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Open Government: We Need Your Ideas!

The feedback and ideas we received from the public on our last Open Government Plan resulted in a great product. We hope to hear from you this time around as well! (National Archives Identifier 522866)

The feedback and ideas we received from the public on our last Open Government Plan resulted in a great product. We hope to hear from you this time around as well! (National Archives Identifier 522866)

We’re thrilled with the attention that FOIA is receiving in Open Government efforts, such as the National Action Plan. The National Archives and Record Administration (NARA), OGIS’s parent agency, is setting its own open government priorities for 2014-2016 in its third Open Government Plan, and we want to hear what you think.

You can take a look at an overview of proposed actions for this plan and NARA’s previous plan and tell us what you’d like to see included. How do you think NARA should further transparency, participation, and collaboration?

We’re looking for your feedback on a variety of topics, including:

  • Innovation, crowdsourcing and public engagement
  • Digitization and online public access
  • Freedom of Information Act (FOIA)
  • Declassification
  • Records management

If you have an idea, we’d love to hear it—either in the comments, or with an email to opengov@nara.gov. Please send your suggestions by April 23, 2014 so they can be considered for the plan.

Comments

Comment from Holli Eriksen
Time April 9, 2014 at 1:22 pm

Free military record access is one area of public disclosure I would like to see addressed. Fold3 should not be allowed to charge for accessing military records

Comment from Tom Paine
Time April 10, 2014 at 1:59 pm

When it comes to declassification, currently NARA is falling far short of public expectations. If you want public “access” to most all of the recently declassified collections, you need to demand that the NDC shift their existing resources to completing the process of Indexing and Withdrawal.

Comment from Mark
Time April 11, 2014 at 9:29 am

Proposal:
Working with records currently in NARA’s custody, provide the public with data sets -irrespective of size- as raw, structured XML.

Questions:
Recognizing -and applauding- the current contributions of NARA, and especially the Office of the Federal Register on data.gov, can we generate more raw XML product?

Are we currently providing access to raw, structured XML data underlying the public access copies of authority and catalog records? If not, why not?

What hardware, software, and training do we need to execute transformations of records -in various formats- to XML?

Can we plan for a future where instead of pictures of text files we offer the public structured data that can be manipulated by tech-savvy citizen archivists?

And how can we move the records description process forward in the records lifecycle so that our customers and stakeholders know what we are looking for in terms structured metadata?

Should NARA become a leader in providing access to raw XML data? If so, what steps should we take now?

Please excuse my lack of knowledge about any XML transformation projects currently ongoing or in planning stages.

Also please know that the spirit of this comment is enthusiastically hopeful rather than critical or pessimistic.

Regards,

Mark