34

Conferences: TransparencyCamp, by the Sunlight Foundation, annually since 2009. Open Knowledge Conference (OKCon), annually since 2005. Open data has been central since its inception - in 2012 this expanded to be the Open Knowledge Festival (OKFestival). Open Government Data Camp, by the Open Knowledge Foundation, annually since 2010. From 2012 the camp has ...


25

It is very recommended and would very likely smooth the process by at least an order of magnitude.


22

Often any request for information, formally or informally, is a FOIA request. But either way, talking to someone specific has helped a lot in my experience. My favored approach: See if the info is anywhere online. If it isn't... Find someone in the office holding the data and talk to them about what data they collect. Way easier than doing the back and ...


14

Some general advice: Invest in community managers and evangelists. The worst thing you can do is create a forum or invite feedback and then not have anyone with a mandate to respond to it in an official capacity; I'm seeing this happen right now with the newly launched project-open-data in which they've invited contributions and have no one to actually ...


9

Yes. In addition to the list provided above, the website Lanyrd, a collaboratively edited wiki about conferences around the globe, has over 250 events (both past and upcoming) tagged as "open data." It could make sense for this community to contribute to that wiki, rather than maintaining a separate wiki listing here, since they have a larger user base and ...


8

There is information available for FOIA requesters on the website of the Federal FOIA Ombudsman, in the office of Government Information Services (OGIS) within the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA). Their website includes best practices for FOIA requesters. While the current information does not appear to directly address your question, the ...


8

The first three I'd lump together ... the others, I'm not so sure. For the first three, I'd ask them: Why did you collect the data? If the data has no use, why do you keep it? What do you use the data for? The next two require more information ... they might be fiscal in nature, and in today's budget situations, it's quite likely that departments are ...


6

This is a complex opportunity to which many of us in open data are trying to respond. (Disclaimer: I'm the Evangelist for Data.gov and this answer addresses examples from my work there and at NASA.) There are two broad kinds of communities to engage in around open data. One is the technical community, like many of you here, of users and consumers of the ...


6

No real drawbacks that I can think of. If there is some question about the data being unusually sensitive, it might be better to take it up through FOIA first but this is pretty rare. In general the more you can make things personal the better your chances are of getting exactly what you are looking for. Ideally, this means they know what you want and you ...


5

Another useful method is to write an open letter to the agency requesting the dataset and articulating why it's important for them to release it. By partnering with an NGO or business that might share your interest and adding some heft to it, you can further increase the soft pressure. A specific public facing pressuring can be a good way to put the ...


5

csv,conf: "A conference for data makers everywhere. (And any data - not just CSVs!)" 3-4 May 2016 in Berlin, Germany. 2014-07-24: Berlin (one day, first edition). "This one day conference will focus on practical, real-world stories, examples and techniques of how to scrape, wrangle, analyze, and visualize data. Whether your data is big or small, tabular or ...


4

One you'll probably remember - Wikimedia released (CC0) search logs in 2012, realised they were insufficiently anonymised, and took them down the same day: https://blog.wikimedia.org/2012/09/19/what-are-readers-looking-for-wikipedia-search-data-now-available/ There's probably quite a few more cases like this, where the dataset has been removed shortly ...


4

Here's an example from the NIH in 2008. Basically, the NIH learned that in some cases a clever algorithm could identify medical patients from two sets of open medical data. This is an early case in which attempted anonymization turned out to be insufficient. http://articles.latimes.com/2008/aug/29/local/me-dna29 FYI, here's my blog post about it at the time....


3

Not sure if this fits your requirement, but the Enron Email Dataset comes to mind. There are multiple locations where you can learn about the dataset, i.e. here: https://www.cs.cmu.edu/~./enron/ The initially published dataset got cleaned because some information was too sensitive.


3

I can think of one instance that once open data was subsequently removed from public use in future iterations. Unfortunately I don't remember the specifics, but it involved the outcome of trials for criminal cases in a Midwestern state I can't at this moment recall. Not all of it was redacted in more recent releases, but the name of the judge and any other ...


3

Someone else will come up with the best use for your data. Because the public paid for the data it should have access to it. The two big drivers for opening up government data in general are: Transparency Build businesses It is useful to understand there are only a few defensible reasons to not open data, which are restricted to things like: government ...


3

In my mind, the biggest move is to ensure a nearby, front-facing feedback mechanism for the public and to have agency staff actively respond and engage with those who post there. In the Federal Government, some great examples are the work of the Census Bureau forum, comments on National Renewable Energy Lab's API pages, the feedback section on the Energy ...


3

Your question depends on a few important things for context- If you want a long, productive and helpful relationship with the agency in question, then it does benefit you to create some personal connection first. We always meet with and get to know the analysts who will be responding to requests- that consistently yields a higher quality of response and ...


2

I'm going to provide additional context to consider: From my experience working 7 years as a data journalist and editor, I've been through the 'data acquisition' hoop-jump more times than I can count. Here's the thing to remember: While open data laws require disclosure, they generally do not require disclosure of the data in any particular format. Ideally, ...


2

I work for NASA, and I've wanted to set up some sort of a wiki-like structure for our (existing) community to contribute documentation, code samples, value-added datasets and other comments. ... but I've run into way too many issues to do it: You can't take submission from the general public w/out moderation (if someone puts something inappropriate up, ...


2

Boringness of data sets is not a legal reason to withhold data. The only thing that matters is: 1) does your state/country have a public records disclosure law? and 2) What exemptions does it have for not disclosing? i.e. most states exempt agencies from disclosing records about undercover police officers and certain kinds of health records. And 3) of ...


2

Social Media APIs are prime examples here; literally most of them have done this, with the exception of flickr. Details differ for each, but essentially these companies make API consumption easy/cheap/something else to entice developers to mash it up with something, to generate excitement about their service(s). Then at some point after they decide to ...


1

Here's a relatively well known one: AOL issued an apology yesterday for posting on a public Web site 20 million keyword searches conducted by hundreds of thousands of its subscribers from March to May. But the company's admission that it made a mistake did little to quell a barrage of criticism from bloggers and privacy advocates who questioned ...


1

In addition to Joe's answers, I would add that open government is now mature enough that you might be able to find examples of people using the same kind of data that comes from other cities or agencies.


1

Just because I'm known for my snarkiness, if someone tried giving me the 'government is boring' excuse, I'd likely: Ask them if it's so boring why they didn't find a more interesting job. Or, if I had some time to kill, and wasn't looking to piss them off immediately: Ask them to tell me about what they did, and try to find points at which they seemed to ...


1

there is no correct answer here, it just depends. as everyone else has pointed out how the approach prior and relationship building is fruitful, here's when its not: when that data is hot-topic, off-topic, explosive journalism, etc. probing could lead to a clamp down not just from them, but from their contacts. if you catch them off guard, you may get what ...


Only top voted, non community-wiki answers of a minimum length are eligible