impact of these programs. Developers and “civic hackers” are using open data to build applications that provide users new ways to interact with their communities; researchers are making new discoveries about public health, crime, and the economy; and nonprofit organizations are designing more responsive services to meet their users’ needs. To realize the full potential of open data, there is a space and need for information stewards, programmers, data scientists, and other technologists. This presentation will introduce examples of open data initiatives in the United States and examine the interconnections between these efforts and the study and practice of information, technology, and computing. We will consider existing approaches for publishing data and the curation practices that facilitate success of these open data initiatives, including metadata, documentation, and file formats. This presentation will highlight some of the ethical challenges in open data and the valuable skills and mindsets that information and computing professionals can contribute to addressing them.

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