Are you a Public Servant? What are your Open Data Challenges?

A number of governments have begun to initiate open data and open government strategies. With more governments moving in this direction a growing number of public servants are beginning to understand the issues, obstacles, challenges and opportunities surrounding open data and open government.

Indeed, these challenges are why many of these public servants frequent this blog.

This is precisely why I’m excited to share that, along with the Sunlight Foundation, the Personal Democracy Forum, Code for America, and GovLoop, I am helping Socrata in a recently launched survey aimed at government employees at the national, regional and local levels in the US and abroad about the progress of Open Data initiatives within their organization.

If you are a government employee please consider taking time to help us understand the state of Open Data in government. The survey is comprehensive, but given how quickly this field and the policy questions that come with it, is expanding, I think the collective result of our work could be useful. So, with that all said, I know you’re busy, but hope you’ll consider taking 10 minutes to fill out the survey. You can find it at:

3 thoughts on “Are you a Public Servant? What are your Open Data Challenges?

  1. CJOttawa

    Dave, regrets for not replying sooner.
    One of the greatest challenges I face as a public servant striving to be “open”: my department doesn’t seem to have an organized and comprehensive knowledge/information management strategy or at least it isn’t applied universally.

    If you asked me to share data with you, as a member of the public, even if I felt I could do so ethically, legally and without fear of recrimination, I doubt I’d be able to find it for you. It’s buried in a filing cabinet or in a system nobody’s used for 20 years, if it’s been captured, kept and organized at all.

    My challenge, as an open-data advocate, is the other side of the equation: information and knowledge management (IM/KM). I believe that’s the other side of the open-data coin and one that needs as much attention as the open-data side.

    1. David Eaves

      Fantastic point CJ. I’ve been hearing this from a fair number of people
      as well. I think some officials fear open data and government because
      they think it will reveal that government doesn’t even know how to find
      most of the information it has.

      Of course, getting all this in order is an enormous opportunity. More
      departments need an IM/KM strategy, but they should bake “open” into it.

      1. CJOttawa

        There’s a Government of Canada IM Community of Practice (“IM CoP”) that meets monthly at PCO to talk about internal IM/KM initiatives.

        I’ve been graciously invited to these meetings by the chair, Health Canada’s Trevor Banks. Trev’s on Twitter @BanksTrevor

        Based on the meetings I’ve attended, the IM CoP is very in tune with Open-Government/Open-Data.


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