Friday, May 22, 2009

The US federal government launches the site

The US federal government on Thursday launched the site, by the office of federal CIO Vivek Kundra.

According the
"The purpose of is to increase public access to high value, machine readable datasets generated by the Executive Branch of the Federal Government. 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. Visit today with us, but come back often. With your help, will continue to grow and change in the weeks, months, and years ahead.

As a priority Open Government Initiative for President Obama's administration, increases the ability of the public to easily find, download, and use datasets that are generated and held by the Federal Government. provides descriptions of the Federal datasets (metadata), information about how to access the datasets, and tools that leverage government datasets. The data catalogs will continue to grow as datasets are added. Federal, Executive Branch data are included in the first version of

A primary goal of is to improve access to Federal data and expand creative use of those data beyond the walls of government by encouraging innovative ideas."

You can access data in the in two ways: through the "raw" data catalog and using tools. When you access using tools, you need to agree with the Data Policy. You can also suggest more datasets and the site has a tutorial for more information on how to use. The site permits access using XML, RSS or Atom feeds, and also download data to Excel spreadsheet formats. The govern encourages the feedback, comments, and recommendations.

The is an important step to the Open Government Initiative of President Obama's administration.

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