Data ideologies of an interested public: A study of grassroots open government data intermediaries

 and  in Big Data & Society: “Government officials claim open data can improve internal and external communication and collaboration. These promises hinge on “data intermediaries”: extra-institutional actors that obtain, use, and translate data for the public. However, we know little about why these individuals might regard open data as a site of civic participation. In response, we draw on Ilana Gershon to conceptualize culturally situated and socially constructed perspectives on data, or “data ideologies.” This study employs mixed methodologies to examine why members of the public hold particular data ideologies and how they vary. In late 2015 the authors engaged the public through a commission in a diverse city of approximately 500,000. Qualitative data was collected from three public focus groups with residents. Simultaneously, we obtained quantitative data from surveys. Participants’ data ideologies varied based on how they perceived data to be useful for collaboration, tasks, and translations. Bucking the “geek” stereotype, only a minority of those surveyed (20%) were professional software developers or engineers. Although only a nascent movement, we argue open data intermediaries have important roles to play in a new political landscape….(More)”