Thoughts on end of

Apr 5, 2011

In a guest post for the Datablog, I thought out loud about the possible end of and what it means for open government data. Let me know what you think.

Update: Funding might not be cut completely (for now).


  • Jameson Toole April 5, 2011 at 12:17 pm

    Great read, small typo.

    “In contrast, FlowingData has about eighty-fold the number of visitors per month and costs nowhere near a thousand a month to keep going.”

    I think you mean eight-fold. If not….congrats on a wildly popular site!

    • Nope – not a typo.

      • well, 2000 US citizens (update, 2001) have signed the sunlight foundation’s petition to keep the .gov sites afloat:

        I understand that these voices will determine whether the budget is simply cut or halved.
        I think the program is important not just to its users or the US constituents but as a model of good practices, so it should be kept afloat.

        oh, and incidentally, the Electronic Government Fund, which is threatened of being cut, is less than 1/1000 000 of the US federal budget (one millionth).

      • Jameson Toole April 6, 2011 at 11:23 am

        Ahh sorry! I was looking at UNIQUE visitors! Keep up the great work then!

  • If many (hopefully most) government agencies will still publish raw data, maybe the best way to help is to make your own repository of links that mirrors the efforts of I would definitely value an up-to-date list of data sources searchable by format, rating and age. Why stop at government agencies? I’m sure some companies and non-profits also offer valid datasets that could be listed.

  • Nice article. Great that you’ve put the popularity of into context with regards to number of visitors!

  • Abiel Reinhart April 6, 2011 at 6:37 am

    Probably more important than sites like is the work by individual publishers to make their datasets more machine-readable. If the publishers make their datasets easy to parse than it will be significantly less costly for end-users and intermediaries to collect and standardize this data. Ultimately I’m far less interested in a directory of data (I can just use Google to find most of what I want regardless of what country or agency I am interested in ) than data in standardized machine-readable formats, or at least non-standardized machine-readable formats.

  • colourlessgreen April 6, 2011 at 9:08 am

    I work for the Feds and do understand (a bit) how the budgets work. The long and the short of it: there is so much accountability involved that for every dollar spent, about (my guess) five to ten dollars are spent tracking it in 15 different systems that don’t relate to one another. There are legal implications and impediments to everything done in a federal bureaucracy, there aren’t enough people or resources to get anything done, and people who have no business doing what they’re doing run certain departments.

    …And I’m a liberal!


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