Posts tagged "government"

W3C Cuts Path for Global Government Linked Data

Governments, Open Data

The notion of using open data, the semantic web, and so on in open government is not new; the U.K. for example, has been working on it since 2009. 

As described in the new group's charter:

The mission of the Government Linked Data (GLD) Working Group is to provide standards and other information which help governments around the world publish their data as effective and usable Linked Data using Semantic Web technologies. The group, a part of the eGovernment Activity and closely connected with the Semantic Web Activity, will collect and make available information about government Linked Data activities around the world. It will use that information and the experience of its participants to develop W3C Recommendations for Best Practices and for RDF Vocabularies necessary for publication of government data in RDF, as Linked Data."

Linked Data, as defined by the W3C, is the collection of interrelated datasets on the Web.


Deliverables from the group are intended to be:

  • an online directory of the government linked data community, first version of which is due in September
  • "cookbook" advice site, the first version of which is due in December
  • best practices for publishing government linked data, the first version of which is also due in December
  • standard vocabularies, the first version of which is also due in December

Stable operation is expected in 2012, and transition to post working group operation is expected in 2013. The group's work is public.

Challenges With Transparency, Usability and Government Websites

Think you know what websites have the best usability?

A survey by the UK-based research firm Webcredible found that the top performing industry sectors were news and media websites, followed by travel and utility websites. The sites voted most unfavorably belonged to local authority and government sector websites.

The study surveyed 1,000 users during the last quarter of 2009. The results indicate that some industries could improve from a renewed focus on their interfaces.

Promoting Transparency with Usability

While the survey may represent a small cross-section of actual web users, a recent study by ForeSee Results also supports the need for better usability among government websites.

ForeSee Results conducted its first ever E-Government Transparency Index and found that transparency has a direct impact on citizen satisfaction. Maybe not a big surprise for those of us immersed in usability design, but it’s a big kick in the pants for those at the federal level.

The ForeSee Results E-Government Transparency Index surveyed more than 36,000 U.S. citizens who visited federal websites in the fourth quarter of 2009 and assigned specific quantitative transparency scores in order to create a baseline from which agencies can benchmark progress.

Satisfied Users Make Engaged Citizens

When citizens find a website highly transparent (80 or higher on a 100-point index), they indicated that they were 85% more satisfied than citizens who rate a federal website’s transparency poorly (69 or lower). In fact, citizens who perceive a federal website to be highly transparent are also more likely to participate in communication with the agency, collaborate and use the agency's Web site.

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Such insight may help guide agencies to make user-centric decisions about how to disseminate information to users so that it can be perceived as being both transparent and informative. Ultimately, improving usability on a government website not only improves the user experience, it can lead to better citizen interaction. For democratic governments, the web can be one of the best tools to engage users and disseminate information in a manner that promotes transparency and citizen satisfaction.