An Online Dialogue to Shape Recovery.gov

Raymond Yee, April 27th, 2009

recoverygovOn February 19, 2009, the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 was signed into law, putting into effect the $787 billion economic stimulus package to pull the American economy out of a severe recession.   On the same day, the federal government launched the website recovery.gov with the following aims:

  • Education: Explain the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act;
  • Transparency: Show how, when, and where the money is spent;
  • Accountability: Provide data that will allow citizens to evaluate the Act’s progress and provide feedback.

What can you see there at this moment?

It’s fair to say that recovery.gov is a work in progress.   Indeed, recovery.gov is hosting a “national dialogue” this week (until May 3) to solicit ideas aimed at answering the key question:

What ideas, tools, and approaches can make Recovery.gov a place where all citizens can transparently monitor the expenditure and use of recovery funds?

You can check out the current ideas the ones with highest votes, and ideas with the most comments.  At the School of Information at UC Berkeley, we made recommendations on how data feeds should be used to foster transparency around stimulus data,  in addition to developing prototypes of the types of visualizations one could do with such data feeds. It will be interesting to see how well the recovery.gov site actually does at aggregating a large number of proposals and surfacing the best ones.

ProgrammableWeb readers will naturally ask the question “So where’s the API for recovery.gov?” (echoed in articles such as Activists call for a mashup-friendly Recovery.gov). Although recovery.gov, as well as the associated recovery sites for the agencies and states distributing funds, there is currently no recovery.gov API per se.  The current available data (much of it in Excel spreadsheets) has not been designed for easy parsing and repurposing. Moreover, there here are hotly debated issue of what data should be made available (e.g., should money distributed to subcontractors, and their subcontractors and so on, be reported?).  In future posts, we’ll examine in greater detail how data around the stimulus is constructed, disseminated, and interpreted — and the types of mashups that make use of any stimulus data.

Tags: Gov
Both comments and pings are currently closed.

4 Responses to “An Online Dialogue to Shape Recovery.gov”

April 28th, 2009
at 5:14 pm
Comment by: Data Unbound - Data Architect, Consultant, Trainer, and Author Raymond Yee on data and software in research and education » Participating in the national online dialogue around recovery.gov

[...] I wrote a story on ProgrammableWeb (An Online Dialogue to Shape Recovery.gov) to educate readers on recovery.gov (the government website aimed to let American track the [...]

April 29th, 2009
at 1:57 am
Comment by: Evolving Our Government

[...] I came across great post on programmableweb today called An Online Dialogue to Shapre Recovery.gov. [...]

May 20th, 2009
at 2:52 am
Comment by: Recovery.gov: Precedents Say “Open the Data”

[...] many jumped into making recommendations on how the U.S. government’s Recovery data should be packaged and disseminated, it’s worth looking into some important previous work in this area, work with which many who [...]

May 20th, 2009
at 3:04 am
Comment by: Learn About Web 2.0 » Recovery.gov: Precedents Say “Open the Data”

[...] As many jumped into making recommendations on how the U.S. government’s Recovery data should be packaged and disseminated, it’s worth looking into some important previous work in this area, work with which many who [...]

Follow the PW team on Twitter

ProgrammableWeb
APIs, mashups and code. Because the world's your programmable oyster.

John Musser
Founder, ProgrammableWeb

Adam DuVander
Executive Editor, ProgrammableWeb. Author, Map Scripting 101. Lover, APIs.