Feb 19, 2009

More on Transparency Relevancy

Messy pile of colorful clothes. KandyJaxx on flickrTransparency continues to be among top topics--i.e. the launch of www.recovery.gov and the requirements to make information on spending an effectiveness available to all.

But as I discussed before, transparency is not just about open APIs and mashups.

Enter Lisa Welchman, one of my favorite thinkers on web governance.
Most recently US government Web growth is being made under the guise of “transparency” as communications-focused US government Web managers cling to easy-to-implement Web 2.0 technologies. I’m all for open communication and the transparency of government, but making new Web sites or layering bloated, poorly organized sites with a new face of Web 2.0 isn’t meeting the mission. Citizens and businesses need clear, easy access to information and services from governmental organizations on the Web. That must be the priority.

Of course, it’s easier to start up a new venture then to police and correct an overburdened, poorly-managed large Web site. I understand the temptation to flee to the brave new world of Web 2.0 and abandon or ignore the low quality Web 1.0 sites. But that’s the easy way out, and the way that leaves citizens and businesses short-changed. There is a lot of valuable information on those sites. There is Information that citizens need in order to make decisions related to their family's health and education, and information that businesses need to operate legally. Transparency includes providing easy access to these deep repositories of information as well as the more interactive capabilities of the currently popular Web 2.0 technologies. [emphasis mine]-- Read the whole post here.

Lisa adds an important facet to the transparency discussion. In a way, she is asking, how transparent is a rats' nest? [or the floor of my teenager's bedroom for that matter?] So, before we get all crazy about making NEW stuff available, what about making sense of what we already have? [it really does sound like I am talking to my kid!]

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