Beyond Transparency

New book on Open Data and the Future of Civic Innovation: The rise of open data in the public sector has sparked innovation, driven efficiency, and fueled economic development. And in the vein of high-profile federal initiatives like and the White House’s Open Government Initiative, more and more local governments are making their foray into the field with Chief Data Officers, open data policies, and open data catalogs.
While still emerging, we are seeing evidence of the transformative potential of open data in shaping the future of our civic life. It’s at the local level that government most directly impacts the lives of residents—providing clean parks, fighting crime, or issuing permits to open a new business. This is where there is the biggest opportunity to use open data to reimagine the relationship between citizens and government.
Beyond Transparency is a cross-disciplinary survey of the open data landscape, in which practitioners share their own stories of what they’ve accomplished with open civic data. It seeks to move beyond the rhetoric of transparency for transparency’s sake and towards action and problem solving. Through these stories, we examine what is needed to build an ecosystem in which open data can become the raw materials to drive more effective decision-making and efficient service delivery, spur economic activity, and empower citizens to take an active role in improving their own communities….
This book is a resource for (and by) practitioners inside and outside government—from the municipal chief information officer to the community organizer to the civic-minded entrepreneur. Beyond Transparency is intended to capture and distill the community’s learnings around open data for the past four years. And we know that the community is going to continue learning. That’s why, in addition to the print version of the book which you can order on Amazon, we’ve also published the digital version of this book on this site under a Creative Commons license. The full text of this site is on GitHub — which means that anyone can submit a pull request with a suggested edit. Help us improve this resource for the community and write the next edition of Beyond Transparency by submitting your pull requests.
Code for America is a national nonprofit committed to building a government for the people, by the people, that works in the 21st century. Over the past four years, CfA has worked with dozens of cities to support civic innovation through open data. You can support this work by contributing to the book on GitHub, joining the CfA volunteer community (the Brigade), or connecting your city with CfA.