The Data Briefing

The Data Briefing: Tales from the Dark Side of Data

Apr 27, 2016 |

There are many scary tales in the world of knowledge management and data management. Tales of missing data that was lost through the administrative cracks, such as the story of the missing Apollo 11 moonwalk tapes that most likely were erased by accident. Or the 36-year search for the original Wright Brothers’ patent, which was Read »

The Data Briefing: Chatbots and the Rise of Conversational Commerce and Citizen Experience

Apr 20, 2016 |

Ten months ago, I wrote about the rise of the post-app world in which mobile personal assistants would do the work of five to 10 apps combined. These mobile personal assistants, now known as chatbots, would work through conversational interfaces (voice and instant messaging, for example). The idea is to build more natural interfaces for people Read »

The Data Briefing: Building an Open Government Data Ecosystem in the Federal Government

Apr 6, 2016 |

It has been over seven years since President Obama signed the executive order that launched the federal open data movement. Much progress has been made, and there is still more to do. Along with the United States, over 100 nations have started programs to provide open access to government data. From large metropolitan governments to Read »

The Data Briefing: An Interview with USAJOBS on New Changes to Their Data Services

Mar 30, 2016 |

The Office of Personnel Management released a new look and functionality to USAJOBS in February. I recently contacted Michelle Earley, the USAJOBS Program Manager, to ask about the changes to USAJOBS and the data it provides. 1. What are Read »

The Data Briefing: Three Significant Events in Federal Open Data This Past Week

Mar 23, 2016 |

Three recent stories demonstrate how opening up federal government data and using agile methods to create federal government software can spur innovation while saving tax money and helping the American public. In its Second Open Government National Action Plan (PDF, 639 KB, 5 pages, September 2014), the White House called for a government-wide policy on Read »

The Data Briefing: New Opportunities for American Cities and Communities Thanks to Open Data

Mar 16, 2016 |

Open data and APIs* have not only transformed the federal government; open data and APIs are also transforming tribal, state and local governments. Like federal agencies, some tribal, state and local governments are ahead of other governments in open data innovations. This situation reminds me of my earlier work with the Office of Intergovernmental Affairs Read »

The Data Briefing: Mobile Websites or Mobile Apps or Both?

Mar 9, 2016 |

The increasing sophistication of mobile devices has created many opportunities for developers. Thanks to APIs* and open data, developers can build thousands of mobile apps and mobile websites to meet users’ needs. This opportunity has created one of the most contentious debates in the mobile development community: mobile apps versus mobile websites? There is, yet, Read »

The Data Briefing: Serving Citizen Developers Inside and Outside of the Federal Government

Mar 2, 2016 |

Citizen developers are people who do not work in information technology (IT) but have built IT applications. Back in the mid-80s, business people would smuggle in personal computers to run their spreadsheets and word processing applications (anyone remember VisiCalc and Bank Street Writer?) instead of having to rely on data processing departments. Today, citizen developers Read »

The Data Briefing: The Challenge of Opening up Federal Government Algorithms

Feb 24, 2016 |

Algorithms are becoming more important as the amount of data grows, and the complexity of government and business processes grows. Put simply, an algorithm is just a set of steps for solving a problem. If you shop online, use an online social network or a mobile app to plan your route, then you are using Read »

The Data Briefing: Demand-Driven Open Data at Health and Human Services

Feb 17, 2016 |

For many agencies, what data to make open is left up to the agency’s judgment. This has worked well as agencies do a good job in understanding the public’s needs for specific datasets. Even so, as developers and citizens begin using the open datasets, there is increasing demand for specific agency datasets. The issue is Read »

The Data Briefing: Mapping the Big Data Ecosystem of U.S. Agriculture

Feb 3, 2016 |

The Congressional Research Service recently released a report (PDF, 688 kb, 17 pages, January 2016) describing the big data ecosystem for U.S. agriculture. The purpose of the report was to understand the federal government’s role in emerging big data sources and technologies involved in U.S. agriculture. As the report author, Megan Stubbs, points out, there is Read »

The Data Briefing: Improving the Federal Government Through Mobile Apps

Jan 27, 2016 |

Federal agencies are doing well in fulfilling the 2012 Digital Government Strategy by providing numerous mobile apps for American citizens. According to a report from IBM’s Center for the Business of Government, 76 federal agencies have at least one mobile app. As of July 2015, there are nearly 300 federal government mobile apps that provide Read »

The Data Briefing: 2016 Trends That Could Affect Federal Government Data

Jan 13, 2016 |

Many IT pundits predict 2016 will be a major tipping point in data and related technologies. Here are just a few predictions: 1) The Internet of Things—The number of devices that can connect to the Internet increases, especially in consumer electronics. Also, the number of sensors will dramatically increase providing more real-time data on weather, Read »

The Data Briefing: Using Federal Open Data to Understand How Government Performs

Jan 6, 2016 |

Some highlights from the recent fall conference of the Association for Public Policy Analysis and Management: Localities that receive disaster mitigation funds also have more disaster declarations. Longer, more detailed proposed regulations receive fewer challenges to implementing the regulation. Agencies that are better at quantifying their results are safer from budget cuts. The findings above Read »

The Data Briefing: Design for Developer Experience (DX) and Data Prosumer Experience (DPX)

Dec 30, 2015 |

Recently, DigitalGov devoted an entire month to exploring how good user experience (UX) helps government design better digital products and services. UX is the art and science of understanding how people will use a website or mobile app to solve a problem or meet a need. UX is a combination of neuroscience, communication theory, information Read »